Canadian regional regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission has added UFX Markets to it’s warning list. This list includes individuals and companies which the regulator believes may pose a risk to investors. It is not the first time that the brokerage has been on the receiving end of regulatory action, with the brokerage having reached 100,000 Euro settlement with CySEC back in early 2013. Prior to gaining regulatory approval in 2011, the brokerage which previously operated under the UFX Bank name had featured on a number of regulators warning lists.
The move by the Ontario Securities Commission comes as the brokerage looks to move away from the UFX Markets brand. The brokerage has recently purchased the valuable three letter UFX.com domain. It has been noted that brokerage has removed mentions of their CySEC licence to customers who are accessing the site from outside the European Union. Such a move means that customers who sign up with the brokerage may not be given the full protection offered by EU regulatory law. Instead customers are on-boarded at the brokerages company based and regulated in the offshore jurisdiction of Belize.
Belize has a notoriously light touch approach to regulation and is a popular jurisdiction for brokerages looking to operate from an offshore jurisdiction. A number of brokerages have opened up such offshore companies which allows them to onboard non-EU customers to a company registered and regulated in a jurisdiction with little to no real regulatory framework. This can be a very cost effective for brokerages and is something which a number of firms have done in the past couple of years. It is often traders who come out losers in such a situation with customers often being confused to which firm they are trading with, believing they are receiving the protections associated with trading with a EU regulated firm.
The move is unlikely to improve the reputation of the brokerage among it’s critics, with the firm being much talked about on a number of high profile FX trading forums. The re-branding from UFX Markets to UFX is likely part of an attempt to re-brand the brokerage/move away from some of the negative coverage which has appeared online regarding the UFX Markets brand.