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Hong Kong Regulator Fines UBS with HK$400 Million

Hong Kong regulator fines UBS for overcharging clients in wealth management. The Swiss bank is now to reimburse 5,000 Hong Kong-managed wealth clients.

November 11, 2019, | AtoZ MarketsThe Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has reprimanded and fined Swiss bank UBS Group AG for their failings with regard to trading activities. The watchdog said this on Monday.

Hong Kong Regulator Fines UBS for overcharging rich clients

Hong Kong Regulator fined UBS HK$400 million ($51 million) for overcharging up to 5,000 clients for nearly a decade. The SFC said in a statement that an investigation found UBS had overcharged clients on ‘post-trade spread increases’ and charges in excess of standard disclosures and rates between 2008 and 2017.

In addition, the SFC said the investigation exposed ‘serious systemic internal control failures’ at the bank. UBS had failed to disclose conflicts of interests and had overcharged some clients in ‘opaque’ trades, it said.

The overcharging affected 5000 Hong Kong managed client accounts in about 28,700 transactions, it said. Nevertheless, UBS has agreed to repay the clients HK$200 million, the SFC said.

The regulator said the overcharging occurred in the bank’s wealth management division on bond and structured notes transactions. UBS was found to have increased the spread charged after the execution of a trade without the clients’ knowledge, it said.

In the statement, the SFC said UBS was also found to have falsified some account statements which were issued to financial intermediaries who were authorized to trade for the clients to “conceal the overcharges”.

UBS said the issues were ‘self-reported’ to the SFC and the results found were against the bank’s standard practice.

“The relevant conduct predominantly relates to limit orders of certain debt securities and structured note transactions, which account for a very small percentage of the bank’s order processing system,” the bank said in a statement.

SFC chief executive Ashley Alder said while each “overcharge represented a fraction of each trade” the bank’s “misconduct involved decisions and a pervasive abuse of trust resulting in significant additional revenue for UBS to which it was not entitled”.

UBS is one of the world’s largest wealth managers, investing around 2.5 trillion Swiss Francs (US 2.5 trillion) for clients.

In March, the SFC banned UBS from leading initial public offerings in Hong Kong for a year after it found the bank, and some of its rivals had failed to carry out sufficient due diligence on a number of deals.

UBS was fined HK$375 million while Morgan Stanley was fined HK$224 million, Merrill Lynch HK$128 million and Standard Chartered (StanChart) HK$59.7 million, all for failures when sponsoring, or leading, public market floats. However, UBS shares traded 1.4% lower Monday, in line with falls for the wider banking sector.

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CFTC Charges Tower Research Capital with $67.4 Million

CFTC charges Tower Research Capital with spoofing and the firm has agreed to pay a combined $67.4 million in criminal monetary penalties.

November 8, 2019, | AtoZ Markets – High-speed trading firm Tower Research Capital LLC agreed to pay $67 million to settle regulatory allegations. This is because its traders have allegedly manipulated the price of stock-index futures.

New York-based Tower also signed a deferred-prosecution agreement with the Justice Department, which has worked closely with the CFTC on such cases.

CFTC Charges Tower Research Capital With Alleged “Spoofing”

The alleged misconduct is known as spoofing. This involves entering phony orders that give other traders a false impression of supply and demand. The fake bids and offers are intended to push prices in a direction that favors the spoofer’s other orders.

Moreover, the fraud allegedly occurred in 2012 and 2013 when the traders, all part of the same team, placed thousands of misleading orders in E-mini S&P 500 futures. This is a heavily traded contract that tracks the S&P 500 stock-market index. Investors often use it to hedge against major market moves.

Prosecutors and the CFTC have cracked down on spoofing in recent years, saying this tactic is a form of fraud. Additionally, Congress outlawed spoofing in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. CFTC enforcement director James McDonald said:

“This misconduct undermines the integrity of the price discovery process and can result, as it did here, in harm to law-abiding market participants.”

Tower’s payment includes $32 million in restitution, $10.5 million in disgorgement of illegal profits, and a $24.4 million penalty.

The CFTC has filed or settled more than a dozen spoofing cases in 2018. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is still pursuing some of those traders on criminal charges.

