Broker Complaints

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Interactive Brokers (UK) Limited – Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures Summary

1. Policy Statement

IBUK takes customer complaints very seriously and strives to:

  • Investigate each complaint competently, diligently and impartially;
  • Assess each complaint fairly, consistently and promptly with respect to subject matter, whether it should be upheld and what remedial action or redress may be appropriate;
  • Offer redress or remedial action when appropriate;
  • Explain to the complainant promptly and, in a way that is fair, clear and not misleading, its assessment of the complaint, its decision on it and any offer of remedial action or redress; and
  • Comply promptly with any offer of remedial action or redress accepted by the complainant.

IBUK will endeavour to resolve all complaints within four weeks and to keep complainants periodically updated on the progress of their complaints.

2. How Customers Can Make a Complaint

Customers are actively encouraged to use the WebTicket system for prompt attention. However, customers may file a complaint by the following methods:

  • By creation of a Webticket in Account Management.
    This is the recommended method by which to create a complaint. Tickets are processed faster than emails and are also more secure.
  • Email sent to:
    Please note that in order to ensure that your complaint is flagged and given the required attention, we kindly ask you to state “COMPLAINT” in the subject header field of the email.
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
  • By Letter, addressed to:
    Complaints Handling,
    Compliance Department
    Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited
    Level 20, Heron Tower
    110 Bishopsgate
    London EC2N 4AY
    United Kingdom
  • By Fax to:
    Interactive Brokers (UK) Limited on 0044 207 796 4735.
  • By Calling IBUK Customer Service using the telephone numbers provided on the IBUK website.
    Please note that this method is discouraged as in most cases we will need specific details in order to investigate your complaint. Whilst you can lodge your complaint via phone, we will need you to provide follow-up details by one of the methods described above.

3. What happens with your complaint after IBUK has received it?

Upon receipt, your complaint will be forwarded to relevant staff who will investigate and assess your complaint diligently, fairly and promptly. Once your complaint has been received by IBUK, we will acknowledge receipt of your complaint by email. The email will provide you with information on how our complaints process works, contact details etc. In most cases, the investigation is concluded in less than four weeks but it sometimes happens that the investigation takes longer than that. We will keep you updated on the progress of your complaint and communicate with you in accordance with the FSA’s rules on dispute resolution. Once our investigation has been completed you will be sent a final response with our findings and the outcome of your complaint.

4. If you are still not satisfied

Should you remain dissatisfied with our final response, you have the right to have your complaint reviewed independently by the UK Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”). You can contact them using the below details:

The Financial Ombudsman Service
Exchange Tower
London E14 9SR

Tel: 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Please note that the FOS can only consider your complaint if:

  • We have sent you a final response with which you remain dissatisfied; and
  • You refer the complaint to the FOS within six months of the date of our final response to you.

For additional information about the FOS, please visit their website: http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Interactive Brokers ®, IB SM , InteractiveBrokers.com ®, Interactive Analytics ®, IB Options Analytics SM , IB SmartRouting SM , PortfolioAnalyst ®, IB Trader Workstation SM and One World, One Account SM are service marks and/or trademarks of Interactive Brokers LLC. Supporting documentation for any claims and statistical information will be provided upon request. Any trading symbols displayed are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to portray recommendations.

The risk of loss in online trading of stocks, options, futures, forex, foreign equities, and fixed Income can be substantial.

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How to complain against a broker

When you make a deposit of real money to a Forex broker’s account for trading purposes, you are putting your faith in their integrity. It is because of this that one of the most asked questions is, ‘How to choose a Forex broker?’. After being in the Forex trading industry for years, I’ve heard tales of terror on Forex broker reviews websites about traders who woke up to find their accounts stopped out when they had no trades before going to sleep. Or others who found a chunk of their capital withdrawn without their consent.

All this has happened, happens and may happen to anyone in the future, including myself, which is why I sought to find out what recourse these faulted traders may have had. Granted, I was only looking out for my own selfish interests when I first ploughed through Forex regulations, but it hurts when I see another trader complain about being defrauded by their broker every other day. So, I put together 4 simple steps on how a trader who feels wronged can try and recover their hard-earned money:

1. Confirm any suspicions from your end

The first step is to confirm that you have actually been wronged by the broker, after all, you wouldn’t want to look like an ignorant fool. This means going through your account statements as far back as you can and check every transaction on your account. It helps if you kept a physical ledger, but you don’t need to have one these days. All Forex trading platforms will have a ‘History’ section which shows all the transactions from your account. Most of them will also allow you to export the list of transactions to a webpage (html) or document (pdf) format.

