We’ve seen numerous inquiries over the last couple of years by government departments looking into the world of forex trading, and this past weekend saw the United States Department of Justice open up its own probe to include two additional banks, and those are Barclays and UBS.
Forex is an increasingly popular investment option for investors of all levels these days, and some may argue that current rules and regulations are struggling to keep up, which is one of the reasons we so often see these investigations. It’s not that the investors or smaller brokers that deal with investors, such as ThinkForex, that are doing anything wrong; it’s almost always been major banks either misleading or miss-selling products.
That is exactly the same case this time round, as the Department of Justice has reason to believe that both Barclays and UBS have been selling a variety of structured products without making it clear how much they were making on each of the forex trades. In this case, these products were not small-market; there’s reason to believe some major Swiss hedge funds bought into the products, and they may well have been the ones to alert the authorities that something was amiss.
To the day trader, these kinds of investigations probably don’t appear all that important, but there is of course an interesting question to be raised – who is your broker’s broker? Many of these major banks are enabling the smaller brokers that you might be used to dealing with day-to-day, and they’re not invulnerable to knock-on effects. At the beginning of the year, we say major brokers including Alpari UK and LQD Markets go bust because they lost their liquidity. The situation isn’t exactly the same, but it certainly is worth bearing in mind.
As already mentioned, this isn’t exactly a new investigation. Several other banks are already under scrutiny by the Department, all with the same charge of simply not disclosing the relevant information properly to their clients involved in the forex markets.
In the coming days, we’re likely to see more information coming out, but at this stage we’re mostly in the dark in regard to specifics. The Financial Times first broke the news story on Sunday, but since then there has been no comment made by the Department of Justice, or indeed Barclays or UBS.