About Tower Research Capital

One of Tower Research’s subsidiaries, Latour Trading LLC, is a major liquidity provider on the New York Stock Exchange, according to NYSE’s website. Tower Research Capital’s founder, Mark Gorton, recently stepped down as CEO of the company and became a nonexecutive chairman. Mr. Gorton earlier founded the music-sharing service known as LimeWire. However, authorities have shut down LimeWire for copyright infringement.

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How to trade cryptocurrency through your forex broker?

The most awaited questions from the traders are how to trade cryptocurrency through your forex broker. The basic concept of forex trading is making a profit from the difference in prices from the market volatility. 

November 8, 2019, | AtoZ MarketsIt is easy and simple to trade cryptocurrency through a forex broker. Since its inception in 2009, cryptocurrency has grown from an unnoticed blip on a computer screen. It creates a worldwide phenomenon among the investment sectors. As cryptocurrencies are volatile, there is a possibility to make a profit from the changing of prices. Moreover, there are several strategies like CFD, day trading &  swing trading. However,  making and breaking fortunes through it is often-volatile trading patterns and soaring growth trends. There are now over 1,000 types of cryptocurrencies in the world.

What is Cryptocurrency Trading?

The Cryptocurrency trading has been started back as 2009. At that time, bitcoin’s value was about cents and the early buyers are now made millions of dollars.

Unlike traditional currencies, the cryptocurrencies are different and totally decentralized. They use blockchain technology with various platforms for various uses.

Any central administration does not control these cryptocurrencies. Therefore, it was possible to create different cryptocurrencies for different purposes. Cryptocurrency trading is different from the tradition trading system. The cryptocurrency trading platform uses different cryptocurrencies instead of fiat currencies.  The cryptocurrency trading platforms also runs on the blockchain technology.

However, Bitcoin is one of the world’s most traded cryptocurrencies. Learning how to trade Bitcoin would be the same for another cryptocurrency trading through forex brokers.

The basic concept of forex trading is making a profit from the difference in prices from the market volatility. As cryptocurrencies are volatile, there is a possibility to make a profit from the changing of prices.

If you know how to buy or sell and when to perform the action, you almost know the process of cryptocurrency trading in a forex broker.

What Are Forex Trading Platforms?

Forex trading platforms are the place through which you can carry out your currency exchanges. It works as an intermediary between you and the interbank system to trade with each other. Typically, a Forex broker will offer you a price from the banks to forex liquidity. Many forex brokers use multiple banks to provide the best available price. You can operate your tradings from anywhere around the world. Moreover, you can trade your preferred currencies through forex trading platforms.

There are several platforms available on the internet. This platform allows you to trade with several strategies. You can alter your strategy to achieve the best outcome from the forex trading platform. Moreover, there are several trading tools available to improve your trading accuracy.

How to trade cryptocurrency through your forex broker?

Cryptocurrency trading is similar to traditional trading systems. However, the cryptocurrency trading platforms stand for the trading and exchange of cryptocurrencies.

The cryptocurrency trading means to exchange cryptocurrency with another cryptocurrency. However, it is also possible to exchange cryptocurrency with fiat currency. This depends on the policy of the trading platform.

Another remarkable way of trading cryptocurrency is the exchange of crypto contracts for differences (CFDs). This system will allow you to earn profits without exchanging. Through this method, you trade your preferred cryptocurrency broker or bitcoin trade broker. However, you do not need to have any cryptocurrency to trade. Moreover, you do not need to worry about the security and storage of your cryptocurrency.

#1 Cryptocurrency CFD Trading

Cryptocurrency CFD Trading is just a contract between the trader and the broker. For Bitcoin, It allows you to bet on the changes that happen in the price of the Bitcoin.

At first, you have to open an account with the forex brokers that allow Bitcoin CFD trading. If you think Bitcoin’s price may go up, you can simply open a buy position from your chart. If the bitcoin price rises, you will earn money from the broker. On the other hand, if the Bitcoin price goes down, you will lose and the broker will earn money from you.

It is crucial to note that Bitcoin CFDs are risky, considering the volatilities of this crypto market. Therefore, this trading strategy is suitable for experienced traders only.

