CFTC fines FXCM and its Founding Partners for Defrauding Retail Forex Customers. FXCM to Deregister.

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Breaking news from the CFTC about FXCM...


RELEASE: pr7528-17

February 6, 2017

CFTC Orders Forex Capital Markets, LLC (FXCM), Its Parent Company, FXCM Holdings, LLC and FXCM’s Founding Partners, Dror Niv and William Ahdout, to Pay a $7 Million Penalty for FXCM’s Defrauding of Retail Forex Customers

FXCM, Niv, and Ahdout are Prohibited from Registering with the CFTC, Acting in Exempt Capacities or Acting as Principals, Agents, Officers or Employees of Registrants

CFTC’s Order also holds FXCM, Niv, and FXCM Holdings responsible for FXCM’s False Statements to the National Futures Association


Washington, DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today issued an Order filing and settling charges against Forex Capital Markets, LLC (FXCM) , its parent company, FXCM Holdings, LLC (FXCM Holdings), and two founding partners, Dror (“Drew”) Niv, and William Ahdout, who were, respectively, Chief Executive Officer of FXCM and Managing Director of FXCM, (collectively, Respondents). FXCM’s principal place of business is New York, New York; Niv resides in Connecticut; and Ahdout resides in New York.

The CFTC Order finds that, between September 4, 2009 though at least 2014 (the Relevant Period), FXCM engaged in false and misleading solicitations of FXCM’s retail foreign exchange (forex) customers by concealing its relationship with its most important market maker and by misrepresenting that its “No Dealing Desk” platform had no conflicts of interest with its customers. The Order finds FXCM, FXCM Holdings, and Niv responsible for FXCM making false statements to the National Futures Association (NFA) about its relationship with the market maker.

The Order requires Respondents jointly and severally to pay a $7 million civil monetary penalty and to cease and desist from further violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC Regulations, as charged. FXCM, Niv, and Ahdout agree to withdraw from CFTC registration; never to seek to register with the CFTC; and never to act in any capacity requiring registration or exemption from registration, or act as a principal, agent, officer, or employee of any person that is registered, required to be registered, or exempted from registration with the CFTC.

“The CFTC Is Committed to Protecting Customers from Harm in the Markets It Regulates”

“Full and truthful disclosure to customers and honest discourse with self-regulatory organizations such as NFA are vital to the integrity and oversight of our markets,” said Gretchen L. Lowe, Principal Deputy Director and Chief Counsel of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement. “Today’s action’s demonstrates that the CFTC is committed to protecting customers from harm in the markets it regulates.”

FXCM is registered with the CFTC as a Futures Commission Merchant and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer. FXCM has been providing retail customers with access to over-the-counter forex markets through a proprietary technology platform and has acted as counterparty in transactions with its retail customers in which customers can buy one currency and simultaneously sell another. Both Niv and Ahdout were CFTC registrants during the relevant period.

FXCM, under Niv’s and Ahdout’s direction and control, misrepresented to its retail forex customers that when they traded forex on FXCM’s No Dealing Desk platform, FXCM would have no conflict of interest, the Order finds. In addition, according to FXCM’s marketing campaign, retail customers’ profits or losses would have no impact on FXCM’s bottom line, because FXCM’s role in the customers’ trades was merely that of a credit intermediary, the Order finds. FXCM further represented that the risk would be borne by banks and other independent “market makers” that provided liquidity to the platform, according to the Order.

FXCM’s Undisclosed Interest

Contrary to these representations, the Order finds, FXCM had an undisclosed interest in the market maker that consistently “won” the largest share of FXCM’s trading volume – and thus was taking positions opposite FXCM’s retail customers. FXCM, the Order finds, formulated a plan in 2009 to create an algorithmic trading system, using an FXCM computer program that could make markets to FXCM’s customers, and thereby either replace or compete with the independent market makers on FXCM’s “No Dealing Desk” platform. Although FXCM eventually spun off the algorithmic trading system as a new company, in actuality the company remained closely aligned with FXCM, according to the Order. This market maker received special trading privileges, benefitted from a no-interest loan provided by FXCM, worked out of FXCM’s offices, and used FXCM employees to conduct its business, the Order further finds.

