Beware! SmartFxBroker is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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SmartFxBroker is a Vanuatu-based brokerage which provides the MetaTrader 5 trading platform. Clients are extended a generous leverage of up to 1:400. The spread on EUR/USD stands at 1.9 pips which is above what we would consider favorable for traders and certainly a disadvantage for the brokerage.
SmartFxBroker regulation & safety of funds
Reading through the website of the brokerage we discern that the company which owns and operates is registered and regulated in Vanuatu with the same name as its broker brand.
The government of Vanuatu does regulate Forex trading through its regulatory body Vanuatu Financial Services Commission, however, after checking with the online registry of the Vanuatu Commission we can safely conclude that Rock Capital Markets is in fact regulated by the VFSC. The Vanuatu Financial Services Commission cannot compare with prestigious regulatory agencies in Europe such as the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK or CySEC in Cyprus, for one, it does not assure clients of the brokerage participation in a compensatory scheme by which they may recover any losses suffered due to bankruptcy or fraud. However, even though there is no room for comparison – a license by the VFSC is better than anonymity and certainly counts for something in Forex trading.
Putting that aside, the brokerage does provide the MetaTrader5 trading platform, and there is a demo account available which we view always as an advantage. Without a test-drive clients cannot get adequately acquainted with the trading conditions of the brokerage which is perhaps the most crucial aspect of Forex trading.
Through the demo account we could see an adequate platform with crisp charting but a spread of 1.9 pips which is quite unfavorable, we usually consider all spread below a pip and a half to be favorable for traders. Furthermore, there is no information regarding the required minimum deposit (usually Forex brokers require at least $250) and the leverage extended to traders is generous at 1:400. However, we are inclined to suspect that potential clients of the brokerage may be open to substantial risk due to the lack of credible regulation.
Traders needn’t have to worry themselves with such risk if they choose to trade with a brokerage regulated and authorized by a prestigious regulatory agency. Such agencies are the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK or CySEC in Cyprus which have been leading names in Forex trading for some time now. Their regulatory framework is composed of a number of strict rules which prevent clients from falling victims to fraud. Such rules include the segregation of accounts which assures that commingling with the client’s money is not possible. Furthermore, a license by such a regulatory body entails participation in a financial mechanism by which clients may be compensated if they suffer losses due to fraud or bankruptcy. The FCA compensates traders up to 85 000 pounds where as CySEC guarantees up to 20 000 euro per person.
SmartFXBroker deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
Potential clients of the brokerage may deposit or withdraw via a wide range of payment methods including the standard Visa and MasterCard as well as bank wire, however, popular e-wallets such as QIWI Wallet, WebMoney and Yandex Money are missing.
The brokerage does not state explicitly any withdrawal fees, however, the lack of regulation induces us to remind readers that there is no guarantee that the brokerage may not charge some unexpected withdrawal fee once it has received the initial deposit. This is why we remind readers of all the ways a trader may test the brokerage’s intentions. Firstly, traders are advised to always put up only the required minimum deposit, instead of risking a bigger amount with no certainty. Afterwards, they may also try to withdraw a small amount in order to check for any unexpected fees or delays. Such fees and delays are usually the signs of a scammer.
How does the scam work?
Scammers mostly rely on vulnerable and easily tricked people, that is why a well-informed trader is, perhaps, their most difficult target. That is why we believe all traders should be well-versed in the different ways of the scam. Here is the most popular one:
In most cases through clicking a tempting ad with promises for quick and easy profits, you will be redirected to a website like Crown Signals or Top-Algo Trade where registration will require your address, email and phone number. Your personal information will be immediately shared with brokers in call centers who are just waiting for fresh leads. After a few minutes on the phone listening to the whole prepared brokers pitch , you decide to deposit some $200-250. And just like that –a 25 per cent commission gets wrested from the initial deposit by the broker on the phone.
After stinging you for a few hundred bucks, senior scammers will take you up and begin pushing you to further invest. You may even budge and continue investing. At some point, however, you’ll probably begin to consider closing the account and getting back your money.
However, now comes the “recovery” part of the scam. After stating that you wish to withdraw your money, it will be high time for the “recovery people” to take it from here. They will begin further stalling in any way possible in order to remove the last guard you may have – filing a chargeback with your bank. This options expires for good after six months or more have passed since the initial deposit.
What to do if scammed?
A scam could happen to anyone, including you, and, in such a case, it would be best to know what options are still available to you. That way you’ll be certain your reaction will be adequate and on spot.
You may contact your bank or credit card provider and file a chargeback, but only within six months of the initial deposit, as was noted above.
If however you have provided the broker with your credit card details, immediately cancel your credit card.
If you have given information regarding your online banking pass – you should change it asap!
So-called “recovery agencies” should not be trusted! Such agencies target scammed and vulnerable traders in an attempt to further swindle them into giving away their money. They will require from you an “up-front payment” in order to get your money back, but no such thing will happen!