Carefully go through all your transactions and identify the ones you find suspicious and mark them. It might not be easy if you perform numerous transactions in a day, such as in the case of a scalper, but there’s a simple way to tell any suspicious transactions apart. Most traders will usually perform similar transactions, either in the time they hold the trade before closing or the size of the lot traded; a suspicious trade will quickly become obvious. Say, you never trade more than 0.5 lots, and you find one or more trades with 1 or more lots. You would remember if you made such a variation, but if you don’t, then highlight that particular trade.

At this stage, you’re simply preparing for the battle ahead, and Sun Tzu said “Every battle is won before it is even fought”. Any sign of ignorance on your part will lead to your complaint being quickly dismissed and only gives the broker more ammo to attack you with. So, take your time and make sure you have an actual, verifiable complaint.

The ‘verifiable’ part is actually the most important, and this is what leads to many traders being defrauded by their brokers. For example, it is easy to verify that you didn’t withdraw or transfer some money from your account because your payment system like Skrill, Neteller or even a bank account statement can corroborate this by providing supportive documents. On the other hand, it is very difficult to prove that you didn’t authorize a particular trade because the markets are open 24 hours a day and ‘I was asleep at the time!’ cannot be a valid reason. It’s best, therefore, to find some other form of verifiable proof.

2. Contact your brokerage firm

When you have your complaint prepared, contact your Forex brokerage firm on their website. The best Forex broker will have a ‘Live chat’ option through which you can contact one of their representatives at any time by sending instant messages. Be very precise about your complaint and provide any documents you have to support your claim.

Some of these ‘suspicious’ transactions are actual mistakes made by the broker’s system, and most Forex brokers will accept responsibility and make the necessary adjustments to your account. Things aren’t always so easy, though, and there are other brokers who may have actually defrauded you knowingly. If you have the facts on your side, you will notice the representative faltering in their replies by maybe claiming you are either making it up, delaying in their responses or another kind of excuse.

Sure, even the ethical broker may require some time to confirm from their side that the documents you produced are authentic, but a fraudulent broker will become obvious by the length of their delays. Remember, these brokerage firms have entire teams of employees to check the information, and delays only show some reluctance on their part.

If your complaint has not been attended to in a few days, and you keep getting the run-around from the representatives on the live chat, kick it up a notch by calling them. Every broker’s website will have a ‘Contact Us’ page where they list the phone numbers and email addresses of their managers and compliance departments. Make the call and send that email, again with all the necessary documents you have, and if that doesn’t work, send them physical mail to their address. If the broker is located in the same geographical location you are, then march to their offices yourself, or visit a satellite branch of the firm. Keep a record of any physical correspondence you send and receive from the broker as this will be important if they still fail to correct their mistake.

3. Contact the broker’s financial regulator

Every Forex broker must be registered and licensed to operate by the region’s financial regulator. Part of the reason for this is to look into such complains and determine who is at fault then attempt to find a resolution between you and the broker. This process is known as arbitration.

The regulator will differ based on the location of the broker, and different regulatory bodies are in charge in different locations, for example:

If you’re not sure about your broker’s regulator, we have provided a quick link here.

You can contact the responsible financial regulator over the phone or through email, both of which will be found on their respective websites. Remember to send the documents that prove your case as well. After you do this, then the outcome is out of your hands, and you will have to wait and see where the case leads.

You also have to be patient, since these arbitration processes tend to take a long time. The regulators do not have a direct stake in the case, and to them it might not be a high priority, so they will take their time.

The most renowned Forex regulators are the FCA in the UK and the SEC in the US which have a history of being very ruthless with unscrupulous brokers. For the security of your money, check out our FCA regulated Forex brokers list for some of the most reputable brokers in the world.

4. Consult a lawyer

For a small account holder, this might not be prudent since the lawyer might cost more than your entire trading capital. However, if you have been defrauded of a huge amount of money, then getting advice from a lawyer specializing in securities may be your best course of action. Not only will they provide guidance, but they might even speed up the arbitration process and land you a settlement quickly.

What you can expect to get

Unfortunately, Forex regulators do not require that the broker offer any compensation in all cases. However, if you manage to prove damages, then you might be eligible to compensation, on top of the restoration of your account balance. The brokers know this is a possibility, and they will often restore your account as soon as they realize you are onto them and have the documents to prove this. As a trader, you are likely to accept this resolution and move on, and only the most brazen traders will take their complaints to the very end.

The fact is, it all comes down to what you want – your money back or to punish the broker. If you intend to punish the broker, then you must be prepared for a long battle. Most Forex brokers are huge companies with plenty of capital to hire the best lawyers to clog up the legal system and drag the case for years in court. Believe me, you don’t want to be in a battle with them; take your money, any compensation provided and run without looking back – you got what you wanted.