The Order finds that FXCM and the market maker agreed that the market maker would rebate to FXCM approximately 70 percent of its revenue from trading on FXCM’s retail forex platform. In total, through monthly payments from 2010 through 2014, the company rebated to FXCM approximately $77 million of the revenue it achieved. However, FXCM did not disclose to customers, among other things, that this company – FXCM’s principal market maker – was a startup firm spun off from FXCM, the Order further finds.

False Statements to the NFA

The Order also finds that FXCM willfully made false statements to NFA in order to conceal FXCM’s role in the creation of its principal market maker as well as the fact that the market maker’s owner had been an FXCM employee and managing director. The Order finds that during a meeting between NFA compliance staff and FXCM executives, Niv omitted to mention to NFA the details of FXCM’s relationship with the market maker.

The Order holds Niv and Ahdout liable for FXCM’s fraud violations as “controlling persons” who were responsible, directly or indirectly, for FXCM’s violations. Niv is also held liable for FXCM’s false statements to NFA as a controlling person who was responsible directly or indirectly for those violations. FXCM Holdings is held liable for FXCM’s fraud and false statement violations as principal of FXCM, the Order also finds.

The CFTC thanks NFA for its assistance in this matter.

CFTC Division of Enforcement staff members responsible for this action are Christopher Giglio, Patrick Daly, David C. Newman, Xavier Romeu-Matta, K. Brent Tomer, Lenel Hickson, Jr., and Manal M. Sultan.


Original Press Release at the CFTC
 

Jason Rogers

FXCM Representative
Hi Everyone,

Below is the statement we posted on the FXCM website.


FXCM US Reaches Settlement with NFA and CFTC
FXCM to Exit the U.S.
Sells Accounts to GAIN
FXCM to Pay down Loan

NEW YORK, February 6, 2017-- FXCM Inc. (NASDAQ:FXCM) (“FXCM”) today announced simultaneous regulatory settlements with the National Futures Association ("NFA") and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) against its U.S. subsidiary, Forex Capital Markets LLC and certain of its principals. FXCM Holdings, LLC was also named in the CFTC settlement. The named FXCM entities and principals neither admit nor deny the allegations associated with the settlements. The NFA settlement has no monetary fine, and the CFTC settlement has a $7 million fine.

FXCM will be withdrawing from business in the U.S. and has signed a non-binding letter of intent with GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (“GAIN”) under which GAIN would purchase FXCM’s U.S. customer accounts. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and a definitive agreement. FXCM and GAIN are working to determine the timing for the account transfer and expect to provide further information in that regard in the coming days. In 2016, FXCM’s U.S. business had unaudited net revenues of approximately $48 million and generated an EBITDA loss, but the costs associated with the business will not be transferring to GAIN. There will be no changes to FXCM customers outside of the United States.

Withdrawing from this business will free approximately $52 million in capital. Proceeds from the account sale and the release of capital will go toward the further repaying of FXCM’s loan from Leucadia National Corporation.

FXCM will for the interim period continue to service its U.S. customers and to provide top quality trade execution pending the customer-account sale and business withdrawal. FXCM will also be working diligently to be sure that an account transition to GAIN’s retail brand, FOREX.com, will be orderly, expeditious and seamless. FXCM wants to express its most sincere thanks to those U.S. customers who have been with FXCM over the years and wish you all the best of luck following this transition.

FXCM wants to stress that these settlements have no impact on any customer of FXCM’s global businesses. FXCM and its global subsidiaries will continue to provide excellent execution and competitive pricing to its customers overseas through its award-winning technology, customer service and trading tools.

Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

In addition to historical information, this release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and/or the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which reflect FXCM's current views with respect to, among other things, its operations and financial performance in the future. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts and are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about FXCM's industry, business plans, management's beliefs and certain assumptions made by management, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and beyond our control. Accordingly, readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict including, without limitation, risks associated with FXCM’s plans to shut down its US subsidiary and a potential sale of its US customer accounts, risks associated with FXCM’s strategy to focus on its operations outside the United States, risks associated with the events that took place in the currency markets on January 15, 2015 and their impact on FXCM's capital structure, risks associated with FXCM's ability to recover all or a portion of any capital losses, risks relating to the ability of FXCM to satisfy the terms and conditions of or make payments pursuant to the terms of the finance agreements with Leucadia, as well as risks associated with FXCM’s obligations under its other financing agreements, risks related to FXCM's dependence on FX market makers, market conditions, risks associated with FXCM’s litigation with the National Futures Association or any other potential litigation or regulatory inquiries to which FXCM may become subject, risks associated with potential reputational damage to FXCM resulting from FXCM’s plans to shut down its US subsidiary, and those other risks described under "Risk Factors" in FXCM Inc.'s Annual Report on Form 10-K, FXCM Inc.'s latest Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and other reports or documents FXCM files with, or furnishes to, the SEC from time to time, which are accessible on the SEC website at sec.gov. This information should also be read in conjunction with FXCM's Consolidated Financial Statements and the Notes thereto contained in FXCM's Annual Report on Form 10-K, FXCM Inc.'s latest Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and in other reports or documents FXCM files with, or furnishes to, the SEC from time to time, which are accessible on the SEC website at sec.gov.

