Active Trader
Feb 24, 2009
Some interesting news from the FXCM camp...

“Regulation Fear Rises as FXCM-CFTC Bang Heads”

$17,014 may not be a large amount of money, but fears are growing that a dispute involving retail FX broker FXCM and the US Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) over just that amount may have repercussions for the wider FX market.

FXCM has been accused by a client, Robert Dickten, of “arbitrarily setting prices without any correlation to the prevailing spot prices on the interbank market; setting arbitrary and unreasonably wide bid-ask spreads; arbitrarily "spiking" prices to trigger stop orders and margin calls; and filling market orders that routinely suffered from substantial and unjustifiable slippage.”

The CFTC has fined FXCM $2,425 having found it guilty of “defrauding” the client during the initial solicitation for his business although other charges were dropped. Dickten told the CFTC that he continued to trade with FXCM in spite of growing doubts over the firm’s practices in order to gather sufficient evidence for a complaint.

Market sources tell Squawkbox that disputes between liquidity providers and clients in the retail space are “nothing new” but there is an acceptance that allegations by Dickten that FXCM’s platform arbitrarily quoted spreads of “double and triple-digits”, do the industry no good.

Banking sources spoken to by Squawkbox agree that spreads on the bank platforms – which FXCM uses on occasions to lay off risk – went to double digits during the height of the credit crunch, but apart from markets that are already quoted on a wide basis – typically emerging markets – at no time did spreads hit three digits.

The CFTC states that: “Dickten has established that FXCM's website misrepresented and omitted various material facts. FXCM's claim that customer funds were "safe" because FXCM was "regulated" distorted the fact that forex dealers are lightly regulated. Thus, the funds of forex customers are not legally required to be subject to segregation and may be subject to claims by the creditors of a forex dealer. FXCM's guarantee that trading was slippage-free was deceptive because forex dealers such as FXCM have not proven the capability, during inevitable volatile market conditions, to consistently fill stop and limit orders at or near the stop or limit price.

“More importantly, FXCM's website did not clearly disclose the conflct that arose from the fact that FXCM made money on the mark-up or pip-spread on trades, and did not clearly disclose the size of the mark-up or its detrimental effect on profitability,” the CFTC adds. “Finally, the disclosures in FXCM's account-opening package were sufficiently weak and misleading that they failed to correct the website deceptions. FXCM's disclosures similarly failed to cure the misleading nature of the trading forex with FXCM, because the contest featured narrower bid-ask spreads than those imposed by FXCM. The recklessness of FXCM's various misrepresentations and omissions was underscored by their blatantly baseless and deceptive nature.”

There is a degree of disquiet in the foreign exchange industry over the case because FXCM is questioning the authority of the CFTC to pass judgement. The firm says that as the trades in question are spot OTC deals they are outside of the CFTC’s jurisdiction – a claim the CFTC refutes. Should the CFTC succeed in establishing its jurisdiction in this case, industry sources believe that the wider foreign exchange market is one step closer to regulation.

“We have seen the lines blur between retail and wholesale over the past couple of years,” says a banking source. “If the authorities can establish themselves as a regulator of the OTC retail FX market – as opposed to the FCMs which are futures shops – the market may face a choice. Accept it is only a matter of time before the wholesale market is subject to the same oversight, or establish definable barriers between retail and wholesale FX markets.”


Active Trader
Feb 25, 2009
They are running a Clarification peice this week.

The story above running in Profit-Loss magazine reported on a reparations case between Robert Dickten and FXCM. Unfortunately, the reporter did not give FXCM an opportunity to comment resulting in a story which is one sided and misleading. The case revolves around trading activity in a single account which occurred in 2005. There have been major developments in both FXCM’s business model as mentioned above and the regulatory environment for retail forex trading since then

Below is the clarification that Profit-Loss magazine is running in this weeks online edition.

FXCM: A Clarification
Mon 23rd Feb 2009

Last week, Squawkbox reported on an issue between retail FX provider FXCM and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). We have been asked by FXCM to clarify some of the points made in the article.

The CFTC was not a party to the Dickten case, it provided an adjudicatory forum in which the customer could present his claim. The CFTC never initiated any formal enforcement action against FXCM in connection with the Dickten matter and “never found FXCM in violation of any statute or regulations,” FXCM says.

FXCM has been registered with the CFTC since 2001 and the firm says that it is incorrect to state that it was challenging the CFTC’s authority. It has also asked Squawkbox to point out that since 2007 it has been implementing a “no-dealing desk”, which directly offsets every trade from a customer with a major bank or financial institution.

We are happy to provide this clarification.

If there are any additional questions I can be contacted at jsales@fxcm.com


Nov 15, 2013
I'm interested to trade with fxcm because he seems to be one of the best in forex with etoro.
So, what's the point, few years after?
I heard that this broker is right now regulated by the NFA and CFTC. Does anybody have to report any trouble with this broker?
Outside of this story with cftc, fxcm seems to be trustable? Isn’t it?

“Every man lives by exchanging.” Adam Smith


Aug 22, 2013
The truth I get scared quite often...for one thing I should assume that regulated brokers are more transparent than their offshore counterparts but over time, I think I should change that "lame" belief. These days, I get to see licensed brokers (which are supposed to be icons of transparency) being sanctioned regularly for scam. Just the other time, CFTC threw a $6m charge at this broker. But this is just one of these ugly situations of regulated brokers' dishonesty. I am beginning to see tactful reasons to go offshore. What do you think?