Beware! UCI Limited 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.
United Capital Invest Pty Ltd claims it is registered in Australia on their homepage. A quick search on the Internet, however, reveals that the Australian watchdog agency, ASIC has not granted a license to UCI Limited and has issued a warning against it for unsolicited calls or emails.
The brokerage provides the MetaTrader 4 trading platform, as well as Sirix. We’ll get into additional details on these platforms further down. The registration process is fairly simple and straightforward – it asks for First and Last Name`, Email address, Phone number and provides for selection of account currency (EUR or USD) and type of account (Live or Demo). A couple things we noticed almost right away: first, we did not receive a confirmation email after successfully registering for a Demo account, and second, when we decided to add a Live account we got an error message:
As can be seen from the screenshot, the error message say in a very user-unfriendly language that required fields “First Name”, “Last Name” and “Phone Number” have been left empty. On the previous screenshot, however, we see that the “Add new account” form does not provide such fields, and what’s more, we are already logged in, so this information should be in their system. Overall, the impression we get is one of sloppiness and incompetence.
UCI Limited regulation & safety of funds
The Client Agreement one enters upon completing the “Account Opening Application Form” is extremely vague. It does not say much about the company, where it is registered or licensed, or about the trading terms associated with the account. Although the website lists five different account types, there is not much information on how they differ. One of them is an “Islamic account” which obviously targets people following the Islamic faith and offers no swaps or interest charges on positions held overnight. However, there is nothing about important details such as leverage or spreads offered.
There is however a Force Majeure clause which allows the company to undertake any action it deems necessary, including inactivate client account, cancel client orders, close out open positions, increase margin requirements and/or spreads, or decrease leverage.
We advise our readers to invest their funds with brokers that put forward clear-cut trading conditions and hold licenses with renowned regulatory authorities, such as ASIC in Australia, FCA or CySec. These agencies enforce strict rules of conduct and provide a framework that guarantees the safety and security of traders’ investments.
UCI Limited TRADING SOFTWARE
The MetaTrader 4 platform is a reputable software used by some of the top brokers in the Forex world and is available on the brokerage’s website as a desktop application. UCI Limited also proposes the Sirix trader as a web application and mobile (iOS and Android) apps. Sirix is notorious in the Forex world – it offers features such as pending orders, one point clicking, chart customization options, and copy trading, but overall the emphasis is on visuals over quality, as it does not come with even 5% of what brokers expect a trading platform to be equipped.
The fact is that the Sirix platform is very popular with scammers and we have not yet come across a legal broker using it.
UCI Limited DEPOSIT/WITHDRAWAL METHODS AND FEES
There is not much information about financial transaction methods. In the Terms and Conditions we read that “detailed information about deposit options is shown on the Website” but the only thing we found is a claim to accept the standard VISA and MasterCard plus the logos of 3 large banks – CreditSuisse, Barclays and HSBC. The client area was not very helpful in this regard too – the “Deposit Funds” and “Make Withdrawal” links open empty pages.
There are some withdrawal conditions, however: the Company (UCI Limited) shall process the withdrawal instruction within seven (7) Business Days, if a number of requirements are met, including the absence of a Force Majeure event, which as we noted above can be widely interpreted. Also, most legitimate brokers would process a withdrawal request within 24 hours and would cover any fees associated with the transfer of funds.
Going further it says: “The provision of the Services by the Company is subject to payment of fees such as brokerage fees, commissions, special service and other fees found on the Company’s fee schedule on the Company’s Website.” It is yet another vague statement that does not provide any specific information, and our attempts to find this “fee schedule” on their website proved fruitless.
In the Terms and Conditions we read: “By accepting the deposit bonus, clients may withdraw the funds they deposited at any time but not the trading profit until minimum trading requirements have been met.” These are the usual Bonus provisions to make sure that the amounts cannot be withdrawn. Although they do not advertise any concrete bonuses on their website, there is the requirement that the client must trade a minimum trading volume of 5000 times the amount he funded plus the amount of bonus received, in order to withdraw bonus funds. Offering such bonuses is prohibited by regulators in the US and Europe, so this clause immediately raises a red flag.
How does the scam work?
Here we will outline the most common scamming scenario. The first step is to capture the users’ attention with ads promising fast money. When they click on such an ad, they are redirected to a website that would ask to provide email address and phone number. This personal information is then used by the scam brokers who will start calling and asking to invest with them. The initial deposit is usually around $250 from which these brokers will make a fat commission.
After that, users are transferred to senior brokers. These are expert con-artists who will sweet-talk them into putting even more money. When the traders decide to get out, however, it turns out it is not that simple. The scammers will talk them into postponing their withdrawals or will draw out various reasons to deny the request. All of this is with the objective to miss the limited time period for filing a chargeback with their bank and get their money back.
We should note that VISA and MasterCard have recently taken measures to combat online scams and are classifying all forex transactions as high risk. Furthermore, they have increased the period for filing a chargeback from 6 months to 540 days.
What to do when scammed?
In the event you become a victim of such a scam there are some things you should know. If you used a major credit card to fund the account you should immediately file for a chargeback with your bank or credit card provider. In case you supplied sensitive financial information to the scammers, such as account details and passwords, you should cancel your credit card or change your pass.
If you used bitcoin or bank wire, however, chances of recovering your funds are slim. Do not get hooked by any “recovery agents”, who prey on scam victims, using their hopes of retrieving their money. These are just another type of scammers who will ask you for an upfront fee in order to get your money back, but once you pay them, you will not hear from them again.