Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) earlier today issued a statement regarding the activities of two retail Forex brokers: Trading Point of Financial Instruments Limited (aka XM.com) and FIBO Group Limited (FIBO).
XM.com is registered and regulated in Cyprus, whereas FIBO is registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Both brokers have agreed to stop providing unlicensed financial services to Australian clients, the watchdog said.
The companies were advertising their services on their respective corporate websites which contained information about an Australian group entity which has a similar name that had an Australian financial services (AFS) licence:
- Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd who obtained a licence in December 2013; and
- FIBO (Australia) Pty Ltd who obtained a licence in September 2013.
ASIC was told by the Australian AFS entities of each group that they had not started providing financial services and therefore were not required to respond to a set of obligations, including complying with the $1 million minimum net tangible asset requirements.
ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour commented:
ASIC has received a number of complaints from investors who have mistakenly believed they are being provided services by an Australian financial services licensee when in reality the agreements are with a different company.
‘Often these investors have signed up via a website run by a group of entities that heavily promotes one company within the group as having an AFS licence and being regulated in Australia. What makes it even more disappointing in these cases is the Australian entities’ services were being advertised when they were not even in a position to commence their businesses and with many of the usual regulatory protections not being in place.
‘Investors need to be diligent when entering into any contracts that relate to the provision of financial services. They need to make sure they know who they are dealing with and be aware of the country or regulatory regime in which the entity operates.’
ASIC reiterates that AFS licensees advertising and offering their services on websites before they are able to commence providing those services could be found to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.
Trading Point and FIBO have agreed to remove references to the Australian entities and Australian regulation from their corporate websites. Such references should not be used until the respective Australian entities are ready to commence providing financial services under their Australian licenses.
To view the official announcement on ASIC’s website, click here.