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Is 24Option Scam? Broker review
On the web, you can find a lot about 24option. It is no surprise, because according to the statistics, 24option is the 2nd largest binary options broker in the world (Banc de Binary is 1st) However in this review, we will show you all information combined, making a big list of reasons why 24option is a scam or not.
24option is a binary options broker established in 2020 with headquarters in Limassol, Cyprus . Some may think this is s red flag, but, in fact, that is completely normal for binary options brokers. Most of them have their headquarters in Cyprus, because of regulatory purposes.
24option basic info
- Official Website: www.24option.com
- Headquarters: Limassol, Cyprus
- Trading Platform: Tech Financials
- 2nd largest binary options broker
Why is 24option scam?
I’ve read many complaints against 24option, saying that they scam people, they never let you withdraw your earned money, or even they lie about giving you free money and such. Those are all invalid reasons. Read on to see what I mean.
People complain, that they were offered free money (24option bonus) but then when it came down to paying customers out, there were problems. Yes – this situation can occur. But only if a customer has accepted a bonus AND has not completed all procedures needed for the bonus to be withdrawn. In order to withdraw money including the bonus offered by 24options, a customer is required to:
- Upload necessary documents to prove the customer is, in fact, the person they claim to be
- Complete wagering requirements (40x the value of the bonus)
If any of the above is not met, the withdrawal of the bonus funds is not possible. If you have this kind of problems, please, contact the customer support.
Another reason why clients might complain and dislike 24option is: losing their money. Trading binary options simply involves risk. Everyone should know that. It is an investment, with which your money is at risk if you do not invest (make trades) wisely. If you do not know what you are doing, please, learn something about binary options first and try trading on a demo account. You can do that either with 24option, but also with our demo account: x Binary Options Demo.
24Options are regulated by important regulatory authorities of the world including the FCA in the United Kingdom, CySEC, Financial Market Authority and more. The complete list of regulators, that have approved trading with 24options can be found below – all of these official authorities have said “24Option is NOT a scam,” and gave them regulations.
A list of regulations found at www.24option.com
Their platform (Tech Financials)
Tech Financials is a platform programmed by a third-party company that creates binary options trading platforms not only for Banc de Binary but also for other brokers. 24Option is, however, one of the few brokers that use this platform.
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Free Trading Education, Free Demo Account!
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This means that trading program, where traders make all the trades is not programmed by the broker itself, but by a different company. In the company’s intents is to make the platform as good as possible, in order to sell it to their clients (24option). If it was any sketchy, they would not buy it.
24option’s platform had to be reviewed by all regulatory authorities.
Have you been scammed by any broker? MyChargeBack might be able to help you! Fill the form below.
More information about 24option
More about the author Step
I’ve wanted to build a business of some kind and earn money since I was in middle school. I wasn’t very successful though until my senior year in highschool, when I finally started to think about doing online business. Nowadays I profitably trade binary options full-time and thus gladly share my experiences with you. More posts by this author
190 Responses to “Is 24Option Scam? Broker review”
I lost a house worth of money. DO NOT GO HERE it ruined my life
The worst trading plataform, don’t trust them, they will rip you off.
The worst trading plataform, they just rip me off 300 dollars from my account with the explanation was that the account was inactive for 1 month scammers, they don’t ever let you know that there is a fee for this and before they made close all my operations, because they had to makes changes to the plataform, without any notice. Im going to redraw my money now from this scammers.
Sir, is Premium 24option a scam? Can i still get my money from them?
Hello, I don’t know anything about 24option premium, I’m sorry.
Everywhere page I open that has to do with binaryoption or forex investments all have great customer reviews but when I tried investing with binaryoption, from plus option, to binomo to IQoption, I lost a lot. I still have someone helping me with my trades but I keep losing and now they want me to invest more money. I need to speak with people who have invested and had similar situations. Please reach out to me on my username
Hello, thank you for sharing your story. Trading is really complexive and long term activity. It took some time to find the right strategy, broker and the power to influence own psychology. Be patient. We wish you good luck.
