Beware! Asa-GP 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.
Asa-GP tries to present itself as a regulated and award-winning broker offering trading in currencies, commodities and indices. However, a closer inspection quickly reveals that this is just another scam website posing as a broker.
It is advisable to stay away from Asa-GP. Let’s see exactly why.
ASA-GP REGULATION AND SAFETY OF FUNDS
The first thing that strikes us is that the Asa-GP website shares many elements with a large number of almost identical scam sites that we have reviewed. Trading Option Xchange and Solabiz-innovation are just two of the most recent examples. The main difference is that the Asa-GP website is only available in Spanish.
While apparently aimed at a Spanish-speaking audience, Asa-GP claims to be based in Malaysia and regulated by an institution with the abbreviation “FSA”.
First, brokerage is not formally regulated in Malaysia. The only “FSA” institution in the country is the Financial Services Authority of the Labuan special economic zone. This is not an institution that regulates brokers, and we found nothing in its database about Asa-GP.
Here we come to the main problem with Asa-GP – nowhere in the website or legal documentation is the name of the company behind this alleged broker listed. Asa-GP is not a regulated broker but a completely anonymous website. Needless to say, but it is not wise to trust your money to anonymous websites.
You should only trust legitimate brokers operating in one of the established financial centres like the UK, EU, USA or Australia. There, the activities of brokers are controlled by powerful regulatory bodies such as Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Australian Securities and Exchanges Commission (ASIC). Clients of these brokers receive protections such as negative balance protection and segregation of the client’s funds from the broker’s funds.
In the EU and the UK, brokers must also participate in guarantee schemes that cover a certain amount of the trader’s investment if the broker becomes insolvent. These guarantees amount to up to 20 000 EUR in the EU and 85 000 GBP in the UK. However, the likelihood of such a bankruptcy is low because regulators also have significant net capital requirements that companies must maintain – EUR 730 000 in UK and Cyprus, AUD 1000 000 in Australia and at least 20 million USD in the United States.
ASA-GP TRADING SOFTWARE
Asa-GP claims to offer one of the most widely used trading platforms in the industry, MetaTrader 5 (MT5). However, the installation file for the desktop version of the platform, which can be downloaded after registering an account, is highly questionable. It lacks the credentials from the developer of the MetаTrader software, MetaQuotes, and is also many times larger than a typical installation file for the platform. We have every reason to believe that this is in fact some type of malicious software.
A basic web version of MetaTrader is available on the Asa-GP website, but that doesn’t make Asa-GP any less suspicious. Here’s what it looks like:
There are more than enough licensed brokers offering clients the MT5 or the still very popular MT4. These platforms have established themselves as industry standard because they offer a wide range of features, including a variety of options for customization, multiple account usage, designing and implementing custom scripts for automated trading and backtesting trade strategies.
ASA-GP TRADING CONDITIONS
Descriptions of two account types, Alpha and Beta, can be seen on the Asa-GP website, the latter being a demo account. The minimum deposit for a real trading account is 3000 EUR. In comparison, most licensed brokers offer starter accounts with a minimum deposit of 100-200 USD or EUR, and sometimes even less.
A leverage level of 1:100 is specified. High leverage creates the opportunity for more significant profit, but correspondingly increases the risk of sudden and excessive losses. All leading regulators therefore restrict leverage for retail traders. EU and UK regulators limit leverage to 1:30 for trading in major currency pairs and even lower levels for more volatile assets. In the US, the maximum limit is slightly higher at 1:50.
Elsewhere on the website one can see a statement that Asa-GP offers a spread of just 0.2 pips for forex trading. But this is one of the elements that can be seen in all the scam websites of the series we mentioned above. The web based MT5 platform shows much higher levels of around 2 pips. But these values hardly have any real significance as long as Asa-GP does not offer real trading.
Asa-GP also claims to offer a 20% deposit bonus. Regulated brokers are prohibited from such practices.
In the Terms and Conditions we read that Asa-GP “may charge certain fees for the provision of the service”. But the amount and conditions of these fees are not specified.
ASA-GP DEPOSIT/WITHDRAW METHODS AND FEES
The Asa-GP deposit menu accepts amounts between 1 and 5000 USD. Payment methods are only cryptocurrencies and unknown and not trustworthy e-wallets such as PayPan and Pay to Pay.
Scammers prefer cryptocurrencies because these transactions are not subject to refunds. While there are some legitimate brokers that accept Bitcoin, they do so alongside other transparent payment methods such as credit/debit card, bank transfer or popular e-wallets like Sofort, Neteller or Skrill.
The website states that there are no fees when withdrawing by credit/debit card and there is a 25 USD fee when using bank transfer. But bank transfer is not actually available. Such discrepancies are typical for scam websites.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK
Scammers who promise easy money without any effort are nothing new, especially on the internet. But given the excitement around bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in recent years, malicious actors have run rampant more than ever, capitalizing not only on people’s desire to solve their financial woes with a magic wand, but also ignorance and misunderstanding of how blockchain and complex financial instruments actually work.
If your curiosity is stirred by one of the many flashy websites promising easy riches, and you provide your contacts, you will soon be contacted by skillful and persuasive scammers who will convince you to start with a relatively small and “risk-free” investment. If you agree to this, you will be transferred to even more skilled at convincing scammers, who will persuade you to invest even more. Any money you give to such people is money you are unlikely to get back.
Any attempt to withdraw deposits or alleged profits will be hampered by numerous and significant fees, as well as harsh and often prohibitive conditions written into the terms and conditions – such as high trading volume requirements, unexpected “taxes”, or withdrawal fees as high as 10% or even 20% of your funds.
WHAT TO DO WHEN SCAMMED
When you find yourself scammed and seek advice and help online, you are likely to receive offers from individuals and companies who promise to refund your money for a fee that you have to pay in advance. Don’t trust such offers or recommendations from anonymous commentators on the internet – this is also a well established scam.
The best chance to get at least some of your money back is to request a chargeback, but this applies only if the transfer is made via credit card. It is of course advisable to notify the relevant authorities of the fraudsters’ activities and to spread the word online to warn other people who may fall victim to the same scammers.