Beware! FGMarkets 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.
FGMarkets is an offshore broker that offers trading in Forex, Stocks, Bonds, Commodities and Indices. They advertise two Live accounts, the minimum deposit amount jumping from $100 to $10,000 between them. There is also a Demo account.
To register for a Live account we had to complete a form asking for our Names, Email address, Phone number, Address and choose an Account type, Annual Income, Currency (USD, EUR or GBP) and Leverage (from 1:1 to 1:500). The registration was successful and we were redirected to the client area. We also received two emails – for the client area and for the trading platform – with the account credentials in them. which is not a good practice in terms of privacy and security, as an email communication can be intercepted.
FGMarkets Regulation and safety of funds
In the footer of the website we read that “FGMarkets is a registered brand of Glastrox Trade Ltd. … a licensed Investment Firm regulated by the Marshall Islands Business Corporation Act with authorization number 91438.” The Marshall Islands is an offshore jurisdiction in the Pacific, which is famous for its asset protection legislation and refusal to collaborate with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on any tax information exchange agreements. It does not regulate forex trading, however.
Searching for Glastrox Trade Ltd. we discovered it is the parent company of a number of entities / brands, many of which have warnings issued against them by different governmental agencies. Spain’s Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores (National Securities Market Commission) has alerted the public more than a year ago that FGMarkets is not authorised to provide investment services, including investment advice.
On May 22, 2020 Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) also warned the securities market and the general public about the company’s irregular performance.
These are sure signs that this is a scam broker operating under many names targeting different markets. In this context, the claims that their “main concern is the security of investors and their resources” and that “the implementation and strict adherence to financial guidelines – both internal and external – is a top priority” are not very convincing.
We do not find any of the policies that forex brokers practising in the UK or the EU are required to adhere to. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) impose strict rules on their licensees: they have to maintain a minimum capital of €730 000 in order to guarantee their good financial standing, traders’ funds must be kept separate from the broker’s operating funds, and there is a Negative Balance Protection policy – traders may not lose more money than their initial investment. Brokers must also participate in Compensation Schemes, which provide additional guarantee to their clients’ funds up to a certain amount (85,000 GBP in the UK and 20,000 EUR in the EU).
FGMarkets, however, is not a regulated broker, so they are not bound by these rules and policies. What they may claim on their website is not substantiated by any regulatory organization and we warn our readers that investing money with this broker is not safe.
FGMarkets Trading Software
The broker offers the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform as a Desktop, Web and Mobile (iOS and Android) application on their website. MT4 is the world’s number one platform, preferred by more than 80% of users. It offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, advanced charting and analysis tools, as well as copy and auto-trade options. It can be further customized to create different trading strategies using its proprietary MQL4 programming language.
Although we always recommend to our readers to select a forex broker that offers either MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 (MT5), what is essential is the fact that the broker must first and foremost be licensed and regulated.
FGMarkets Trading Conditions
FGMarkets claims they are a Straight through Processing (STP) broker, which would mean there is no conflict of interests between them and their clients, and they are “compensated for their services through the Bid/Ask spread”. Looking at the enormous 11.8 pips spread for EURUSD in the MT4 screenshot above we have to agree with them. Such a wide spread makes the cost of trade very high and it is not to the trader’s advantage, but guarantees hefty profits for the brokerage.
FGMarkets advertises leverage of up to 1:500. Leveraged trading entails significant risks, especially to inexperienced traders. Although it allows for making bigger profits, one may incur great losses too, often much greater than the invested funds. That is why, most regulatory authorities impose leverage caps for non-professional traders: in the USA it is 1:50, while for brokers licensed in the EU and the UK it is 1:30.
FGMarkets Deposit/Withdrawal Methods And Fees
In the FAQ section of the website and in the client area the broker states they “accept a wide variety of payment methods”, including Credit/ Debit card (Visa, MasterCard) and Wire Transfer. When we tested the latter, however, we got a message that no bank accounts for the broker are found.
Of the other eight options, only three worked: B2Binpay is a Bitcoin method, Pay42 is a Brazilian payment processor working with credit/debit cards and vouchers, and Skrill is an e-wallet. Withdrawal transaction processing times are quite extensive – 3-6 business days for approval + 7 business days to reach the client is something no established broker can afford to do.
There is also an Inactive and Dormant Account clause in the Terms and Conditions, which states that if a client has not traded, opened or closed positions, and/or made a deposit into their account for a period of 60 days, the latter will be considered Inactive and will be subject to a monthly charge of $10. Respectable brokers rarely have such a fee, and if they do they start charging it after at least 6 months.
In conclusion, we warn our readers that FGMarkets is an unregulated, and most probably a scam broker, and investing with them entails significant risk!
How does the scam work?
The usual scam operates on a multi-level, though very basic model. The users will be tempted to click on an Internet ad promising quick and easy profits. If they do, it will take them to a website that will ask for their personal details, including email address and phone number. Once they submit this information, an avalanche of emails and phone calls will be unleashed. Scammers will promise the world to these potential traders in order to induce them to make an initial deposit between $200 and $300.
These “brokers” will get a fat commission from the deposited sums and will transfer the unsuspecting users to “senior” scammers. The latter are smooth talkers who will try to persuade users to invest more funds, using phrases like “now is the right time” and “the moment is perfect for making hefty profits”. Of course, these are empty words, and traders will soon have doubts whether they have not been played.
When they try to withdraw their money, these doubts will be confirmed: the con-artists will do anything to deny or at least delay their withdrawals. From trying to convince the traders that they are making a big mistake to withdraw funds now because they will lose big profits, to asking for additional documents or citing clauses in the accepted agreements, to transferring you to another department, there is a single objective to delay the users from filing for a chargeback with their financial institution and lose any chances of recovering their money.
What to do when scammed?
Anyone can fall prey to such a scam. In the unfortunate event this happens to you, there are a few things you can do. If you deposited using a credit card you should immediately file for a chargeback. In an effort to combat online fraud VISA and MasterCard have extended the period in which one can file a chargeback to a year and a half, so there is a big chance that you may be able to recover your funds. If however, you used a bank wire or bitcoin to deposit, chances to get your money back are almost none.
We should also warn against “recovery agencies” who prey on victimized traders by claiming they can recover their funds. These scammers will ask you to pay a fee for this service, but will only take your money and do nothing.