Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) as part of its effort to effectively regulate the financial services sector in its jurisdiction and protect the local investing public, has compiled and regularly updates an Alert List, which is a list of entities that have come to the attention of the SFC because they are unlicensed in Hong Kong and are believed to be, or to have been, targeting Hong Kong investors or claim to have an association with Hong Kong.
Interested investors, who access the Alert List, can either search by name or by type to check whether an entity is already on the list. The SFC clarifies that this is not a comprehensive list and new names are coming to its attention all the time, which it adds on the list as they emerge. The Hong Kong regulator urges investors who have been contacted by an unlicensed firm, to provide the Commission with information on their dealings with that firm by completing the on-line reporting form.
Moreover, the SFC points out that the information contained on the Alert List is provided as an early warning service to investors but is not a substitute for investors conducting their own due diligence by checking up on a particular entity.
One of the latest additions to the SFC’s Alert List pertains to an entity under the name FX Protrade, which offers a variety of Forex services via the website www.fxprotrade.com. The company, which is unlicensed to provide its services in Hong Kong and to Hong Kong investors, claims to have an address in the UK.
According to the SFC’s remarks, FX Protrade is apparently associated with 5Markets Ltd, another unlicensed company which is already on the Alert List. It uses a Hong Kong bank account in the name of Markets Technologies Limited for settlement.
The SFC also notes in the relevant warning that unlicensed entities often use names similar to legitimate companies aiming to confuse investors.