24 option is a scam organised by Israelis, do NOT trade and watch out. you will find more infos on YouTube. Good luck to all of you
HI, so Option 24 is a scam. i invested money about 3 weeks ago, now they say i must pay 10% of the total profit made. they say because the american government and the IRS tax officials have found that a lot of money is made the thought binary trading. am i scammed or what. when i asked why they did not tell me prior they are not giving clear answers. is there a way of getting back the funds i invested??
Mlu did you get any help regarding your account. I also need help.
We are on the same boat. $100 =$1000, did I get No. Now they want withdrawal fees unexplained. That is 24option.
I 100% hate 24Option with all my heart.. They are thieves… Complete liars… Scammers….
Did you get your money back? Being Approached by a guy called Franco Lunga to invest
Got approached by Annika Luan, I haven’t invested anything, am so doubtful more especially being approached on social media . And they say they are using 24 option investment
hello sirs,,do you know Tatiana Konoplina > She said she is an account manager in 24option.please help me,,Ihave jnot invested yet but receiving calls from her and emails too.
The job of the account manager is to help you make your first deposit , if you don’t your account is not completed , they don’t call you to start trading or to take your money. Because when you deposit you get assigned to the Senior Account Manager who will be basically your mentor and tell you everything about trading. After that if you don’t want to trade or you don’t like it , you just withdraw your money and close your account , no questions asked and no fees! I know many people that work there.
HI I’m new to trading, my question is how is it possible to trade with minimum $200 investment under your own account? Normal broker would put you in a pool of shares under their account and managed by them, you have the option to join or not. When you trade using 24option is it your own share as in buying actual lot, or just your small portion under their share?
Dear Mozzax11, with 24Option and any other CFD brokers, it’s only a CFD. You don’t buy the stocks directly through them. However as you can read in the comment section below, it is not recommended to use 24Option!
Mr j.pro i had a friend of mine who meet a woman in facebook in the name of EDNA PEARL he says that within 48hrs we could have our gain profit. My friend immidiately finance because he trust EDNA. After 3 days jhon have his profit , but when he tried to withraw ,the company ask him 770 USD for withdrawal charges. Yes he paid it. But until now he had not withdrawn any money. Very negative. Help him . Im planning to invest or trade. But i have doubt now. Pls help us
Dear Michael, as we tell others – never trust anyone who says they will trade on your behalf. Always manage your own money. I am sad to say it, but I think you got scammed by this EDNA. Do not pay her any more money, she will never send you money back, be carefoul.
Scams and Blacklist
Scams are unfortunately all too common in the field of binary options. Dishonest brokers and reviews, or rigged robots and other auto trading services – the scams can come in many forms. So we feel it’s necessary to create this blacklist and list all known frauds and dishonest techniques in one place. We also go through the steps you can take to identify a potential scam and how to deal with the situation after the fact if you’re already a victim. If you know or suspect something is a scam, and we’re missing it on our blacklist, please let us know and we will look into it!
Why Are Stories of Scams So Common?
When any new financial instrument or form of trading first emerges, a whole range of businesses tend to get involved. It’s a fact of life that some of those product providers are going to be more trustworthy than others. This is certainly true of binary options. It is, after all, an accessible and popular method for individuals to trade the markets. What’s more, at least in their early days, binary options trading platforms tended to operate under the radar of the regulators and from any country over the internet – so it’s hardly surprising that unscrupulous operators seek to take advantage. Thanks to better regulation, a strong online trader community and honest reviews, it’s now a lot easier to tell a scam from a legitimate broker. But as with any international online marketplace, there are still some shady outfits who will leave you with less than you bargained for. So what are red flags to look out for? Here are the points to consider as you go about choosing your binary broker.
MyChargeBack.com are a company who specialise in helping binary fraud victims recover their money. They liaise with bank or credit card firms in order to get charge backs made to reclaim deposits. They will tell you if you have a valid claim via a free consultation.
Are Binary Options A Scam?
The term “scam” covers a wide range of behaviour, from providing misleading information to lure you in, through to vanishing account balances – and even dishonest trading advice. Likewise, a particular broker might not be technically fraudulent in its behaviour; it’s just that the service available on the platform (such as highly unreliable uptime or failure to reimburse funds in a timely manner) means that this is a broker that really ought to be avoided.
