RAFFM stands for The Russian Association of Financial Markets, and is a Self-Regulatory Organisation. In Russia, and other CIS countries there is currently no regulatory framework for the provision of certain over-the-counter financial services, such as Spot FX and CFD trading. RAFFM is just one of the many Self-regulatory organisations which have cropped up to try and reassure customers when dealing with unregulated brokerages who have a strong presence in the region.
RAFFM has only four member companies making it one of the smaller Self-regulatory organisations out there, with other organisations such as CFRIN and the FMRRC having significantly more members. The organisation doesn’t have the same kind of profile as other Self-regulatory organisations operating in Eastern Europe, with CFRIN being seen as the regions premier self regulatory organisation and boasts high profile members such as Alpari RU, FSB and other high profile Russian brokerages.
RAFFM however doesn’t have such a strong reputation, with many criticising the neutrality and usefulness of the organisation. Some have claimed that the four member organisations all have connections with one another, which would present a serious conflict of interest should this be true. It is possible for those who are customers with Mayzus Investment Services, InstaForex, LiteForex and CorsaCapital to make complaints with RAFFM. This being said there doesn’t seem to be any examples of where traders have been able to resolve their issues by making complaints to the organisation.
As with other Self-regulatory organisations, RAFFM has no real power other it’s constituent members with the organisation being unable to fine or recover traders losses should a brokerage go under. The main power the organisation has over it’s members is the ability to remove their membership, but with these organisation being dependent on membership revenues they are often reluctant to kick out member companies.
Self-regulatory organisations such as RAFFM, do not offer traders the same level of protection as governmental regulators. In particular, the membership of small and less reputable self-regulatory organisations means very little and traders looking to trade with a brokerage should avoid doing business with unregulated entities. It should also be highlighted that certain members of RAFFM, have particularly poor reputations with their being numerous complaints online regarding both InstaForex and LiteForex.
The days of Self-regulatory organisations may be soon coming to an end with the Russian government looking to regulate the provision of retail FX and CFD trading in the country, which would put an end to companies basing themselves offshore and using Self-regulatory organisations to coffer legitimacy, in Russia at least.