If you want to know just how difficult it is to get your money back or even be compensated, just look at some of the most high-profile cases of fraud like the Bernie Madoff scandal. To this day, investors in his company have still not been fully compensated or reimbursed of their investments.

In short, if you’re dealing with a dishonest broker, then, chances are you are going to be screwed even if you have all the facts on your side. Still, it never hurts to put up a fight, and sometimes you must make some noise in order to be heard.

Prevention is better than arbitration

It’s much easier to prevent such cases than to fight them, which is why choosing a Forex broker is perhaps the most important step to becoming a successful trader. If you have the right broker on your side, then you can be more confident your money is safe in their hands.

To see how forex regulators help clients complain against their broker, watch this video:

Broker Complaints �Get over it!

I am breaking one of my New Year�s resolutions to not spend time and post anything on a bulletin board. After a lousy day in the market I decided to see what�s going on at �the factory� and all I see is whining and crying over how brokers are screwing their clients. This will be considered a rant by many but I�ll feel better when it�s over. You may not have the same experience. For the record I have no financial affiliation with any broker. I have 2 accounts with very large brokers.

I feel slightly qualified to speak on the subject because I was a professional market maker in the spot physical electricity market (like Enron but less evil) and the electronic electricity futures market.

Electricity, like any other commodity can be volatile at times. As a market maker I had a right and an obligation to both show a bid/ask and to protect and grow my company�s assets. In times of volatility I absolutely raised the spread to reflect the market uncertainty and discourage potential traders from doing business with me. If they were desperate and needed the power then I would pass on the risk associated with increased volatility to them and not me. A wide spread that turns your stomach is your broker sending you a subtle message that he is currently not interested in your business. If you choose to trade anyway and then badmouth your broker on Forex Factory then you are mentally challenged and should seek another form of entertainment.

Tight, variable spreads are all the rage now. Somehow many have overlooked the �variable� part. I hear it all the time from the people I trade with. �You paid 4 pips for the Pound, are you nuts? I can get in for 2 pips.� Yes, I do pay 4 pips for the Pound and I pay it whenever I want to trade day or night news or no news. Tight spreads work well in quiet markets. But, here�s the rub, we all seek volatility and movement and that is exactly when your broker widens the spread.

News trading died about 2 years ago when brokers stopped guaranteeing their stoplosses. They were losing their shirts by upholding their promise. One by one they all folded and sent letters to their clients saying that they could no longer stay financially solvent by honoring prices that did not exist. I personally know several �big time� traders, one of whom many of you hold in high regards, that haven�t traded successfully since those days of guaranteed price fills and free money. While I don�t want to defend brokers, they are in this business for the same reason you are; to make money and feed their families. I think they have every right to do so.

If you are trading Forex for the thrill of a quick score on an unpredictable news event you would be better off going to casino where you can at least get a free drink. News trading looks amazing on paper but as you will soon find out, it rarely matches up with reality. My personal trading vastly improved when I stopped looking at the econ calendar altogether. That�s right, I never, ever look at the calendar. I trade my technical signals and if I�m in front of a release and it goes my way then I have a good day. If not, I�m stopped out and that happens all the time in real life trading.

You can call my broker(s) a �bucket shop� if you want. I don�t care who takes the other side of my trade as long as I am on the side my system told me to be on. Brokers manage their inventory by taking the other side of your trade and by various hedging techniques. They deal with larger entities as necessary to maintain their own VAR (Value At Risk). I can�t help but smile every time someone falsely believes that their broker passed on their mini-lot trade to the mysterious and undefined �Interbank� where they receive a fair price. If you think JP Morgan or Deutsche Bank has time to put aside their billion dollar trading operations to take the other side of your trade then again, you�re mentally challenged. Your variable spread broker passes your mini-lot to a �liquidity provider� and he takes the other side of your position long before it gets to the banks. And, guess what? He buckets all of your little trades together! All you have effectively done is add another middle man to the process. Trust me, everyone is getting a piece of your pie and the more fingers there are in the pie, the bigger the pie has to be to feed everyone.

Maybe brokers are evil but let�s face the cold hard facts. If you want to trade Forex, you need a broker. No one forces you to participate in this market. You and you alone make the decision to buy or sell. When you lose it is your fault, not that of your broker. They only make the game possible, you chose to play. I learned this lesson the hard way years ago in the stock options market: I thought the floor traders were out to get me. The sooner you focus internally on the matters of discipline, risk, position sizing and lastly, a decent system the sooner you�ll become a successful trader and the less time you�ll have to gripe about your broker and spending learning systems with names like �firebird� and �phoenix�.

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