In all of these cases, the problem isn’t with binary options as a concept, it’s with the broker.
So it’s a matter of doing your homework before you commit to any particular platform. User reviews can be helpful (if they are genuine), but always treat such reviews with scepticism – and never make a decision on the basis of testimonials published on the broker’s website. Even trader forums can be problematic – look closely and you’ll often find that the forum is an offshoot of a particular broker’s website. Independent, thorough and comparative reviews are the safest way to ‘scam-check’ a broker. Ideally, focus on review sites that allow and encourage real-life users to get in contact and report and problems with particular brokers, so you can be sure that what you are reading is up to date.
Below is an always up-to-date list of our top 3 trusted brokers. You can find a list of all the brokers we recommend here.
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The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does now regulate binary options. They have already created a list of unauthorised firms. While they are not calling them scams, they are making it clear that these firms are breaking the law by trading with UK visitors – so they are best avoided. The full list can be found here: FCA Unauthorised List
By contrast, the USA along with most other EU countries do regard binary options as financial products. Depending on where they are based, many platforms will, therefore, be subject to oversight from a regulatory body. Examples include the CFTC in the US and CySec in Cyprus. A platform’s regulatory status can be a highly valuable trust-indicator for traders seeking to avoid scams. It shows that the broker has to abide by certain minimum standards when it comes to service and transparency.
Marketing “Too Good To Be True”
Taken in isolation, the act of placing a trade should be a straightforward one; and indeed, the usability of a platform tends to be a big selling point for brokers. Although this aspect of binary options is “easy”, it’s something quite different to claim that profits are guaranteed. Realising a profit through regular trading requires knowledge of how markets behave, the ability to read market conditions and an understanding of strategy. If the risks are downplayed – or outright false assertions are made (along the lines of “95% trades are successful”), these are false assurances. It’s a sign that the broker may be less than scrupulous in other important areas and that the platform ought to be given a wide berth.
Terms and conditions
Transparency is essential. Read the smallprint, and be especially wary of needlessly convoluted procedures for withdrawal of funds. Terms regarding your initial deposit can be another source of contention; for instance, if you are denied access to the deposit until a certain number of trades are made – so your money is tied to the platform from the moment it is handed over. This deposit retention is often part of wider terms associated with a ‘bonus’. CySec have sought to ban these sorts of terms by stopping the use of ‘deposit match’ bonuses. Non-CySec brands are still free to use them however, so T&C’s must always checked.
These tend to fall into two categories. The first is where you are called out of the blue and invited to sign up to a particular platform. The second occurs where you are already tied to the platform and you receive a call (or email) from a “senior broker” pointing you in the direction of particular trades. Reputable brokers do not need to make cold calls. Bear in mind “cold calls” might include emails too – any form of unsolicited approach should be considered a “cold” contact and be treated with extreme suspicion.
You should always be clear about who you are dealing with. In some situations, you might visit what appears to be an actual broker’s site, click the link to sign up only to be redirected to another broker. Alternatively a trading “service” may dictate that you use only their recommended broker. These “funnel” sites are sometimes used as a front by brokers with a poor reputation, or are working alongside them to dupe visitors (often using the misleading marketing mentioned above). A good broker will be upfront about its identity from the outset.
It’s one thing for a broker to give you access to the data and analysis tools to work out your own strategies (in fact, this is one of the signs of a great platform). It’s quite another for that broker to also offer trading advice. After all, with ‘over the counter’ binary options brokers, you are betting against the house; if the ‘house’ is making the trading decisions for you, it’s hardly likely that those decisions will be in your best interests. This form of “upselling” is often the most lucrative for the broker, and is usually the where traders lose the most. Encouraged by an “account manager”, traders are advised to deposit beyond their means and to over trade. On occasion large accounts will be wiped out in hours. The “advice” goes against any sound money management, and increases risk hugely. Always take responsibility for your own trades. Never allow a broker to make trading decisions for you.
There has to be a fair and transparent benchmark against which the broker sets its prices. This benchmark should be what’s happening in the real world; i.e. real-time market prices. If the broker reserves the right to set its own prices, you can assume that those figures will be skewed against you; in other words, a loaded deck.