There are many forex trading platforms to trade your cryptocurrency CFD’s.  However, MetaTrader 4 is one of the best platforms.  It is the most famous platform among retail traders that contains many valuable features. The most notable features are advanced charting tools, different order time, and wide range periods.

#2 Cryptocurrency Scalping

Scalping is doing thousands of trades within a short trading period. Scalpers target price gaps and other short-term trading opportunities that allow them to turn quickly turn. In scalping, the trader enters multiple positions in a short time frame with the expectation of small gains.

Scalping is a popular method for its ease and psychological comfort. In a scalping strategy, profit realizes as soon as possible. On the other hand, holding a position for the longer term is stressful and difficult for novice traders. With scalping, trades are rarely last more than five minutes. The multiple short-term profits ensure a version of instant pleasure.

It is hard to make a profit from this; it is possible to make substantial profits. Therefore, you have to be more patient and stick to your trading strategy. You need to be quick and laser-focused to make most of Scalp trading.

Most of the traders rely on technical analysis tools in order to Scalp trade Cryptocurrencies. Moreover, they use many price action charts of the desired cryptocurrency and watch the major news events very keenly. Then they make a profit from the spike from the news and events. There are other valuable features like live feed, direct access to broker & the ability to place many trades.

Experienced traders, who depend on technical analysis only, prefer MT4 platform scalping. However, you should watch the price action very keenly. The tools like Stochastic, MACD will help to analyze price action easily.

#3 Cryptocurrency Day Trading

Day trading refers to complete all the trading activities within a single trading day. The objective of a day trader to analyze the market and take a suitable position. Then watch that position like a hawk and exit with a profit. The running time of the trade maybe a few minutes or a whole day. Cryptocurrency day trading is nothing but the buying and selling the cryptocurrency on a given trading day.

#4 Algorithmic Crypto trading

This refers to the trading of the cryptocurrency using algorithms and trading bots.

A trading bot is a software that can cooperate directly with financial exchanges and place the orders on your behalf. Algorithmic Crypto trading is nothing but buying or selling of cryptocurrency using these bots. The bots take trading decisions by monitoring the price movements and react according to the pre-programmed rules.

The trading bot usually analyzes the most basic market actions like price, volume, time, and orders. You can manually set these programs to suit your own preferences. This automated trading is one of the greatest and most solid features of MT4. MT4 allows you to develop, test and apply automated bots with technical indicators for you to automate your indicators.

You can set predetermined rules & instructions to these bots on when to buy/sell your preferred cryptocurrency.

Conclusion

Each trading system comes with its own set of risks and rewards. There is no perfect strategy that exists in the world that suits all traders. To gain from the forex or crypto market, you have to get proper training with suitable money management skills. Moreover, there are lots of trading strategies available online. You just have to choose one of them that suits you most. 

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CySEC Lifts IGM Forex Suspension

IGM Forex temporary suspension has been lifted after four months following the broker’s compliance with CySEC. But it’s not clear if they will reactivate their license once more.

November 4, 2019, | AtoZ MarketsIGM Forex suspension by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) was rescinded today, ending a four-month action by the regulator. The lifting of the suspension coincides with IGM Forex’s compliance with CySEC regulations, following a violation of marketing relations in July.

CySEC Previously Suspended IGM Forex CIF License

On July 20, 2019, IGM Forex’s CIF license was temporarily suspended because the brokerage had violated a number of law provisions:

1. section 10(1) of The Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Laws of 2007 to 2016 (L.144(I)/2007) and Article 93(1) of Regulation (EU) 575/2013 (Own funds), and

2. Article 92(1) of Regulation (EU) 575/2013.

Since then, IGM Forex has not been authorized to onboard any new clients or advertise itself as a provider of investment services.

At the time of the suspension, CySEC imposed the punitive measures as the aforementioned violations may endanger the company’s clients’ interests or investor interests or generally the regular operation of the capital market.

IGM Forex Not Yet Back to Business

Fast-forwarding to the present, IGM Forex’s temporary suspension has been lifted as the group has fully satisfied the requisite CySEC laws. Nevertheless, it’s not clear if it then applied to reactivate their CIF license once more.

After IGM Forex’s suspension, their website (https://www.igmforex.com) went offline. Despite the CySEC decision, the website remains offline and no official statement has been made and no update is apparent.

