March 7, 2012
Federal Court in Illinois Orders Windsor Brokers, Ltd. of Cyprus to Pay $140,000 Civil Monetary Penalty, Cease Soliciting U.S. Customers, and Modify Website
Action part of CFTC’s nationwide sweep against foreign currency firms for failure to register under the 2008 Farm Bill, the Dodd-Frank Act, and CFTC regulations
Washington DC – The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) obtained a federal court consent order requiring Windsor Brokers, Ltd. (Windsor), of Limassol, Cyprus, to pay a $140,000 civil monetary penalty to settle CFTC charges. Windsor unlawfully solicited U.S. customers to engage in foreign currency (forex) transactions and operated as a Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (RFED) without being registered with the CFTC (see CFTC Press Release 6108-11, September 8, 2011).
The consent order, entered on March 6, 2012, by Judge Elaine E. Bucklo of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, permanently bars Windsor from engaging in any conduct that violates the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and CFTC regulations, as charged. The order also directs Windsor to prominently display a notice on its website that Windsor does not provide services for U.S. customers.
In the forex market, RFEDs and some registered commodity futures brokers may buy forex contracts from, or sell forex contracts to, individual investors who do not possess sufficient net worth to qualify as eligible contract participants (ECPs). These firms are required to register with the CFTC and abide by rules and regulations designed for investor protection, including those relating to minimum capital requirements, recordkeeping, and compliance.
Specifically, the order finds that beginning on October 18, 2010, and continuing until November 30, 2011, Windsor solicited orders from low net worth (non-ECPs) U.S. customers to open leveraged forex trading accounts through its website. The order finds that Windsor acted as an RFED by offering to be, and acting as, a counterparty buying and selling forex contracts with U.S. customers without being registered as an RFED. According to the order, Windsor liquidated all of its U.S. customers’ accounts, and no U.S. customers have any open accounts at Windsor.
The CFTC appreciates the assistance of Germany’s Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufscicht (BaFin) and the Securities and Exchange Commission for the Republic of Cyprus (CySEC).
CFTC Division of Enforcement staff responsible for this case are Susan B. Padove, Elizabeth M. Streit, Joy McCormack, Scott R. Williamson, Rosemary Hollinger, and Richard B. Wagner.
CFTC customer protection information for retail forex customers
The CFTC strongly urges the public to check whether a company is registered before investing funds. If a company is not registered, an investor should be wary of providing funds to that company. A company’s registration status can be found on the National Futures Association’s website at http://www.nfa.futures.org/basicnet.
Before investing money in the forex market, the CFTC also strongly urges members of the public to review the CFTC’s forex consumer protection advisories listed below.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Last Updated: November 14, 2012