Scam Brokers and Not Recommended Operators
The brokers listed below have generated a lot of complaints both directly and on the forum. The disputes vary from upselling and encouraging traders to over trade, to non-payment of withdrawals and price manipulation. There is little recourse for traders to raise a dispute with unregulated brokers, so it is generally advised that you look for trusted binary options brokers – preferably regulated in your own country where possible. “Scam” has become widely used as a term to refer to any form of poor service, but it should be noted that many of these brokers may have done nothing dishonest or illegal, but have attracted higher than normal levels of complaints. If in doubt, trade elsewhere. There are plenty of honest brokers out there.
Robot And Signal Scams
These signal providers, or robot services, are either scams or not recommended for other important reasons.
Instagram And Facebook
Beware of scams operating on social media. Again, binaries are not a get rich quick scheme. There are a huge number of accounts promising to trade on your behalf and turn $2k into $8k in a week. If these claims were true, the people behind them would not need to be running ads or signing people up – they would simply trade themselves.
Screenshots of successful trades are exceptionally easy to get – even genuinely. But these operators are unlikely to even bother trading – once you send them money, it is gone and you will not hear from them again (unless they think they can get you to deposit more). Always select your own broker, and always take responsibility for your own trades – dont let someone else trade on your behalf. If you do not understand binary options, or do not have time to trade – then do not trade at all. These scams often prey on people who lack experience.
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
Do you think you’ve fallen prey to a binary options scam? Read on to find out what you can do if you’ve been scammed. There are many ways to help ensure that you don’t fall prey to a scam but the reality is that even if you follow all those tips there is still a possibility you will be scammed. If that happens, what do you do? Do you sit back and take it? Do you give up on trading? No, you need to stand tall and look out for yourself. Trading is good, it is rewarding and can lead to a life in which you don’t have to go to a job and punch a clock. You can’t let the actions of one broker, signal service, robot or guru dissuade you from that path. This article is a look at what you can do if you think you’ve been scammed. It’s likely that once an issue arises you won’t be able to get your profits, it is possible to get back your initial deposit but it might take some work.
MyChargeBack.com are a firm specialising in helping victims of binary options fraud. They help claimants to explain the incident to the bank or credit card company, so that they fully understand what has happened. Some banks are unaware of binary trading and are unwilling to listen to claims. MyChargeBack help in this situation. They have a solid record of recovery from genuine claims.
If you are not yet looking for third party help, here are some steps you can take yourself:
- Document everything. The very first thing to do is to make records of everything you can. This includes the brokers, or SSP’s, terms&conditions, copies of any emails/Skype/live-chat you have had with them, confirmation of your deposit, turnover requirements for bonuses and your trading history. No matter what you do next, this information will be required in order to get satisfaction. What you do next will depend on the type of scam you have fallen prey to.
- Try to withdraw. Broker won’t let me withdraw. Contact the broker and try to find out why they won’t let you withdraw. The most usual reason is that you’ve not sent in the right ID documentation, something required by international law, and is an issue easy to fix. The next most pressing reason why withdrawals are not allowed is due to bonus terms and turnover requirements. If you haven’t met conditions you will not be allowed to make any form of withdrawal which is why you want to keep track of all your trading volume and turnover. If you didn’t accept a bonus in the first place your documentation will help you prove it. A good broker will try to solve your issues, a shady one will give you the run-around.
- Make your voice heard. Broker keeps giving me the run-around. If your broker is giving you the run-around and won’t address your issues the next best avenue for satisfaction is to let the community know what is going on. After all, it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. You can do this by posting complaints, with details, in forums like the one here at Binaryoptions.net. When you do this be sure to let the broker know and send them a link. They may not care, a sign of a shady broker, but when it comes to reliable brokers they will want to address your problems to avoid poor publicity. When posting complaints give as much detail as possible, just saying that a broker scammed you is not enough, proofs of fraud are what get results.
- Contact their payments provider. The broker won’t help, now what? At this point the chances that you have been scammed, and not just suffering from miscommunication, are quite high. If you can’t get satisfaction from the broker you will have to take more drastic measures. If you deposited by credit card this may mean calling the card company and requesting a charge-back. Let them know the initial charge was fraudulent and that the company in question is not returning your contact requests for best results. The Times Of Israel reported that a victim of fraud was able to get a full refund of his deposit after contacting the financial institution that processed the brokers payments. They withheld payments until the broker satisfied the claims.
