IG Group hires Max Hayden as new Global Head of Institutional Sales

IG Group logo

UK online trading leader IG Group Holdings plc has announced the appointment of Max Hayden as Global Head of Institutional Sales. With the help of Mr. Hayden the company expects to further strengthen its institutional business as part of its wider strategic investment for growth. 

Mr. Hayden is based at IG’s offices in London and reports to Fouad Bajjali, CEO of IG Bank SA, who leads IG’s global institutional business.

Mr. Hayden has a quite impressive portfolio with over 30 years of experience in the prime brokerage field. For the last 2 years, he has been a CEO at ITI Capital, a private equity-owned brokerage. Prior to that, he has served as a Managing Director at a Russian-based specialist broker BCS Global Markets. He also spent a big part of his career working at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he has taken mostly senior management positions and was responsible for the International Prime Brokerage product.

CEO of IG Bank SA and head of IG’s global institutional business, Fouad Bajjali has commented on the appointment: “Max has a proven track record of client focus and helping to develop businesses. His appointment demonstrates our clear commitment to grow and build our institutional business, which is a key growth opportunity within IG’s wider strategy of achieving a 30% increase in revenue by FY22. Max will manage a growing global team with a focus on the UK, Switzerland, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Asia-Pacific and will address the specific needs of hedge funds and family offices.”

Max Hayden has also commented on his new role: “I am delighted to join IG Group, which has such a strong brand and reputation and a clear focus on growing its offering for institutional clients. I look forward to building relationships and providing new opportunities for new and existing institutional clients.”

You can read our full review for one of the IG Group firms, IG Markets

IX Social App makes Trading Accessible to Everyone

Internet adoption has more than doubled globally since 2010, however, the majority of countries with lower rates of internet access are in Africa, according to the World Economic Forum. In Ghana specifically, DataReportal’s figures in January 2020 claim that while internet penetration sat at 48% of the population, mobile connections in the country stood equivalent to 130% of the population.

As such, in a bid to make trading accessible to everyone, INFINOX Capital, a leading CFD trading broker with international presence and market expertise, has recently launched it’s IX Social mobile app.

Referring to PwC’s Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020-2024 report, Jay Mawji, Managing Director at INFINOX Capital, says that smartphone internet access is on the rise as more and more consumers are capable of accessing the internet on their mobile devices. “Considering that this is the largest singular contributing device to consumer data usage, brokers should be looking to technology to ensure that trading is accessible to traders anywhere and at any time, and this means putting the power of trading in the palm of their hands.”

“IX Social provides clients with the interactive functionality to social trade, see what other traders are doing, and follow and engage with them,” he explains. “Trading can be a lonely place, and the method of social trading allows clients to connect with other successful and profitable traders, and almost emulate their trading style and strategies. Further, once following a certain trader, clients have the ability to have notifications sent to them each time the trader they follow actions a trade.”

Mawji attributes IX Social’s functionality to that of social media platforms such as Instagram, where it allows clients to ‘like’ certain trades of the traders they follow, even going so far as to comment on them and to converse about why a specific trade was chosen. Apart from merely trading on the app, IX Social also incorporates community group functionalities, where traders can create sub-communities to share information, create an education portal, or even trade as friends. Further, it allows clients to share their trades and the knowledge as to why they were chosen.

This lends to the idea of the app not only making trading accessible, but bridging the education gap and providing potential traders with the knowledge to make informed decisions in future trades. While education in trading is usually learnt over time, the idea behind social trading is being a way to fast track the often lengthy process.

Although there are other apps of its kind on the market, what separates IX Social from its competitors is twofold – the first being a more social element than others, as well as the physical presence of the brokerage behind the app.

“While INFINOX Capital is a large organisation with global representation, we still maintain that we operate as a small organisation, with the ability to converse with INFINOX Capital employees anytime,” notes Mawji. “We understand that any financial transaction involves client’s money, and by putting a face to an otherwise faceless industry builds both trust, confidence, and support.”

INFINOX Capital vets providers that use the app, ensuring that they meet certain criteria before they can offer strategies or share trade ideas with users. This adds an element of security in knowing that the providers that users are communicating and interacting with are in fact real, have integrity, and knowledgeable trading brokers. Furthermore, influencing providers that meet certain criteria also have the ability to be paid a retainer based on their following, engagement and successful quality trading advice offered to others.

With the global landscape being thrust to adopt digital means, the time is rife for the trading industry to follow suit. And with IX Social, the time for potential traders to reap the rewards of trading is now.