Nevertheless, AtoZMarkets has reached out to IGM Forex for additional comments and is currently awaiting an answer.

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New Zealand Forex Regulator Deregisters FXBTG Financial Limited

New Zealand’s FMA has today announced that a High Court ruling has upheld a direction by the regulator to de-register foreign exchange firm FXBTG Financial Limited.

November 4, 2019, | AtoZ MarketsNew Zealand’s  Financial Markets Authority (FMA) announced this Monday that it has successfully defended a direction to de-register FXBTG Financial Limited.

The foreign exchange firm was deregistered with the High Court ruling in the regulator’s favor.

FMA welcomes court ruling upholding to de-register FXBTG Financial Limited

In June, the FMA directed the Companies Office, as the registrar of the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR), to de-register FXBTG Financial Limited.

According to the statement provided by the watchdog, FXBTG was registered in New Zealand, but it wasn’t actually providing any financial services to New Zealand customers. Instead, the company was trying to leverage New Zealand’s reputation, the FMA said.

FXBTG had appealed to the FMA’s direction. However, Justice Francis Cooke dismissed the appeal. In his judgment, Cooke said that sections of the Financial Service Providers Act had been inserted to deal with entities that register on the FSPR to “artificially claim a reputational benefit by association with the financial services regime operated under New Zealand law”.

Cooke noted that all of the forex firm’s clients were based overseas: “FXBTG technically engages in financial services within the meaning of the Act, but only in an entirely notional way.

“It has a single employee operating a computer in an apartment in Auckland, and on that basis, it has represented it is regulated under New Zealand securities law. That creates a misleading impression.”

FMA wins for the fourth time

This marks the fourth time the FMA has successfully defended an appeal against a direction to de-register, according to Nick Kynoch, FMA General Counsel. The other cases include Excelsior Markets Limited, Innovative Securities Limited and Vivier & Company Limited.

“This case demonstrates the lengths some firms are willing to go to stay registered on the FSPR and take advantage of New Zealand’s reputation,” added Kynoch. “Registration on the FSPR does not necessarily mean that an entity is regulated by the FMA. However, where we see entities exploiting registration we won’t hesitate to use our powers.”

“The FMA has to preserve the integrity of New Zealand’s financial markets so it’s important that we defend these cases. We’re pleased that this ruling further reinforces the approach that the FMA has taken,” he continued.

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CySEC updates procedure for AFX Capital Markets complaints filing

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has earlier today shared an update regarding the procedure for clients to file their complaints against AFX Capital Markets.

November 1, 2019, | AtoZ MarketsCySEC has on Friday posted an update on its website containing information that may be helpful to clients of AFX Capital Markets Ltd. With this update, clients of the brokerage firm can file their complaints against it.

CySEC investigates AFX Capital for alleged client’s fund mishandling

As a reminder, on July 17, 2019, CySEC announced the suspension of the Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF) license of AFX Capital Markets.

The suspension of the CIF license of AFX is pursuant to section 71(6)(c) of Τhe Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law of 2017 and section 10(1) of Directive DI87-05 for The Withdrawal and Suspension of Authorisation (‘DI87-05’), as there are suspicions of an alleged violation of section 22(1) of the Law due to the company’s possible non-compliance at all times with the authorisation condition in section 17(9) (organizational requirements) of the Law, as specified in paragraphs 4, 6 and 9 of Directive DI87-01, regarding the safeguard of clients’ funds.

The above-alleged violation sparks concern about the risks relating to the protection of the Company’s clients or of the investors. Moreover, the alleged violation also constitutes a threat to the orderly operation and integrity of the market. Shortly after the suspension of AFX’s license, their website of the firm went black. It is not accessible at the time of writing.

CySEC is currently conducting an investigation of the aforementioned alleged violation, which is expected to be completed in due time.

New procedure for the filing complaints against AFX

Today, the Cypriot watchdog has provided information about the procedure for the submission of complaints against AFX.

Related: How to file complaints against CySEC regulated Forex broker?

A Unique Reference Number (URN) is usually required in order to file a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman, which AFX is unable to provide. Hence, CySEC and the FO office have established an exemption to the normal procedure to ensure that clients of AFX are able to submit their complaints without a URN.