- Contact the regulator. Time to call out the big guns. The great thing about expanding binary options regulation is that there is an alternative for many traders who think they’ve been scammed, you can contact the regulator. In some cases this can be a challenge as many brokers are located off-shore and hidden behind holding companies and virtual offices so be sure to do your homework. If the broker is regulated contact the agency overseeing them, if they are not regulated contact the agency which oversees financial regulation in your country. If the broker is regulated they will have to address your issue, to the satisfaction of all parties, in order to remain compliant. If they are not regulated at least you can be assured at least they will have a harder time scamming any more people from your country. At best cooperation between regulators could result in the broker being shut down for fraud.
- Be persistent. Shady brokers like to hire people who are good at deflecting questions and complaints, don’t accept what they are telling you. It may take time but eventually you will talk to the right person, or persons, and your case will be addressed. What is most likely to happen is that the combination of your contact requests, forum complaints and charges with regulators will add up to one thing, the broker giving you your money back to avoid a much bigger hassle.
How to Spot a Trading Strategy Scam
The internet is loaded with ads, articles, companies and individuals trying to provide you with the next big trading strategy that will make you rich overnight. Take pause my friend, here are tips to help you spot the scam.
A System or Only a Strategy?
First and foremost, trading strategies aren’t really going to help you become a good trader. What you actually need is an entire system. When you make a trading plan it needs to cover how you will enter markets, exit markets and how you will manage your money. It also needs to tell you under what market conditions you do all these things. That is a system, it tells you everything you need to know about how you will trade. A strategy on the other hand only tells you when to enter and exit, and may not tell you under what conditions it works best or poorly. It also may not provide guidance on position size or whether you can trade multiple assets at the same time – issues which are very important to address. In other words, a strategy may have missing pieces of information you need to be successful. We need a complete trading system…but marketers are smart, so they can easily just call the product they are selling a “system” to make it sound more complete. But is it? Here are several things to watch for which could tip you off the product is probably a waste of money:
A boxed system is one where you don’t get to know how the strategy works – it’s an opaque “black box”. For example, the product may just be a series of indicators or a service that tells you when to trade, but not why. This isn’t going to make you a better trader, because you don’t know what is happening behind the scenes. If a product or signal service stops operating you are left with nothing. Even if you made money with the product/service you have to start from scratch all over again. Make sure if you buy something it explains how it works, so that eventually you don’t have to rely on the product/service.
Extremely High Win Rates
Is it possible to have a 90% win rate? Absolutely, yet it is also possible to lose money with a 90% win rate. Stats are easily manipulated to tell partial truths or fabricate lies. Other popular tactics are saying things like “Made $500 in one day!” So what? That doesn’t actually tell you anything. If that was on a $1,000,000 account then making $500 isn’t so grand. And if they lost $3000 they day before, then making only $500 today and bragging about it is rather paltry. Read between the lines. What isn’t being said? To understand performance you need several bits of information: Account size (capital), percentage return, amount at risk on each trade, amount of profit per trade, win/loss ratio, biggest winner, biggest loser, average winner, average loser, number of trades and period over which the strategy was tested/profitable.
There are also some other metrics that could help you out, but if you ask the company for these bits of information, and they can’t or won’t give them to you, be suspicious. You can usually get a sense of what vulnerabilities and tendencies a system has by looking at the above stats. One of the main things is that the strategy should be tested over a long period of time, and in all market conditions–up trends, down trends, ranges, volatile and sedate conditions. It doesn’t necessarily have to profitable in each of these environments, but it should have at least been traded through them all so you know that the system is profitable overall. Often marketers will only publish results for a period where strategy did very well. But this doesn’t give you a real idea of how the strategy or system works over the long-term.
- Related to stats there is something else you need to consider. If a system is profitable, that result is based on all the trades. If you buy the product or the service, are you going to trade them all? On issue many traders face when subscribing to a signal service is that they don’t trade all the signals. If you don’t trade all the signals then your personal results could be dramatically different than the typical results of the service.
