Following an investigation, ASIC has suspended the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of FX provider AGM Markets Pty Ltd (AGM).
The move is part of ASIC’s ongoing crackdown on the margin FX industry and work around retail investment in foreign exchange.
AGM stopped operating a financial services business in May 2014 however has indicated it intends to recommence its business at the end of April 2015. This move follows a number of changes to the company’s name and corporate structure, including members. ASIC has the power to suspend or cancel an AFS licence where a financial services business has ceased to operate.
ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said, ‘Participants in the margin FX industry can be exposed to turmoil in currency markets and ASIC wants to ensure licensees wanting to be part of this sector are in a position to meet their AFS licence obligations.
‘If businesses can’t demonstrate this, ASIC can cancel licences.’
AGM’s licence has been suspended for six months from 26 March 2015.
Outcomes in the FX space
Product distribution and financial market innovation and complexity, which includes the retail margin foreign exchange market, has been identified as a focus area for ASIC. Recent outcomes include:
- warning investors not to deal with Grandegoldens (refer: 15-066MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia.
- cancelling Enfinium’s AFS licence because, among other things, concerns around inadequate risk management systems (refer: 15-026)
- following a surveillance, Calibre Investment changed the way it offers FX services to retail clients (refer: 14-327)
- restraining Monarch FX and its former director and general manager, Quinten Hunter, from carrying on a financial services business (refer: 14-342MR)
- shutting down Vault Market and removing its sole director, Mr MD Anamul Amin, from the financial services industry (refer: 14-309MR)
- warning investors not to deal with YoutradeFX (refer: 14-306MR). It is not licensed to trade in margin FX in Australia
- Pepperstone agreeing to stop providing financial services in Japan following inquiries by ASIC that revealed they were not licensed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (refer: 14-267MR)
- cancelling the AFS licence of online FX broker Global Derivative Services after an investigation found it failed to comply with a number of its licence obligations (refer: 14-226MR)
- accepting an enforceable undertaking from online FX broker Forex Financial Services prohibiting it from operating managed discretionary accounts (refer: 14-036MR)
- banning Robert Lloyd Wilson from providing financial services and warning the public against dealing with him for his promotion of a program that showed ‘when to get in and when to get out’ of trades. These trades included, among other things, FX trades (refer: 13-282MR).
ASIC has also issued a more general warning to retail investors about the dangers of FX trading (refer: 13-283MR).
AGM has been previously known as Fixi Australia Pty Ltd, Forbes Wealth Services Pty Ltd and Easy Fortune& Ever Wealth Pty Ltd.
The granting of an AFS licence is not an ongoing right where a company no longer operates within the financial services market.