These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this release and in our SEC filings. FXCM Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.

About FXCM Inc.

FXCM Inc. (NASDAQ:FXCM) is a publicly traded company which owns 50.1% of FXCM Group, LLC (FXCM Group).

FXCM Group is a holding company of Forex Capital Markets LLC, (FXCM US), Forex Capital Markets Limited, inclusive of all EU branches (FXCM UK), FXCM Australia Pty. Limited, (FXCM AU), and all affiliates of aforementioned firms, or other firms under the FXCM group of companies [collectively "FXCM"]. FXCM Group is owned and operated by FXCM Inc. (NASDAQ:FXCM) and Leucadia National Corporation (NYSE:LUK). Leucadia National Corporation is a multi-billion dollar diversified holding company engaged through its consolidated subsidiaries in a variety of businesses.

FXCM is a leading provider of online foreign exchange (FX) trading, CFD trading, spread betting and related services. The company's mission is to provide global traders with access to the world's largest and most liquid market by offering innovative trading tools, hiring excellent trading educators, meeting strict financial standards and striving for the best online trading experience in the market. Clients have the advantage of mobile trading, one-click order execution and trading from real-time charts. In addition, FXCM offers educational courses on FX trading and provides trading tools proprietary data and premium resources. FXCM Pro provides retail brokers, small hedge funds and emerging market banks access to wholesale execution and liquidity, while providing high and medium frequency funds access to prime brokerage services via FXCM Prime.

Trading foreign exchange and CFDs on margin carries a high level of risk, which may result in losses that could exceed your deposits, therefore may not be suitable for all investors.


Jaclyn Sales, 646-432-2463

Vice-President, Corporate Communications

jsales@fxcm.com

investorrelations@fxcm.com
 

mbreitfelder

2nd Lieutenant
Awesome news!! Two big ones down, 1,000+ to go, but to get BDB and FXCM to fall in the USA are great wins for Americans. Hopefully they will have to disgorge not only scammed capital but also the money that people "won". This could very well be the end of them as well and they will fold and give everyone's money back. A guy can dream, right?
 

Pharaoh

Colonel
Wow! I'm an ECN/STP broker which passes trades on to external LPs - except the biggest LP is under the same ownership and sits inside the same office.

I have to say I find this to be bitterly disappointing. Too bad the CFTC didn't send Drew and William off to spend a couple years in Club Fed, followed by a public caning.
 

paulm1162

Sergeant
Hi Everyone,

Below is the statement we posted on the FXCM website.


FXCM US Reaches Settlement with NFA and CFTC
FXCM to Exit the U.S.
Sells Accounts to GAIN
FXCM to Pay down Loan

NEW YORK, February 6, 2017-- FXCM Inc. (NASDAQ:FXCM) (“FXCM”) today announced simultaneous regulatory settlements with the National Futures Association ("NFA") and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) against its U.S. subsidiary, Forex Capital Markets LLC and certain of its principals. FXCM Holdings, LLC was also named in the CFTC settlement. The named FXCM entities and principals neither admit nor deny the allegations associated with the settlements. The NFA settlement has no monetary fine, and the CFTC settlement has a $7 million fine.

FXCM will be withdrawing from business in the U.S. and has signed a non-binding letter of intent with GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (“GAIN”) under which GAIN would purchase FXCM’s U.S. customer accounts. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and a definitive agreement. FXCM and GAIN are working to determine the timing for the account transfer and expect to provide further information in that regard in the coming days. In 2016, FXCM’s U.S. business had unaudited net revenues of approximately $48 million and generated an EBITDA loss, but the costs associated with the business will not be transferring to GAIN. There will be no changes to FXCM customers outside of the United States.