Furthermore, CySEC urges AFX clients to remain updated on the status of AFX and any developments, by frequently monitoring CySEC’s website.

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FSCS compensates FIXI clients after broker was put into liquidation

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) says it will be able to compensate eligible FIXI clients whose money has not been returned.

31 October 2019, AtoZMarkets – The FSCS exists to protect customers of financial services companies that have failed. If any customer is dealing with the company which has gone bankrupt and cannot pay the claims against it, FSCS can intervene to pay compensation. The FSCS of the United Kingdom has just published an update for FIXI plc, an online brokerage firm that went into liquidation on May 31, 2019.

The FSCS says it will be able to protect eligible applicants (individuals and small businesses) whose money has not been paid. So, the organization made this decision because of the type of investment and how authority holds it. The Scheme can cover the shortfalls of eligible customers whose claims are valid up to a maximum of £ 85,000.

Criteria to Claim Compensation from the FSCS

Notably, clients could claim compensation with FSCS if they meet all the following criteria:

  • The financial services company with which any client did business failed and cannot repay his/her money itself (the company is “in default”). In the case of FIXI, the company was declared in default on August 30, 2019.
  • The FCA or PRA has authorized the company under the FSMA to carry on regulated activities at the time any client did business with it.
  • The company owes any client a civil liability. They are in connection with a regulated activity covered by FSCS (e.g., advice on designated investments).
  • The client has suffered a real financial loss as a result. Clients are private individuals (although some businesses and charities may be eligible, depending on the type of claim).
  • The FSCS is working with the liquidators to put in place a process for returning funds. And it hopes to be able to start returning money very soon.

Read More: Malta Regulator Warns about Fake Bitcoin Future

About FIXI

Since its inception in 2005, FIXI has been an online brokerage. It is providing trading platforms to professional, institutional and retail clients. They can access the FX, CFDs and financial spread betting.

On December 20, 2018, FIXI voluntarily agreed to have its regulatory permissions varied (VREQ). Then, FIXI has decided not to carry out any regulated activity without the prior written consent of the FCA. Also, FCA notified FIXI to close all open trading positions. On May 1, 2019, a board of directors decided to put FIXI into liquidation.

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FCA extends brokers Brexit TRP deadline

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published updated information for brokers on the ramifications of Brexit in a no-deal scenario.

October 30, 2019, | AtoZ MarketsFollowing the agreement with  European Union (EU) leaders to offer the United Kingdom (UK) an extension on the date for the UK’s departure from the EU, the FCA is also extending the deadline for brokers to register for its Temporary Permissions Regime (TPR) until January 30, 2020.

FCA extends window for brokers applying to Brexit TPR

The City watchdog also states that brokers that wish to update their existing notification have until January 15, 2020.

Moreover, firms should continue to comply with existing regulatory requirements. This includes those relating to MiFID transaction reporting and EMIR trade reporting requirements. The arrangements described in the FCA’s announcement on October 11 are suspended and the FCA expects firms to continue to report as normal.

The TPR aims to mitigate potential risks of a ‘no-deal Brexit,’ where the passporting regime falls away abruptly. This scenario means that there will not be a transition period in place when the UK withdraws from the EU. For example, the UK will become a ‘third-country’ in relation to the bloc.

In this case, the TPR will come into force on exit day for a maximum of three years within which the EEA financial services firms operating in the UK. Furthermore, brokers marketing passported funds will be required to obtain authorization in the UK.

How the TPR will work

EEA-based firms that currently access the UK market through passporting licenses can do so by notifying the FCA of their wish to enter the temporary regime to continue their regulated activities within the scope of their current permissions. Thereafter, they will need then apply for a full authorization during the TPR period.

As more information emerges about what Brexit will mean for brokers, firms need to make sure they understand the implications and plan accordingly.  If firms are unsure of what to expect or what they need to do, they should visit the Brexit pages on the FCA website.

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Exness Closes Retail Operations in Europe

Exness has decided to close its retail operations in the EU / EEA, including the United Kingdom. The broker will now focus on other markets and develop its B2B business.

