Limmasol-registered FXBFI Broker Financial Invest, which trades as ‘101investing' has been struck off from doing UK business by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority as set out in a supervisory notice issued on 10 May.
The FCA said it had received 39 complaints or expressions of concern since September 2020 about the activities of FXBFI, which has has a temporary permission under the TPR, providing consumers with the ability to trade CFDs using an online platform, accessible through its website,www.101investing.com.
These complaints increased infrequency in 2021, disclosing serious misconduct by FXBFI including the use of misleading financial promotions, failures to inform customers about the nature and risks of CFDs, applying pressure to invest additional funds and failing to allow customers to withdraw funds.
As a result of FXBFI's activities, "some customers have lost very significant sums of money".
The FCA said that the continuing provision of regulated activities by FXBFI to UK consumers presents unacceptable risks.
As a result, it "considers that it is desirable to impose requirements on FXBFI which prevent it from conducting regulated activities in respect of, and marketing its products to, UK consumers and ensures that the effect of these measures is brought to the attention of its current and potential future UK clients".
The FCA set out the following actions:
1) FXBFI must not conduct any regulated activities with, or in respect of, any client who is resident in the United Kingdom, except as is necessary to comply with requirements 3) and 4) below.
2) FXBFI must not conduct any marketing activity to persons resident in the United Kingdom.
3) By 3pm on 30 April 2021, in respect of all its clients who are resident in the United Kingdom, FXBFI must close all open trading positions and liquidate the positions into pound sterling balances (save for hedged positions which should be netted off rather than closed individually). Any positive cash balance held by a client resident in the United Kingdom must be paid to a bank or payment account held in the client's name as soon as practicable and, in any event, by 11 May 2021.
4) By 28 April 2021, FXBFI must notify all its clients who are resident in the United Kingdom by email that it is no longer able to provide investment services to them and will be taking all reasonable steps to return all balances held by FXBFI on their behalf.
5) By 29 April 2021, FXBFI must provide the Authority with a copy of the text used for the purposes of notifying clients under requirement 4) and a list of the email addresses to which such notifications were sent.
6) By 28 April 2021, FXBFI must display on all websites used by it in the course of providing regulated activities, including but not limited to www.fxbfi.com and www.101investing.com, a notice of such size and prominence that all viewers of the website will inevitably see and be able to read it, which states: "FXBFI Broker Financial Invest Ltd, trading as 101investing, is not permitted to provide regulated financial services to residents of the United Kingdom.".
7) By 28 April 2021, FXBFI must display on its trading platform, at the point when clients log into the trading platform, a notice of such size and prominence that all users seeking to log into the trading platform will inevitably see and be able to read it, which states: "FXBFI Broker Financial Invest Ltd, trading as 101investing, is not permitted to provide regulated financial services to residents of the United Kingdom.".
8) FXBFI must secure all books and records and preserve information and systems relating to regulated activities carried on by it, and must retain these in a form at a location, to be notified to the Authority in writing no later than 7 calendar days after the coming into force of these Requirements, such that they (or, so as not to hinder FXBFI's performance of its business activities, true copies of them) can be provided to the Authority, or to a person named by the Authority, promptly on its request.