Category Archives: Forex Brokers

Federal Court Orders Interdealer Broker to Pay $7 Million for Deceptive Trading Practices in the FX Options Markets

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a consent order against defendants TFS-ICAP LLC and TFS-ICAP Ltd., interdealer brokers located in New York and London, requiring them to pay a $7 million civil monetary penalty for representing to clients bids and offers that had not been made, and for communicating to clients trades that had not occurred. In the order, TFS-ICAP admits that its employees engaged in the misconduct, known as “flying” prices and “printing” trades, that violated the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA), as charged. 

The order also finds that TFS-ICAP, its former CEO Ian Dibb, and its former Emerging Markets desks head Jeremy Woolfenden failed to supervise diligently TFS-ICAP broker conduct. The order resolves the CFTC enforcement action filed on September 28, 2018. [See CFTC Press Release No. 7816-18] Defendants Dibb and Woolfenden are each subject to a $500,000 civil monetary penalty for their individual supervisory failures and have both agreed to not apply for registration or claim exemptions from registration with the CFTC in any capacity, or engage in any activity requiring such registration or exemption from registration with the CFTC, for five years.

“Brokers and other intermediaries play a critical role in our markets. The CFTC will act to ensure that these entities communicate and report honest and accurate pricing information to protect the integrity of the markets,” said CFTC Acting Director of Enforcement Vince McGonagle. “We are also committed to holding corporate managers who have regulatory supervisory responsibilities accountable to ensure policies and procedures are in place that would have prohibited, and could have deterred, unlawful conduct from occurring.”

Case Background

The order finds that between January 2014 and August 2015, TFS-ICAP brokers represented to U.S.-based bank clients that there were bids or offers for an FX option at a particular level when, in fact, no trading institution had bid or offered the option at that level. The order also finds that TFS-ICAP brokers on the Emerging Markets desks in both London and New York communicated to one or more U.S.-based bank clients that trades had occurred when a trade had not, in fact, occurred. In the FX options industry these practices are referred to as “flying” prices and “printing” trades. TFS-ICAP admits this conduct violated provisions of the CEA and CFTC regulations, which prohibit fraudulent and deceptive practices, and posting non-bona fide prices.

With respect to the conduct of Dibb, a CFTC registrant, the order finds that he was ultimately responsible for ensuring that TFS-ICAP broker conduct was in compliance with the law. Mr. Woolfenden, who is also a CFTC registrant, had supervisory responsibility over all TFS-ICAP brokers on the Emerging Markets desks in New York and London. Both Dibb and Woolfenden were responsible for maintaining and enforcing a reasonable system of internal supervision.

The CFTC appreciates the assistance of the UK Financial Conduct Authority, which on November 23, 2020 announced sanctions against TFS-ICAP Ltd. The CFTC also appreciates the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General for the State of New York.

The Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this case are Sam Wasserman, Elizabeth May, Christopher Giglio, K. Brent Tomer, Lenel Hickson, Jr., and Manal M. Sultan.

CFTC Files Charges in $20 Million International Binary Options and Digital Asset Fraud Scheme

Washington, D.C. — The Commodity Futures Trading Commission today announced the filing of a multi-million dollar fraud action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, charging three individuals and three companies with fraudulently soliciting tens of millions of customers and prospective customers to open and fund off-exchange binary options and digital asset trading accounts. These accounts traded foreign exchange currency pairs, metals, and digital assets through websites operated by unregistered binary options and digital asset brokers.

The complaint charges defendants Daniel Fingerhut of Miami, Florida, and three companies that he worked with, Digital Platinum, Inc. (DPI), a Florida corporation, Digital Platinum, Ltd. (DPL), an Israeli company, and Huf Mediya Ltd. (Huf) a Bulgarian company, as well as the control persons of all three entities, Tal Valariola and Itay Barak of Israel. According to the complaint, beginning in at least October 2013 and continuing through August 2018, the defendants allegedly created fraudulent marketing materials which promised astronomical profits with no risk of loss and disseminated them via email spam and by making videos available online. Over 59,000 customers opened and funded trading accounts as a result of these fraudulent marketing campaigns, which generated payments of over $20 million in commissions to the defendants.

According to the complaint, the marketing materials touted fake trading performance using advertised binary options and digital asset trading software and systems. The marketing videos typically featured actors—often posing in front of props such as mansions and private jets—who falsely claimed they had become rich trading.

The complaint also charges Fingerhut with making materially false or misleading statements to CFTC staff, including while under oath, in an apparent effort to conceal the extent of his role in the fraud and to avoid producing documents. The complaint is related to a previously filed multi-million dollar retail binary options fraud action [See CFTC Press Release No. 7807-18].

