The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) issued on Monday, through its consumer service website Money Smart, a warning notice against binary options broker Urbanix Ltd., trading as Secured Options, as the entity provides financial services in Australia without being authorized.
The regulator warned the broker could be involved in a scam and Australian citizens should not deal with it.
Secured Options presents through its website, www.securedoptions.com, a web-based platform for trading in a wide range of binary options, including one-touch, 60 second and long-term options to up to a year. It offers five different trading accounts – Standard, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, which differ by the amount of initial deposit and the return on investment. The minimum required deposit starts from $250 for Standard accounts and reaches $50,000 for Platinum accounts (for Diamond accounts traders need to contact a manager to determine the account conditions). The payout rate is up to 89% for Diamond accounts and a maximum 83% for all others.
The broker is based in Bulgaria and provides no information regarding licensing.
In binary options trading, investors guess whether the price of a certain instrument would go upwards or downwards within a pre-determined time frame. Once the time is up, the option is deemed expired and the bet is settled. Depending on the outcome, a trader either collects a profit, or loses money. Due to its high-risk nature, binary options trading is not allowed in some legislation, while in others it is strictly regulated.
In Australia, financial investment companies, including forex and binary options brokers, are not allowed to operate without a local license. The regulator maintains a register with all authorized entities and regularly issues warnings against unauthorized entities.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported in mid-September the combined amount Australian investors have lost to binary options scams from the beginning of 2016 until that moment amounted to $3.0 million. However, the amount is supposedly higher, since in reality most people rarely report when they have been scammed.
When engaging with unauthorized and non-regulated brokers, traders are putting their investments at higher risk. We strongly advise you to only deal with regulated forex brokers, authorized by reputable regulatory bodies like CySec, FCA, and CFTC/NFA, among others.