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FCA Warning About Unauthorised Trading Platform Handelex

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The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a warning about an online trading platform called Handelex, which is targeting people in the UK.

What is an FCA warning?

The Government backed City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) maintains a warning list to help people identify firms and individuals that aren’t allowed to offer, promote or sell financial products or services in the UK.

Handelex was added to the list in June 2023.

Handelex is an online trading platform, offering investors access to a range of different asset types, including Stocks (shares in companies like Netflix, Disney or McDonald’s), Cryptocurrency, Forex (foreign exchange trading), Indices (for example, the Dow Jones or FTSE) and Commodities (like natural gas and precious metals).

The asset types on offer and the way in which they are offered may not be suitable for inexperienced investors. The Handelex website is keen to highlight that it offers educational courses in investing, its money withdrawal process is fast and easy, and the website is highly secure. However, the small print in the website footer should serve as a cautionary reminder for would-be investors:

“Trading in leveraged financial instruments, such as Forward Rate Agreements, Contracts for Difference (CFDs) or cryptocurrencies carry [sic] a high level of risk, including the risk of losing your entire invested capital, and may not be suitable for all investors. The high leverage and volatility of such instruments can work against you as well as for you. Before you decide to trade, you should carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience and risk appetite. We do not, and will not, take into account your personal circumstances, nor provide any recommendation for you to make any trade. Wherever in doubt, you should consult and receive advice from independent experts, including legal, tax and financial advisors.”

Even though the FCA has not authorised Handelex to trade in the UK, it is targeting people here. There are a number of investment ‘red flags’ that potential investors should be aware of when considering Cryptocurrency investments or Forex trading.

The Handelex website lists only very basic contact information – a generic email address and telephone numbers in the UK, Australia and Canada. There is no indication that it has a physical presence in the UK or who is behind the company, nor does it highlight that it is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority!

Before making any investment decisions, it is important to carry out due diligence, including:

  • Look at as many online reviews as possible.
  • Consult the FCA website – and check if the firm you are thinking of investing with is on the Financial Services Register
  • Check out the Action Fraud website to learn more about fraud tactics and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
  • Take independent financial advice from a trusted, regulated adviser, who will review your personal circumstances, attitude to risk and investment objectives.

Sarah Spruce, Legal Director and Head of the Professional Negligence Department, says:

“We have already begun receiving enquiries about Handelex from investors who have lost money. The FCA website is clear that, as Handelex is not authorised in the UK, their customers will not be able to take any complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) if the firm goes out of business.

However, all is not lost, if you or a loved one have lost out financially, it may be possible to make a complaint to your bank if you believe they have been negligent in keeping your money safe. I would urge you to get in touch with my team and talk through your case. Our expert team can explore all the options with you.”

FOS is an independent, government-backed body that has been sorting out disputes between UK financial businesses and their customers for over 20 years. The FSCS is a lifeboat scheme set up by the Government to step in and pay compensation when a UK-based bank, building society or credit union fails.

TLW Solicitors has an experienced team that deals with Bank Negligence cases on a daily basis, submitting claims to banks who have failed in their duty of care to protect customers from fraud. We offer a free, no-obligation assessment of your case and will make a decision on whether or not to pursue your claim. If we take on your case, we work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

Get in touch by calling us on 0800 169 5925, emailing info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or completing one of the forms below.

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