CySEC withdraws the authorisation of Centralspot Trading Ltd

Regulator CySEC

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission announces that the authorisation of the Cyprus Investment Firm Centralspot Trading Ltd is suspended in whole, as there are suspicions of an alleged violation of the Regulated Markets Law. The company operates the broker under the trading name Opteck. If you want to have a safe trade we recommend you trade with TriumphFX which is considered safe under its CySEC entity.

The above decision was reached as the aforementioned alleged violation may cause concern and risk relating to the protection of the firm’s clients and constitute a threat to the orderly operation and integrity of the market.

Within fifteen days, Centralspot Trading Ltd has to take actions in order to comply with the aforementioned provisions. During the suspension period, the company is not allowed to provide/carry out investment services/activities, enter into any business transaction with any person and accept any new client, advertise itself as a provider of investment services. 

The company provided this is consistent with the wishes of its existing clients, may proceed with completing all its own transactions and those of its clients which are before it, in accordance with client instructions, as well as, returning all funds and financial instruments which are attributable to its clients.

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, better known as CySEC, is the financial regulatory agency of Cyprus. It supervises and controls the operation of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, grants operation licenses to investment firms, including investment consultants, brokerage firms, and brokers, impose administrative sanctions and disciplinary penalties. You can read the detailed article about the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission here.

CySEC has reached a settlement with FxNet company

Regulator CySEC

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has announced that it has reached a settlement with Cyprus Investment Firm FXNET Ltd

The settlement reached with the company, for the possible violations of The Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law, is for the amount of €60.000. The Company has paid the amount of €60.000.

FxNet (Read FxNet review by link) is an STP forex broker, regulated by the CySEC as well as the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC).

FxNet logo

According to the regulator’s official notice, the company was not able to comply with the several sections of the law, including the one, concerning the provision of investment services referred to its operating license. 

Also, FxNet has failed to comply with the Section 28 (1) of the Law, according to which the Cyprus Investment Firm Services (CIF) must comply with all conditions throughout its operation licensing, meaning organizational requirements.

One more reason the company has been penalized is the Section 36 (1) (a) of the Law, regarding professional ethics obligations when providing investment and ancillary services to clients.

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission( known as CySEC), is the financial regulatory authority of Cyprus. It supervises and controls the operation of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, grants operation licenses to investment firms, including investment consultants, brokerage firms, and brokers, impose administrative sanctions and disciplinary penalties. You can read the detailed article about the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission here.

BaFin maintains prohibition of binary options for retail clients in Germany

BaFin Regulator

The marketing, distribution, and sale of binary options to retail clients will remain prohibited in Germany. This is set out in a general administrative act issued by BaFin in response to the expiry of the product intervention measure imposed by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

In particular, BaFin sees risks and thus considerable investor protection concerns in that binary options are complex and lack transparency, especially with regard to the calculation of their performance and the underlying. Unlike other financial instruments, binary options are not traded on a market where prices result from supply and demand. Instead, it is the provider who determines the price, and clients are not in a position to understand it or check its accuracy. 

As binary options typically are extremely short-term instruments, it is difficult for retail investors to accurately assess the risk-return profile. Moreover, binary options providers usually act as the direct counterparty to their clients’ trades. This places the provider’s interests in direct conflict with those of its investors. For instance, there is a risk that providers will manipulate the price of the underlying at the expiry of the binary option or change the term of the binary option by seconds or milliseconds so as to avoid having to pay out on the option contract.

The marketing, distribution and sale of binary options to retail clients have so far been prohibited in the European Union due to a temporary measure imposed by ESMA. This measure expires on 1 July 2019. BaFin’s general administrative act is published on the BaFin website and will be applicable from 2 July 2019.

CySEC reforms Investor Compensation Fund to enhance investor protection

Regulator CySEC

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) is changing its approach to the compensation of investors. On 13th of March, the Cyprus financial watchdog introduced the final set of reforms to the legal framework governing the operation of the Investor Compensation Fund (ICF). The updated rules reflect the more stringent approach of the Cypriot regulator, as it tries to find solutions in response to the loss of customer funds observed in recent years.

The obligation to participate in the ICF applies to all investment services and to ancillary custody services irrespective of whether clients’ funds and financial instruments are held.

Changes made by the regulator will take effect immediately, with all CIFs required to fulfill the following mandatory provisions. To cover the administrative and operational expenses of the ICF, the new directive introduces annual fees of 700 euros for firms owning clients’ assets and 100 euros per year for members who do not have acceptable means.

It is reported that CySEC will remove any provisions in relation to limiting or refunding the contributions of the members that will be paid to the ICF pursuant to the New ICF Directive. Also, the regulator will not limit potential extraordinary contributions by an ICF member in the event of an adverse scenario which requires the ICF to fund compensation due to investors, should the necessary requirements be met.