October 28, 2019, | AtoZ Markets – Exness is authorized in the EU through its two licenses granted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). According to the statement published today on the broker’s website, the company has decided to close its operations in the European Union and the European Economic Area, including the United Kingdom, to focus on its B2B offering.

AtoZMarkets team reached out to Exness to get some insights about the story. One of the Exness team members, Karidjatou Koulibaly, commented that “Exness is moving its operations from retail to Business to Business (B2B). The top management made the decision to provide B2B. In our case, we will offer B2B services to other brokers.”

Exness teamed up with Sumsub

Last month, the broker teamed up with Sumsub for fraud protection assistance and globally inclusive AML compliance.

Exness’s international coverage required an automated KYC solution suitable for use in multiple countries. So to achieve the necessary level of compliance and fight off growing identity fraud, the company has partnered with at Sumsub. It is a unique solution for all questions of compliance and user integration. The broker’s decision to focus more on the B2B sector is not a big surprise. The firm has already said earlier it wanted to focus more in that direction.

Previously Exness Planed into The B2B Business

Earlier this year, in August, the broker’s product manager Andrey Shamne revealed that Exness plans to expand into the B2B business. Until then, the company had focused on growing its retail customer base. He thought that time B2B is a natural step for any successful broker. They will probably focus first on Europe.

According to Andrey Shamne, this is the best way for them to grow into new markets. So if they want to enter an original jurisdiction, they may not know the market, the players, the payments provider, or how marketing works. It’s much easier to provide a white-label to someone who understands these things.

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XTB rejects charges of Trading Jam Session Foundation

Today, X-Trade Brokers or XTB countered the “asymmetric bias mechanism” problem and reject the charges brought forward by the Trading Jam Session Foundation or TJS.

October 25, 2019, | AtoZ Markets – For more than two years regulators in Poland have been investigating XTB’s asymmetric slippage. The Trading Jam Session Foundation (TJS), as a result of these investigations, has staged a protest outside of the FX broker’s buildings in Warsaw recently.

XTB rejects charges brought forward by TJS

In response, X-Trade Brokers (XTB) issued a statement rejecting the charges brought forward by TJS. The statement denies allegations that XTB directly benefited from an execution model. It is alleged that the model hands-on execution losses, allowing broker book to profit from positive movement.

Trading Jam’s allegations were not met well by XTB. Without directly addressing them XTB said that the people involved in spreading these rumors were expressing a one-sided story.

They said that the narrative was littered with half-truths that were designed to insight hostility towards XTB and its business partners. Further to this, they threatened legal action against any person or entity that continued to slander the company.

The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) has alleged that between January 2014 and May 2015 XTP practiced asymmetric pricing slippage. What this means is that XTO as the counterparty to client transactions would execute orders when slippage was favorable to them. Customers, on the other hand, were not receiving price improvement when orders were allowed at better than usual prices.

Heavy fine but Trading Jam still unhappy

The initial ruling was challenged by XTB saying that the allegations were brought to book more than a year after KNF’s guidelines were issued. According to them, asymmetrical execution of orders cause no damage to their clients and did not skew profits in favor of the company.

This has been confirmed by independent analyses. Regardless of XTB’s challenge, they were imposed a $2.5 million fine by the KNF. But Trading Jam is now demanding that the regulator make public the secret report held by the governing authority.

Further to this, they are insisting that KNF disclose how many people were directly affected by the alleged price slippage. Not content with only leveling allegations against XTB, Trading Jam has accused the regulatory authority as well. They are insistent that KNF is limiting a person’s ability to sue XTB for wrongful doing.

KNF addresses accusations

KNF’s public relations director Jacek Barszczewski defended the watchdog’s stance against XTB. The stressed that the KNF operates within the limits of the law and that it had adequately filled its obligations once an issue was identified.

When it comes to Trading Jam’s other allegations that are not permitted by law to comply with the demands of the organization. The appealed to Trading Jam to not mislead those who are interested in the rulings brought against XTB warning that it may endanger the legal interests of those affected.

Barszczewski also said that the rules do not allow for full disclosure of specific facts and that the KNF was obliged to withhold information in respect of professional secrecy laws. What this means is that Trading Jam’s claims have no legal foundation and gives the public the impression that KNF is willfully withholding information.

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