Only One Direction
Avoid a system that only trades in one direction, for example only buys assets but won’t short sell them. Markets rise and fall, you want to participate in both trends.
No Trial Period
You should be able to test a product and be able to cancel without a fuss if the service isn’t for you. Usually a quick trading forum search on Google will reveal what others have shares about a product or service. No trial, no deal. Don’t trust anyone, test things out for yourself. If they won’t let you, then be wary.
Final Words on Identifying Scams
A product or service shouldn’t make you reliant on it. It should show you behind the scenes so that eventually you can trade on your own. Good products will always have customers since there are people who don’t want to do the work themselves, and there are always new traders. There is no reason to make every customer totally dependent. Be wary of stats that are thrown out. Ask yourself what the stats aren’t telling you. Also, if the stats they provide are legitimate, then you’ll need to trade all the signals to take advantage and get results typical of the service. Of course remember though, past performance is not indicative of futures results. That is way it pays to do some homework, and make sure the strategy/system/service/product is based on a long history, and has proven itself profitable over all types of market conditions. Test out a product/system/service before buying it. If they won’t let you try, be suspicious.
Case Study – JV Affiliate Marketers
In this section we will look at how you can avoid being scammed by Binary Options JV Affiliate Marketers. Its not so hard, but requires you to let go of your emotions and examine things in a logical manner, as many of the scammers use emotional greed/fear tactics to get your money. Once you understand this you can quickly and simply save your time and money with these unscrupulous dolts. Some scams are simply comical in how stupid they are, while others can be very well done con jobs that lure you in with seemingly genuine people/systems/reviews which later you find are the exact opposite, as you look at your $0 balance wondering “Where did my money go!?”.
As you will see in the numerous scam videos, all you have to do is “NOT DEPOSIT” then these scams no longer work. So next time you see videos that are of a similar nature, just know they are supporting scam systems/marketers. Understand if they require a deposit they are fly by night and even if they were not they are supporting the scammers by the nature of requiring you to deposit with a new broker. So just refuse to deposit and they go away. Not the same stories kind of stories and promises over and over all to get you to sign-up to their “free” system/bots… They are not free you have to deposit and they get paid on those deposits… So remember limited time/fast money/can’t lose!/just fund your account = don’t do it!
In this image above you can see many of the scam systems are connected to each other on the same servers most often. These JV marketers have tons of these turnkey scams as they are very low maintenance. The reason you see so many of them is after a few weeks of the new story line wares off and becomes boring they will start production on another one and keep it all fresh and new thus avoiding the wrath of their old scams being complained about and those complaints shared with others. If they keep it new they avoid this along with the fact most newbies jump from one scam to another hoping one of these will work, which none of them do because trading is a learned skill/job… So again, understand their stories and how they work, and don’t deposit .
Case Study – Scams on Social Media
Social media is a “perfect” platform for scammers and can be even more insidious and convincing, and unlike the JV marketers these people will talk to you directly, but only to a point. Once they figure they can’t get any more from you or you no longer have value to them, they will un-friend you in a heart beat. The one thing they are all after is your money, so be on the look out for them asking for deposits or sign-ups telling you about amazing profits and opportunities, which will have you end up with empty pockets. Videos such as those used with both “The Green Room” and “FB Wealth Group” will pretend to be traders/friends, while they are really just out to get your money through either signups or even trying to have you pay them directly.
Also – if you see them mention anything MLM (Multi Level Marketing) related, they are trained to lure you in, so run the other way. These people don’t play around and will say whatever is needed to get you to sign-up and invest. There is a 45 minute long interview of a person that was scammed by both “The Green Room” and “FB Wealth Group”. We named it Binary Options Horror Story because that is exactly what it is in all its gory details. If you are new to binary options read, and absorb the above warning signs fully to see how they scammed people out of their money so it does not happen to you. Notice also how the worked with the brokers directly, which implies that they can be directly involved as well.
Scammers will repeat the common element of wanting you to deposit or even asking for money directly and from there you can tell them “no thanks” and make sure to unfriend them.
Is Your Forex Broker a Scam?
If you do an internet search on forex broker scams, the number of results is staggering. While the forex market is slowly becoming more regulated, there are many unscrupulous brokers who should not be in business.
