The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today issued several warnings to local investors highlighting unauthorized firms known to have been soliciting customers in the UK jurisdiction. The regulator also pointed out that some of the brokers highlighted in the latest flurry against unauthorized firms are actually clones of UK-approved providers, which makes it difficult for unsuspecting investors to know or see the difference.
In an update published on its website today, the City watchdog has blacklisted FXOPEN Limited, operating through fxopenltd.com, saying the bogus firm was found to be a complete clone of FXOpen Ltd, a London-based forex broker.
As of the time of publication, FXOPEN Limited has taken down all website pages, and the aforementioned link only leads to the member login page. It’s not clear if the site was taken down as a result of the warning or leading up to it.
But according to a cached version of its website, the copycat broker was seemingly focused on offering cryptocurrency products. FXOpen has been active recently in expanding its crypto offering, adding more digital assets to its growing suite, in line with other brokers in the industry amidst burgeoning client demand.
The FCA has been sharpening its focus on retail investment and trading brokers as financial scams are becoming more sophisticated in hiding their true corporate details and contacts. The regulator appears determined to protect consumers not only from fraud but also from losing small fortunes to regulated firms that may offer “products causing similar harms.”
Recently, the watchdog also highlighted its concerns over financial promotions that falsely implied that all of a firm’s activities were regulated by the FCA or other regulators, when in fact they were not.
Retail FX/CFDs brokers have also come under the spotlight with the closure of two regulated brokers in a single month. SVS Securities Plc (SVS), which was set-up in 2002, acted as a regulated financial services broker, holding significant amounts of client money and assets. The second case involved AFX Markets Ltd (AFX), which was set up in 2011 and FCA-authorized since May 2012.