Beware! HD Markets 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.
The graphic design of HD Markets is nothing to write home about except for the video starting with fireworks in celebration of the New Year and the generous bonus offered by the company. However, as the end of February is approaching, we think that a revamp of the company’s interface is somewhat overdue. But let’s stop talking about non-essential things and focus on what is important, namely whether it’s safe to entrust your precious money to this broker.
HD Markets Regulation and safety of funds
To answer the question, the first thing we must do is find out whether this broker is legitimate. From the interface of HD Markets we see that the company is presumably registered in South Africa, we search the register of the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). The company with its name and number does not exist in the FSCA register. This is proof that this broker is not registered and therefore, non-legit. Trading with it will put your hard-earned funds at risk.
For a positive trading experience, we advise you to turn your attention to some of the well-established jurisdictions where forex brokers are strictly regulated. In the US, for example, to be licensed brokers must invest no less than $20 million. This staggering amount of money serves, among other things, to prevent scammers from sneaking in. In addition to that, clients’ funds are kept separately from broker’s and US brokers are subjected to the ‘first in, first out’ rule which prevents traders from going long and short on the same pair at the same time. Other measures to guarantee the safety of clients’ funds include reporting on a regular basis and providing clients with access to certain transaction execution data. The downside of trading with US brokers is that there are no compensation funds or schemes established and clients must rely on the fact that their broker is well-capitalised to protect them in case of unfavourable events.
Same as their US counterparts, EU and UK brokers are strictly regulated and the initial capital requirement is 730,000 EUR. In addition to that, licensed brokers must participate and deduct funds towards a local compensation fund or scheme which provides the means to reimburse the clients should their broker become insolvent. UK brokers regulated by FCA must deduct funds towards the local Financial Services Compensation Scheme which can repay clients up to 85,000 GBP per client if the broker goes bankrupt. EU regulated brokers participate in a local investor compensation fund from which clients can be reimbursed up to 20,000 EUR per person in case of broker’s bankruptcy.
HD Markets Trading software
HD Markets offers a good quality trading software which consists of the MetaTrader 4 trading platform. Despite its ‘old age’ of 15 years, this platform is still one of the leading ones thanks to the many advantages it offers to the traders. MT4 is equipped with an auto trading option, trading signals, VPS, code base with customs scripts, an app market, etc. One of the key features of MT4 is the charting options that offer a huge variety of charts, time frames, colours and even the option of creating customised templates. To all this amazing package of trading tools and instruments is added an array of technical analysis indicators, such as Fibonacci retracement, Bollinger Bands, moving averages, etc., that help traders predict the future direction of exchange rates and make a profit.
The image below shows what the platform looks like. On the left is the menu with trading products given with their bid/ask price. Beneath, you can see the navigator for the accounts, indicators, experts advisors and scripts. The central section of the screen is reserved for displaying charts and their number can vary from one to many as per the trader’s needs. In this case, you see displayed 4 charts of 4 currency pairs. The charts show the fluctuation in the price of these currency pairs in a given time frame. If we take a closer look at the top-left chart, we see that this is the EUR/USD currency pair. From its bid/ask price we can calculate that the spread is 1.7 pips which is slightly higher than the industry average of 1.5 pips. When the spread is too wide, the cost of transactions goes up and traders will be challenged to achieve sustainable profit.
While looking at the interface of HD Markets, you may have noticed the high leverage being advertised there – 1:1000. The company, however, has some conditions regarding leverage. In the Terms and Conditions document, it says that if the total sum of the client’s opened positions exceeds $5 million, then the available leverage will be 1:100 and if it exceeds $20 million, then it will be 1:50. The high parameters of the leverage are another sign why you should not trade with this broker. Although high leverage looks attractive as it seems to increase the potential for a big win, what happens, in reality, is the opposite. Given the fact that 70% of traders lose in transactions, such high leverage will only amplify the scope of financial loss suffered by traders because of unsuccessful transactions. This is one of the reasons why in the EU and the UK the leverage for forex currencies is limited to 1:30 and in the US, to 1:50. These are measures to protect clients’ funds by preventing them from entering risky and reckless transactions using high leverage.
HD Markets Deposit/Withdrawal methods and fees
On the HD Markets website, there is no information about different trading accounts. What we can see is that there are live and demo accounts. We understand that the minimum initial deposit for the live account is $20, however, in Terms and Conditions, it is given as $50.
The minimum withdrawal is $20.
The payment methods, as per the existing information, include payments via credit card, bank transfer and PayFast.
One of the first things we see on HD Markets is the 100% deposit bonus and there is a link that presumably opens the information regarding this bonus. However, when you click on that link it is not the bonus policy as expected but the Terms and Conditions document in which the conditions for accepting a bonus are not stated. You must be aware that bonuses are non-deposited funds that belong to the broker, not the trader. Naturally, the broker won’t give them for free and usually sets some conditions under which the bonus can be withdrawn. In most cases, such conditions are hard to fulfil and at the same time, they can create havoc with the client’s funds and withdrawal options. We strongly advise you against accepting any bonuses or incentives as they are a sign that the broker is non-legit. Legit and licensed brokers do not offer bonuses.
How does scam work?
Actually, it’s quite simple and people often fall into the trap of experienced scammers. We bet you have seen those attractive ads on the Internet promising big and quick profits over a short period of time. Just provide your personal information, and voila! The scam brokers are waiting for you and you will be inundated with phone calls promising easy profit. Tempting, right? You think ‘ok, I can spend $200-300 and see what profit it brings me’. Congratulations, you just provided a fat commission for your scammers that will be distributed down the food chain. Now you have ‘graduated’ to be handed over to a senior ‘broker’, a smooth talker who will try to convince you that there is no more perfect time like now to invest more money. After all, you want to make more profit, right? However, something starts to feel off and now you start asking yourself questions and all you want is to withdraw your money and get out fast.
Unfortunately, it is too late! Someone has pulled the cheese and you are trapped because scammers don’t give up easily. Scammers will do anything in order to delay you so that you miss the deadline for a chargeback.
What to do if scammed?
Our advice is to immediately file for a chargeback if you have been lucky enough to make your deposit via credit card. VISA and MasterCard allow for 540 days chargeback period, so you still have a chance to get your money back.
Things don’t look so good if your currency of choice has been Bitcoin or bank wire. In that case, you may have to wave your money goodbye.
There are some other things that you can do in case of being scammed – cancel your credit card if you have given your CVV code to the scammers. Also, erase any software from your computer that gives scammers access to your private data.
Be warned, as well, that some so-called ‘recovery agents’ may approach you promising to recover your funds for a fee. It could be another form of scam where scammers prey on your misfortune. Should you choose to use one, you must make sure that you are dealing with a genuine and legitimate agency by checking their credential and company’s information and transparency.