Australian regulator cancels AFS license of Direct FX

Maria Nikolova

The regulatory decision follows the temporary suspension of the firm’s AFS license in April this year.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken even harsher action against retail OTC derivative issuer Direct FX Trading Pty Ltd following the temporary suspension of the firm’s AFS license in April this year.

Earlier today, ASIC said it had cancelled the Australian financial services (AFS) licence of Direct FX Trading Pty Ltd (AFS licence 305539) due to what the regulator dubbed as “serious and continued compliance failures”.

ASIC has found that Direct FX:

  • failed to comply with client money reporting rules requiring the company to provide to ASIC daily and monthly reconciliations of client money held by Direct FX;
  • continued to carry on a financial services business while suspended (refer: 18-126MR) by continuing to allow clients to enter into trades;
  • failed to comply with its Net Tangible Asset (NTA) requirements provided in Class Order 12/752, including not having sufficient cash and cash equivalents to comply with its obligations. Specifically, Direct FX continued to enter into transactions when its NTA was less than 75% of the required NTA of $1 million in breach of its obligations;
  • did not maintain the competence required to provide the financial services covered by its AFS licence by failing to replace key persons named on its licence;
  • did not fully understand its obligations as an AFS licensee and cannot be relied upon to discharge the duties and obligations imposed by the financial services laws on a licensed provider of financial services;
  • resources were not sufficient to enable Direct FX to provide financial services efficiency, honestly and fairly given the possible magnitude of its financial services business and the risks associated with the trading of derivatives; and
  • failed to comply with an ASIC s912C(3) Direction to give ASIC an audit report about Direct FX’s compliance with various financial licence conditions.

In line with previous warnings, ASIC says the cancellation will affect the financial services provided by Direct FX’s authorised representative, Core Liquidity Markets Pty Ltd, to the extent that they are provided under authorisations granted under Direct FX’s licence.

In order to minimise the impact of the cancellation on its past and current clients, Direct FX will be required to maintain its membership of an external dispute resolution scheme and adequate professional indemnity Insurance until April 30, 2019.

ASIC says that Direct FX was placed into external administration and a liquidator appointed, by the Supreme Court of NSW on October 11, 2018, after the cancellation of the AFSL which was effective on October 8, 2018.

Direct FX has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC’s decision.

ASIC notes that its action relates to the Australian-registered AFS licence holder Direct FX Trading Pty Ltd (AFSL 305539) and not a New-Zealand registered entity, Direct FX Ltd, which also holds an AFS licence in Australia (AFSL 291471).

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