ASIC today provided an update on its regulation of US-based online brokerage firm Interactive Brokers LLC (IB).
Enforceable undertaking (EU)
IB has refunded $1.5 million in fees and commission payments to its retail margin lending customers in accordance with an EU accepted by ASIC in December 2014 (refer: 14-336MR).
The terms of the EU have been met and it is now finalised, IB having:
- refunded approximately $1.5 million in fees and commission payments to retail customers
- paid approximately $150,000 to the Financial Rights Legal Centre, for the purposes of consumer education concerning financial services and consumer rights in Australia, and
- engaged independent consultant Price Waterhouse Coopers to confirm that the customer refunds were calculated and paid in accordance with a methodology agreed between IB and ASIC.
IB's financial services business
IB has been aware, since October 2013, that ASIC believes its financial services business in Australia involves making a market in foreign exchange (FX) products. In December 2013 ASIC extended a no-action position to IB regarding its FX business on the basis IB would obtain an Australian financial services licence with a market making authorisation for its FX business for an Australian subsidiary.
ASIC withdrew its no-action position in June 2015. This withdrawal followed a lengthy process of enquiry on ASIC’s part, attempting to clarify the FX services and products being provided by IB in Australia under the no-action position. ASIC was not satisfied that the no-action position ought to continue in light of the information provided to ASIC about IB's FX business in Australia.
ASIC notes that it has not to date been in a position to grant IB's Australian subsidiary an appropriately authorised licence.
ASIC has requested IB to cease providing all over-the-counter FX services in Australia, and has requested the provision of further information to enable ASIC to decide on an acceptable orderly exit mechanism from that part of its business in Australia.