CySEC changed the maximum compensation for valid claims from the current 100% with a maximum of 20,000 euros so that it constitutes either 90% of the total covered claims or 20,000 euros, whichever is lower.

CySEC chairman Demetra Kalogeru has commented on the new rules: “The upgraded regulatory framework governing the Investor Compensation Fund provides for a balanced, proportionate and risk-based approach to determining the level of contributions required by member firms. The robustness of the ICF is fundamental to maintaining investor confidence, and ultimately investor protection. Our thorough consultation and resulting changes will help ensure it is a well-funded and resilient mechanism to support the compensation of eligible investors in the event of last-resort market failure.”

WTI Benchmark Falling: Oil at an Important Crossroad

WTI Benchmark Falling Chart

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark has been falling recently, and the price dipped below the psychological 100 USD threshold. Can the short-term bearish trend continue?

To bring price stability to the oil market, the IEA has promised to infuse an additional 60 million barrels of oil into the global supply from its strategic oil stocks for the next two months. The additional supply from the IEA will strengthen the release of 180 million barrels by US President Joe Biden out of their Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), announced a few weeks ago.

Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns in China have led to a decline in demand from China, the world’s largest importer of oil, likely helping WTI oil decline to double digits again.

In other news, The European Union (EU) is holding a high-level dialogue meeting with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Monday, as the EU is looking at ways to step up sanctions against Russia, including an oil embargo.

However, Europe is split on an immediate oil embargo, with the EU’s most significant economy. Germany, currently unwilling to go for it, saying an oil ban would plunge Germany and Europe into a deep recession. So, is the EU sanctioning themselves, or what is the plan here?

Technically speaking, oil is now testing March lows near the 94.50 USD level. We might see a quick decline toward 90 USD if the price drops below it. In case peace is restored between Ukraine and Russia, the WTI benchmark can drop further toward the 200-day moving average, near 81.50 USD (the green line).

Alternatively, if bulls defend the mentioned support, we might see a quick return to 100 USD. If oil jumps above that resistance, further gains toward 105 USD seem likely.

ASIC bans former Kaz Capital adviser for six years

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has just announced the imposition of a six-year ban on David Stephen Cornford, a former adviser at Kaz Capital Pty Ltd. Mr. Cornford was employed as an adviser at Kaz Capital Pty Ltd between 2014 and 2017.

The Australian regulator is concerned that Mr Cornford bought and sold listed securities on clients’ accounts without the authorisation to do so; and traded Contracts for Difference (CFDs) in a personal capacity, in a manner that conflicted with the interests of his clients.

ASIC found that Mr Cornford had taken part in transactions that had, or were likely to have, the effect of creating or maintaining an artificial price for trading in shares; and did acts that had, or were likely to have, the effect of creating, or causing the creation of, a false or misleading appearance with respect to the market for, or the price for trading in, shares. He had also provided  a financial service when the Australian financial services licence of Kaz Capital, where Mr Cornford was employed at the time, did not cover the provision of the service.

On 16 January 2019, ASIC imposed licence conditions on Kaz Capital following concerns about the adequacy and effectiveness of its compliance framework. The conditions require Kaz Capital to appoint an independent expert to review the effectiveness of its implementation of recommendations for remediation made by another external consultant. The independent expert will report to both ASIC and Kaz in June 2019.

SFC has released consultation conclusions on amendments to the PI Rules

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) today released consultation conclusions on proposed amendments to the Securities and Futures (Professional Investor) Rules (PI Rules). These amendments are meant to standardise the rules for prescribing professional investors.

The consultation paper was issued on 1st of March 2017 and was proposing the the number of amendments to the Securities and Futures (Professional Investor) Rules (PI Rules) which align to include the changes the SFC has previously granted under the Securities and Futures Ordinance (SFO).

The amendments to the PI Rules (Revised PI Rules) are allowing portfolios held in joint accounts with persons other than associates and investment corporations owned by an individuals to count towards meeting the monetary threshold to qualify as professional investors. Also the amendments are expanding the corporations as professional investors and allowing the other forms of evidence to demonstrate qualification as professional investors.

A total of 17 written submissions from market representatives were received by the SFC during the period of consultation. Most of the respondents were positive about the changes and proposals mentioned in the amendments. Although, some of the respondents suggested that the SFC should loosen the other rules and criteria. Considering all the comments, the SFC made a decision to count the proposals as appropriate for the Hong Kong market. The amended PI Rules will come into force on 13 July 2018.