When you’re looking to trade forex, it’s important to identify brokers who are reliable and viable, and to avoid the ones that are not. In order to sort out the strong brokers from the weak and the reputable ones from those with shady dealings, we must go through a series of steps before depositing a large amount of capital with a broker.
Trading is hard enough in itself, but when a broker implements practices that work against the trader, making a profit can be nearly impossible.
- If your broker does not respond to you, it may be a red flag that he or she is not looking out for your best interests.
- To make sure you’re not being duped by a shady broker, do your research, make sure there are no complaints, and read through all the fine print on documents.
- Try opening a mini account with a small balance first, and make trades for a month before attempting a withdrawal.
- If you see buy and sell trades for securities that don’t fit your objectives, your broker may be churning.
- If you are stuck with a bad broker, review all your documents and discuss your course of action before taking more drastic measures.
Separating Forex Fact From Fiction
When researching a potential forex broker, traders must learn to separate fact from fiction. For instance, faced with all sorts of forums posts, articles, and disgruntled comments about a broker, we could assume that all traders fail and never make a profit. The traders that fail to make profits then post content online that blames the broker (or some other outside influence) for their own failed strategies.
One common complaint from traders is that a broker was intentionally trying to cause a loss in the form of statements such as, “As soon as I placed the trade, the direction of the market reversed” or “The broker stop hunted my positions,” and “I always had slippage on my orders, and never in my favor.” These types of experiences are common among traders and it is quite possible that the broker is not at fault.
It is also entirely possible that new forex traders fail to trade with a tested strategy or trading plan. Instead, they make trades based on psychology (e.g., if a trader feels the market has to move in one direction or the other) and there is essentially a 50% chance they will be correct.
When the rookie trader enters a position, they are often entering when their emotions are waning. Experienced traders are aware of these junior tendencies and step in, taking the trade the other way. This befuddles new traders and leaves them feeling that the market—or their brokers—are out to get them and take their individual profits. Most of the time, this is not the case. It is simply a failure by the trader to understand market dynamics.
On occasion, losses are the broker’s fault. This can occur when a broker attempts to rack up trading commissions at the client’s expense. There have been reports of brokers arbitrarily moving quoted rates to trigger stop orders when other brokers’ rates have not moved to that price.
Luckily for traders, this type of situation is an outlier and not likely to occur. One must remember that trading is usually not a zero-sum game, and brokers primarily make commissions with increased trading volumes. Overall, it is in the best interest of brokers to have long-term clients who trade regularly and thus, sustain capital or make a profit.
The slippage issue can often be attributed to behavioral economics. It is common practice for inexperienced traders to panic. They fear missing a move, so they hit their buy key, or they fear losing more and they hit the sell key.
In volatile exchange rate environments, the broker cannot ensure an order will be executed at the desired price. This results in sharp movements and slippage. The same is true for stop or limit orders. Some brokers guarantee stop and limit order fills, while others do not.
Even in more transparent markets, slippage happens, markets move, and we don’t always get the price we want.
Communication Is Key
Real problems can begin to develop when communication between a trader and a broker begins to break down. If a trader does not receive responses from their broker or the broker provides vague answers to a trader’s questions, these are common red flags that a broker may not be looking out for the client’s best interest.
Issues of this nature should be resolved and explained to the trader, and the broker should also be helpful and display good customer relations. One of the most detrimental issues that may arise between a broker and a trader is the trader’s inability to withdraw money from an account.
Broker Research Protects You
Protecting yourself from unscrupulous brokers in the first place is ideal. The following steps should help:
- Do an online search for reviews of the broker. A generic internet search can provide insights into whether negative comments could just be a disgruntled trader or something more serious. A good supplement to this type of search is BrokerCheck from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which indicates whether there are outstanding legal actions against the broker. And if appropriate, gain a clearer understanding of the U.S. regulations for forex brokers.
- Make sure there are no complaints about not being able to withdraw funds. If there are, contact the user if possible and ask them about their experience.
