We investigate in great detail how misleading and fantasy-filled advertisement is being allowed to prevail, and document the bizarre response of the broker concerned when approached. Facebook and Google create hardship for the good guys, yet those with a track record of shapeshifting continue
Q: Where does this food originate from? A: Switzerland. Not.
The recent decision by Google and Facebook, driven by the authorities in North America, may well have been instigated with good intentions but the result of it is that good quality companies with three decades of good customer service and a loyal domestic market client base have now got to experience the bureaucratic rigmarole of justifying their differences from the indignant by going through approval processes before being allowed to advertise on vital advertising networks.
The disingenuous methods by which companies which have already demonstrated a track record of attempting to bamboozle potential clients has taken a further step this week as BDSWISS, a company that is neither a ‘Banc’ (sic) or Swiss, claims that it is the “No 1 regulated broker in Germany.”
BDSWISS is neither Swiss, nor is it German, and the chances are it is not “No 1 regulated broker” either.
FinanceFeeds has investigated this today by contacting BDSWISS to ask them how they quantify making such an audacious claim, and the response was equally banal.
Speaking to BDSWISS and asking what criteria was used in order to position BDSWISS as the number one regulated broker in Germany, FinanceFeeds was provided with the answer “We do not state that on our website, would you kindly inform where you read that statement?”
On this basis, it appears that the customer-facing personnel at BDSWISS that we spoke to denied this statement ever having been made. We then showed them the exact advertisement, to which the response was “This advertisement is a third party. Is it on our official BDSWISS website? No. Therefore the third party website is advertising our company.”
The mind boggles as to why a completely unrelated third party would advertise an unrelated company. Perhaps we were all born yesterday.
FinanceFeeds then showed BDSWISS the advertisement and the link which it directs to when a user clicks on it, showing that it directs to BDSWISS official website and has a tracking link so that BDSWISS marketing department can monitor how many clicks and leads are generated from that specific advertisement. Clearly, when bearing this in mind, plus the absolute clarity that the advertisement is presented using BDSWISS branding and alludes to the broker having gained such a widly fictitious accolade, it is not genuine to simply claim that a third party placed the advertisement and deny its existence or relevance.
Bearing in mind that this advertisement is prevalent across several retail FX specific websites, FinanceFeeds pointed out that most of these use DoubleClick for Publishers which is Google’s advertisement serving system, hence it must have been deliberately targeted across those sites by the firm itself, otherwise it would not occupy fixed banner positions on specific sites.
The conversation between FinanceFeeds and BDSWISS continued, and when presented with the tracking link, the BDSWISS representative explained that she would “look into this matter.”
The company, whilst authorized by CySec to provide financial products to a German client base due to its Europe-wide regulatory passporting entitlement, the firm is not German, either. FinanceFeeds research over a long period of time has deduced that the market in Germany is dominated by British CFD giants such as IG Group and CMC, the nation making up around 25% of each company’s total retail business (the remainder being predominantly domestic market British clients, and a large Australian presence too).
This recent advert by BDSWISS is a shape-shifting tactic that runs right through the firm’s branding ethos, including the name itself.
BDSWISS is regulated by CySec and is a firm that was established in Limassol as a binary options white label. It has as much in common with Switzerland as Gruyere has with Haloumi, and the firm’s abuse of the Swiss name has been the subject of a call to CySec by FinanceFeeds to ask the regulator why it allows the misuse of the Swiss name and Swiss flag when granting licenses to CIFs.
In January 2017, FinanceFeeds reported on the irony that manifested itself in CySec’s acceptance of a 150,000 Euro settlement from retail binary options brokerage BDSWISS, which has now branched into CFDs and FX for having not complied with the rulings relating to fair, clear and non-misleading marketing communications.
Claiming to be Swiss was not on this particular complaint, and the settlement has clearly not prevented the firm from continuing to generate advertising campaigns that make outlandish claims such as the most recent one stating that the firm is the “No 1 regulated broker in Germany.”
At the time, FinanceFeeds asked CySec to explain exactly what these transgressions consisted of, and in what specific areas BDSWISS issued misleading marketing communications, however no reply was proffered, despite their having proactively contacted FinanceFeeds to explain that there had been a fine issued for that particular reason.
We must at this point state explicitly and unambiguously that at that time, the statements made in our report were based not on any material directly provided to us by BDSWISS, but instead on our own observations.
It may well come down to the responsibility of organizations that are external to financial services to put a stop to this kind of behavior, as was the case in the complaint against FxPro’s television advertisement having been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority in Britain in May last year, on which FinanceFeeds reported.
BDSWISS may well have had to write a check for 150,000 Euros to settle an arbitrary matter relating to some of their perhaps less than carefully considered marketing techniques, but the company has been allowed to register itself, and gain a license, and promote its services to a global audience whilst calling itself BDSWISS and using the Swiss flag (a brand in itself) as a company motif, and if that is not misleading, then who knows what is!
As pointed out at the time, Banc de Swiss is a vague attempt to appear Swiss, and an even more vague attempt at the use (or misuse) of the French language. BDSWISS is neither Swiss, nor is its moniker correct in French.
There is no such expression, nor spelling as Banc de Swiss, the correct French being ‘Banque Suisse d’options binaires’, however no such entity would exist, as Swiss banks, holding licenses from FINMA, do not provide OTC binary options trading facilities as a sole business activity.
A similar format has been used by Banc de Binary for several years, the same error in spelling being present, as well as in the case of BDSWISS, the similar grammatical misuse is accompanied by an equally similar geographical discrepancy as the company is located in Cyprus and has absolutely no connection to Switzerland despite its use of the Swiss flag, itself a brand, in its logo.
FinanceFeeds subsequently followed this matter up with CySec, having directly contacted CySec Chair Demetra Kalogerou and pointing this out categorically, however no response was proffered. We also contacted FTI Consulting, a large, multinational management consultancy which handles CySec’s public relations for an appropriate answer, however no response was forthcoming.
Furthermore, upon being contacted by BDSWISS in an attempt to bolster this bravado, the firm stated that it does have Swiss standing. This is not possible, as the Swiss banking regulations require that all Swiss electronic trading companies have ringfenced proprietary trading systems which are hosted within the premises of the brokerage, on Swiss territory and are fully licensed only by FINMA, the Swiss banking regulatory authority.
It is gauche and distasteful enough to select infra dignitatem nomenclature for a retail brokerage, however willfully projecting a completely misleading image with the intention of wrongly associating a very well recognized region or status with something which bears absolutely no resemblance to it or has no connection with it is far more serious.
BDSWISS is not regulated by FINMA, instead being a CySec regulated entity, with its registered head office in Cyprus, using off the shelf platforms and not a ringfenced proprietary trading system, none of which is hosted in Switzerland or overseen by the Swiss banking authorities.
Quite simply, the misleading rhetoric on advertisements such as this are exactly the reason why Facebook and Google are making blanket decisions to block everyone, including reputable firms, hence diatribe that resembles the waste product that emanates from the rear end of the male of the bovine species must be stopped, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to protect ourselves from it being flung across our pastures like a Massey Ferguson towing a spreader.
Here is our interview with a Swiss compliance officer on the illegalities of using the Swiss name and flag without permission or presence in Switzerland.