Beware! ImperialCFD is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
RECOMMENDED FOREX BROKERS
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Open trading accounts with at least two brokers.
ImperialCFD is a Forex brokerage registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It advertises a wide range of products, including Forex, CFDs and cryptocurrencies, and provides the MetaTrader 5 trading platform. More troublesome, however, are the other messages or promotions flaunted on the website – Bonuses, Free trading signals, Rebates, 3 Risk Free Trades.
Let’s take the case of the Bonuses offered. Apart from the fact that offering such promotions is not a common practice of legitimate brokers regulated in Europe, there is a grave inconsistency here. Upon opening the website we see “50% Bonus on Each Deposit”, then if we scroll down below the fold there is a “Up To 100% Tradable Bonus” message, but when we get to the Terms and Conditions we read the following: “The maximum amount [of the bonus] is 25% of the initial deposit”.
The registration is a simplified, 2-step process. On the first page you are asked for first and last name, country, email address, phone number and there are 2 checkboxes to accept T&Cs and confirm you’re not a resident of the US. On the second step, there is some more personal information to fill in and the option to choose Currency – USD or EUR, and Account Type – ‘Standard’ option is prefilled, which is not a choice really.
The trading area looks fine at first glance, offering both Demo and Live accounts and prompting new users to upload documents to complete the KYC account verification. It offers leverage of up to 1:1000, however, which is quite high compared to leverage caps of 1:30 in the EU and 1:50 in the US. Although high leverage presents the opportunity for big profits, it comes at a steep price as it entails the possibility of losing much more than your initial investment.
IMPERIALCFD REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
On the brokers website we read that the parent company, Maximus Global Markets LLC, is registered with the Financial Services Authority FSA in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. They claim to uphold full segregation of client funds from the company’s operational funds, but we know that SVG is a well-known offshore zone and a preferred location for shady brokerage, that does not have such requirements and/or regulations in place. Readers are reminded that the government of SVG has had to publicly state quite a few times in the past that it does not regulate Forex trading and thus we may safely conclude that the brokerage not regulated. While researching ImperialCFD on the web, we did not come upon an official warning issued by a financial regulator, but there is one for Maximus Global Markets from December 2019 operating under the trade name Evolution Brokers, so we may safely conclude that the company has changed its trading name, but not its trading practices.
The Client Agreement also gives us the brand name EvolutionBrokers.com, and this is only the first warning sign.
The agreement stipulates that a withdrawal may take up to 20 business days to be processed and is subject to a flat fee of $25. 20 days is a very long period compared to regulated brokers which usually execute such requests within 24 hours and an international transfer should take a maximum of 5 business days. Apart from that $25 is not a very high fee for an international transfer, but many legitimate and reliable brokers cover that fee.
In addition, there is an “inactivity fee” of $35 USD in case that the Client does not open or close a position in a period of 30 days. With most established brokerages this fee is no more than $20 and they usually start applying it after at least 6 months.
Bonus withdrawals also has a very high “Required Trading Volume“ – for a bonus of $500, the minimum lots required are 100 – which makes it nearly unachievable. Such unsavoury practices clearly show that this broker is strictly UNREGULATED, and therefore is a risk to all invested capital in it!
Traders should be trading with risk-free brokers, that hold licenses from renowned and austere agencies, like the FCA or CySEC, which have made a name for themselves as some of the top regulators. Readers should be aware that both agencies have enforced very strict rules of conduct, and their licensing framework guarantees safety and security for all clientele. A good example of this is the segregation of accounts which assures that client money and broker money are kept in separate accounts. Furthermore, FCA/CySEC regulated brokers participate in a financial reimbursement scheme that cover traders losses in case the broker goes bankrupt. Deposits with FCA regulated brokers are guaranteed FSCS up to a limit of £85,000 per person by FSCS, while ICF in Cyprus guarantees up to €20 000.
IMPERIALCFD TRADING SOFTWARE
ImperialCFD supports the MetaTrader (MT5) trading platform, which is one of the most functional and powerful trading platforms on the market. It offers a large number of instruments from various asset classes with different settings, all tradable from the same interface and the same trading account. The EUR/USD spread that we were offered with a demo account was over 3 pips, which is another indicator of shady practices. It will not benefit the trader much, but will make hefty profits for the broker.
Considering the large spread and rather high leverage we have enough reasons to be suspicious whether the website is involved in foul play and we always recommend to readers not to risk it and steer clear from such offers.
IMPERIALCFD DEPOSIT/WITHDRAWAL METHODS AND FEES
The minimum deposit at ImperialCFD is 300 USD.
Potential clients of the brokerage may deposit via credit cards or bitcoin. Popular methods, such as PayPal and other preferred by traders e-wallets, eg. Skrill and Neteller are not supported.
For withdrawal one can use a wire transfer or bitcoin and the minimum amount is $10.
As mentioned above, there are also withdrawal conditions pertaining to accounts that have taken advantage of the bonus promotion. A trader has to achieve the required trading volume (the number of lots equals the amount of the bonus divided by 5 in order to be eligible for withdrawal. Brokerages which are regulated in Europe or the US do not offer such promotions as they are prohibited, and the legitimate ones that do, always present the information regarding potential withdrawal requirements in the area on the website where the bonus is advertised, rather than hide it away in the terms and conditions.
How does the scam work?
This section is dedicated to showing how the most common scams work. Usually they are pretty simple and straightforward. Through internet ads promising quick and easy profits from forex trading potential traders are induced to enter their personal information, such as email and phone number. Once the users input this information, they will start receiving unsolicited calls from illegitimate broker representative whose job is to persuade them to make the first deposit of about 300 USD, from which they make a fat commission. When this is done, the traders are transferred to senior scammers who are very good talkers and will start working on them to deposit even more money. At this time, if not earlier, most people will start suspecting some fraudulent activity and will want to withdraw their funds.
This however often proves impossible to do as the scammers put all their resources into convincing them that now is not the right time or that such action will lose them a lot of money in “potential profits”. If the users persist, these con-artists will find a number of excuses, usually hidden in the clauses of the accepted agreements, to delay withdrawal requests for as long as possible. The end purpose is to miss the limited time period for filing a chargeback with their bank and thus lose any chance of getting their money back.
What to do when scammed?
If you have deposited with VISA or MasterCard there is still a chance to get your money back since recently both companies extended their chargeback period to 540 days, especially when an online scam is involved. If you made your deposit with bitcoin, however, there is not much you can do to recover your funds.
Scammers will not stop at stealing directly from your bank account if you have provided sufficient details, so if this is the case be sure to change your password or security code right away.
Also beware of being scammed again by so-called “recovery agents”. They will ask you to pay a fee to recover your losses, but after paying them you will never hear from them again.