- Read through all the fine print of the documents when opening an account. Incentives to open an account can often be used against the trader when attempting to withdraw funds. For instance, if a trader deposits $10,000 and gets a $2,000 bonus, and then the trader loses money and attempts to withdraw some remaining funds, the broker may say they cannot withdraw the bonus funds. Reading the fine print will help make sure you understand all contingencies in these types of instances.
- If you are satisfied with your research on a particular broker, open a mini account or an account with a small amount of capital. Trade it for a month or more, and then attempt to make a withdrawal. If everything has gone well, it should be relatively safe to deposit more funds. If you have problems, attempt to discuss them with the broker. If that fails, move on and post a detailed account of your experience online so others can learn from your experience.
It should be pointed out that a broker’s size cannot be used to determine the level of risk involved. While larger brokers grow by providing a certain standard of service, the 2008-2009 financial crisis taught us that a big or popular firm isn’t always safe.
The Temptation to Churn
Brokers or planners who are paid commissions for buying and selling securities can sometimes succumb to the temptation to effect transactions simply for the purpose of generating a commission. Those who do this excessively can be found guilty of churning—a term coined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that denotes when a broker places trades for a purpose other than to benefit the client. Those who are found guilty of this can face fines, reprimands, suspension, dismissal, disbarment, or even criminal sanctions in some cases.
SEC Defines Churning
The SEC defines churning in the following manner:
Churning occurs when a broker engages in excessive buying and selling of securities in a customer’s account chiefly to generate commissions that benefit the broker. For churning to occur, the broker must exercise control over the investment decisions in the customer’s account, such as through a formal written discretionary agreement. Frequent in-and-out purchases and sales of securities that don’t appear necessary to fulfill the customer’s investment goals may be evidence of churning. Churning is illegal and unethical. It can violate SEC Rule 15c1-7 and other securities laws.
The key to remember here is that the trades that are placed are not increasing your account value. If you have given your broker trading authority over your account, then the possibility of churning can only exist if they are trading your account heavily, and your balance either remains the same or decreases in value over time.
Of course, it is possible that your broker may be genuinely attempting to grow your assets, but you need to find out exactly what they are doing and why. If you are calling the shots and the broker is following your instructions, then that cannot be classified as churning.
Evaluate Your Trades
One of the clearest signs of churning can be when you see buy and sell trades for securities that don’t fit your investment objectives. For example, if your objective is to generate a current stable income, then you should not be seeing buy and sell trades on your statements for small-cap equity or technology stocks or funds.
Churning with derivatives such as put and call options can be even harder to spot, as these instruments can be used to accomplish a variety of objectives. But buying and selling puts and calls should, in most cases, only be happening if you have a high-risk tolerance. Selling calls and puts can generate current income as long as it is done prudently.
How Regulators Evaluate Churning
An arbitration panel will consider several factors when they conduct hearings to determine whether a broker has been churning an account. They will examine the trades that were placed in light of the client’s level of education, experience, and sophistication as well as the nature of the client’s relationship with the broker. They will also weigh the number of solicited versus unsolicited trades and the dollar amount of commissions that have been generated as compared to the client’s gains or losses as a result of these trades.
There are times when it may seem like your broker may be churning your account, but this may not necessarily be the case. If you have questions about this and feel uneasy about what your advisor is doing with your money, then don’t hesitate to consult a securities attorney or file a complaint on the SEC’s website.
Already Stuck With a Bad Broker?
Unfortunately, options are very limited at this stage. However, there are a few things you can do. First, read through all documents to make sure your broker is actually in the wrong. If you have missed something or failed to read the documents you signed, you may have to assume the blame.
Next, discuss the course of action you will take if the broker does not adequately answer your questions or provide a withdrawal. Steps may include posting comments online or reporting the broker to FINRA or the appropriate regulatory body in your country.
The Bottom Line
While traders may blame brokers for their losses, there are times when brokers really are at fault. A trader needs to be thorough and conduct research on a broker before opening an account and if the research turns up positive for the broker, then a small deposit should be made, followed by a few trades and then a withdrawal. If this goes well, then a larger deposit can be made.
However, if you are already in a problematic situation, you should verify that the broker is conducting illegal activity (such as churning), attempt to have your questions answered, and if all else fails, and/or report the person to the SEC, FINRA, or another regulatory body that could enforce action against them.
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