In its continuing litigation against the defendants, the CFTC seeks full restitution to defrauded individuals, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, civil monetary penalties, permanent registration and trading bans, and permanent injunctions against further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations, as charged.

The CFTC cautions victims that restitution orders may not result in the recovery of money lost because the wrongdoers may not have sufficient funds or assets. The CFTC will continue to fight vigorously to protect customers and ensure wrongdoers are held accountable.

The CFTC thanks the Israel Securities Authority, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Justice for their assistance in this matter.

The Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this case are Candice Haan, Allison V. Passman, Joseph Patrick, Susan J. Gradman, and Scott R. Williamson.

eToro FX broker announced has just added IOTA for trading

Now available for trading on eToro, the IOTA coin is another interesting addition to the platform’s ever-growing selection of crypto. With multiple uses as an Internet of Things (IoT) platform and quite a bit of attention from the blockchain and cryptocurrency communities, IOTA presents an alluring trading and investing opportunity to some.

What is IOTA?

IOTA is a platform designed for enabling fast communication and transactions for IoT platforms. As more household items, cars and other products become connected devices, the need for a reliant protocol to mediate between them is on the rise. For example, in the near future, a smart fridge could “sense” that you are running low on orange juice and autonomously order more from your grocery store. This scenario requires a platform that could both relay the messages between the machines and take care of the financial aspect of the transaction.

And that is what IOTA is trying to do. Its Tangle technology enables multiple devices to communicate on a vast network that actually becomes stronger as it grows. Unlike traditional blockchain platforms, IOTA does not have miners, or specific nodes that verify transactions, but rather, each device that processes a new transaction is first required to verify a previous one and register it in a public ledger. The network’s overall processing power actually grows as more devices join it, while in most other blockchains, more network members could lead to latency and growing transaction processing times.

The creators of IOTA set out to make a network that has no transaction fees and is extremely scalable. Its unique architecture is designed to do just that, using the process described above. Moreover, since to buy a single IOTA token would cost fractions of a cent, it is quite easy to process even the smallest of payments (microtransactions) – another important feature for an IoT platform.

IOTA vs Bitcoin: Main differences

IOTA is quite different than other cryptos. To highlight these differences, here are a few key factors that separate it from the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin:

  1. Scalability: Bitcoin relies on a blockchain network, which requires miners to process transactions. These miners compete amongst themselves to be the first to make the calculations necessary to approve the transaction and the winner earns a small fee in return. With its Tangle architecture, IOTA eliminated the need for miners by making each device responsible for processing its own transaction and the one requested by the device before it. This minimises transaction times and accelerates the network’s speed as it grows.
  2. Microtransactions: Each Bitcoin is worth quite a bit, with its value reaching thousands of dollars. Therefore, it is counterproductive to use it for transactions which require a small amount of money, as the transaction fees could outweigh the price of the services or goods exchanged. In contrast, a single IOTA is valued at fractions of a cent, so it is easy to use it to make small transactions (such as the orange juice example used earlier). In fact, those wondering how to buy IOTA will find that the IOTA coin price is so insignificant, that exchanges trade it in units of millions (MIOTA).
  3. Quantum computing resistance: While there are still no functional quantum computers in existence, the scientific community is mostly in agreement that they will eventually be introduced, with computing power that is massively greater than that of current computers. While, to this day, no blockchain network has ever been hacked, it is presumed that a quantum computer used by malicious entities could theoretically do so. However, IOTA founders claim that they designed their network in such a way that is much more resilient to such an attack.

What drives IOTA’s price?

Being both a cryptocurrency and an IoT platform, the IOTA chart is subject to various factors that can move it in any direction. For example, if the entire crypto market is on an upward trend, it could lift the IOTA price as well – and vice versa. In contrast, if the market is on a downtrend due to a negative perception of blockchain platforms, that could potentially be beneficial for IOTA, since it is not a blockchain platform per se.

On the IoT front, developments relating to the industry, its adoption by a popular sector, or events relating specifically to IOTA, such as a partnership with a high-profile company, could also influence its price. In addition, IOTA’s infrastructure is entirely original, not relying on any previous blockchain/cryptocurrency code. While this could be perceived as an advantage, there have been times when criticism of the platform impacted IOTA’s price.

Trading IOTA on eToro

Since being launched in 2015, the IOTA cryptocurrency has gathered a following and established itself as one of a handful of cryptos whose market caps are in the billions. Making its way into the top 10 ranking, IOTA is popular among many traders and investors. Now, IOTA is also part of eToro’s cryptocurrency selection, and traders and investors of the eToro community can add it to their portfolios.



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