Withdrawing from this business will free approximately $52 million in capital. Proceeds from the account sale and the release of capital will go toward the further repaying of FXCM’s loan from Leucadia National Corporation.

FXCM will for the interim period continue to service its U.S. customers and to provide top quality trade execution pending the customer-account sale and business withdrawal. FXCM will also be working diligently to be sure that an account transition to GAIN’s retail brand, FOREX.com, will be orderly, expeditious and seamless. FXCM wants to express its most sincere thanks to those U.S. customers who have been with FXCM over the years and wish you all the best of luck following this transition.

FXCM wants to stress that these settlements have no impact on any customer of FXCM’s global businesses. FXCM and its global subsidiaries will continue to provide excellent execution and competitive pricing to its customers overseas through its award-winning technology, customer service and trading tools.

Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

In addition to historical information, this release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and/or the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which reflect FXCM's current views with respect to, among other things, its operations and financial performance in the future. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts and are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about FXCM's industry, business plans, management's beliefs and certain assumptions made by management, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and beyond our control. Accordingly, readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict including, without limitation, risks associated with FXCM’s plans to shut down its US subsidiary and a potential sale of its US customer accounts, risks associated with FXCM’s strategy to focus on its operations outside the United States, risks associated with the events that took place in the currency markets on January 15, 2015 and their impact on FXCM's capital structure, risks associated with FXCM's ability to recover all or a portion of any capital losses, risks relating to the ability of FXCM to satisfy the terms and conditions of or make payments pursuant to the terms of the finance agreements with Leucadia, as well as risks associated with FXCM’s obligations under its other financing agreements, risks related to FXCM's dependence on FX market makers, market conditions, risks associated with FXCM’s litigation with the National Futures Association or any other potential litigation or regulatory inquiries to which FXCM may become subject, risks associated with potential reputational damage to FXCM resulting from FXCM’s plans to shut down its US subsidiary, and those other risks described under "Risk Factors" in FXCM Inc.'s Annual Report on Form 10-K, FXCM Inc.'s latest Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and other reports or documents FXCM files with, or furnishes to, the SEC from time to time, which are accessible on the SEC website at sec.gov. This information should also be read in conjunction with FXCM's Consolidated Financial Statements and the Notes thereto contained in FXCM's Annual Report on Form 10-K, FXCM Inc.'s latest Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and in other reports or documents FXCM files with, or furnishes to, the SEC from time to time, which are accessible on the SEC website at sec.gov.

These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this release and in our SEC filings. FXCM Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.

About FXCM Inc.

FXCM Inc. (NASDAQ:FXCM) is a publicly traded company which owns 50.1% of FXCM Group, LLC (FXCM Group).

FXCM Group is a holding company of Forex Capital Markets LLC, (FXCM US), Forex Capital Markets Limited, inclusive of all EU branches (FXCM UK), FXCM Australia Pty. Limited, (FXCM AU), and all affiliates of aforementioned firms, or other firms under the FXCM group of companies [collectively "FXCM"]. FXCM Group is owned and operated by FXCM Inc. (NASDAQ:FXCM) and Leucadia National Corporation (NYSE:LUK). Leucadia National Corporation is a multi-billion dollar diversified holding company engaged through its consolidated subsidiaries in a variety of businesses.

FXCM is a leading provider of online foreign exchange (FX) trading, CFD trading, spread betting and related services. The company's mission is to provide global traders with access to the world's largest and most liquid market by offering innovative trading tools, hiring excellent trading educators, meeting strict financial standards and striving for the best online trading experience in the market. Clients have the advantage of mobile trading, one-click order execution and trading from real-time charts. In addition, FXCM offers educational courses on FX trading and provides trading tools proprietary data and premium resources. FXCM Pro provides retail brokers, small hedge funds and emerging market banks access to wholesale execution and liquidity, while providing high and medium frequency funds access to prime brokerage services via FXCM Prime.

Trading foreign exchange and CFDs on margin carries a high level of risk, which may result in losses that could exceed your deposits, therefore may not be suitable for all investors.


Jaclyn Sales, 646-432-2463

Vice-President, Corporate Communications

jsales@fxcm.com

investorrelations@fxcm.com
Whatever happened to the idea of sending lawyers who write this stuff to English school to learn common sense language.
Alas whilst the CFTC slap FXCM, the individuals affected still remain losers in all this and only the CFTC win $7000,000.
 
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