How NFA Regulation Helps In Cementing Investor Trust In Forex Brokers
NFA, or the National Futures Association, is a US-based regulatory authority that oversees the operation and conduct of market participants that include Forex brokers, financial companies, fund managers, investors and other financial entities. NFA is the primary regulatory body in the US that is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the US capital markets through constant surveillance and monitoring of various financial activities. NFA also ensures that all firms registered under the NFA adhere to the most stringent regulatory protocols for protecting the investor against all types of financial crimes, fraud, and malpractice.
Why Are NFA Forex Brokers Considered To Be Highly Reliable?
The US has enforced several rules and guidelines to prevent all instances of investor abuse, which were quite rampant during the early part of the past decade. Due to improper regulatory directives, millions of investors lost billions of dollars to scam brokers, which resulted in the Forex market earning a bad reputation among most international financial markets. The modern NFA reforms are aimed at increasing market transparency and protecting an investor’s assets, thereby rendering complete safety against financial abuse. In fact, NFA is considered to be at the pinnacle of regulatory oversight and members are expected to adhere to the several strict conditions enforced by the US authorities. Here are a few regulatory guidelines that make NFA regulated brokers highly preferred by a majority of investors in the Forex market:
1. NFA regulation requires all member firms to hold their clients’ funds in segregated accounts, and should not use these assets towards covering the company’s operational costs or any other expenses.
2. All NFA regulated Forex brokers are required to hold at least $20,000,000 as their operating capital so as to ensure that the broker is capable of managing its client’s position in the interbank FX market. Comparatively, European regulatory agencies only stipulate a minimum of $1,000,000 in operating capital.
3. A significant amount of operating capital for NFA Forex brokers also ensures that a broker can meet multiple withdrawal requests from clients or compensate for any market volatility without accessing customer funds. A large number of non-regulated Forex brokers file for bankruptcy due to being unable to raise the funds required for any market eventuality. In this regard, NFA brokers are considered to be far more stable than non-regulated brokers or the ones regulated by other lesser-known regulatory agencies.
4. NFA directs every regulated member firm to submit weekly financial reports with detailed information on the account balances, the cost of operations, accurate representation of clients’ assets, and other financial data. The information provided is referenced with third party auditors to ensure the accuracy of the facts represented in these audit reports. Every broker should also submit annual audit reports in addition to the weekly updates.
5. The process of obtaining an NFA license is incredibly tedious and cost-intensive. A broker has to go through multiple regulatory procedures to achieve an NFA membership, which is too time-consuming and expensive for smaller players. Therefore, smaller brokers tend to base their operations out of countries with low-cost alternatives.
6. NFA regulated brokers should maintain a professional and friendly attitude towards all clients, and in the case of consumer complaints, it is the responsibility of the broker to initiate a quick resolution. If the dispute between a broker and a trader remain unresolved, either party may approach the NFA for mediation and arbitration. If everything else fails, the consumer can initiate legal proceedings against the broker.
7. The NFA severely punishes illegal activities and financial misdeeds through hefty fines, sanctions, and even through temporary or permanent bans.
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Can Brokers Operate In The US Without NFA Regulation?
Up until 2010, NFA regulation was not a prerequisite for operating in the US. However, with an increasing number of trader complaints and the far-reaching consequences of financial malpractice from dishonest brokers, the US Government was forced to intervene and rein in companies that did not have a verified presence in the US. At present, only NFA regulated brokers are authorized to cater to traders in the US, and it is illegal for US citizens to deposit money for trading with any international FX broker. On the contrary, US residents who are not a citizen of the United States may open an account at any international broker, and can make deposits or perform trading activities through any international broker.
With the amount of regulatory oversight carried out by NFA regulation, traders can indeed enjoy a safe and secure trading environment. However, there are exceptions to the overall reliability of NFA brokers, as there have been countless instances where NFA regulated Forex brokers have indulged in malicious activities. The best thing about NFA is that they manage to find out a majority of such financial crimes, and slap heavy penalties on the miscreants to ensure that any other company does not attempt the repeat of the same in the future.
How Do I Find Whether A Broker Is NFA Regulated?
NFA provides an extensive online resource where one can find out all the desired information about a regulated NFA member firm. The official NFA website has all information related to the background of the company, its headquarters, key people, and all information that can help traders to make an informed choice. Of course, brokers also display their NFA regulatory status prominently on their website and usually provide a registered ID, which can then be used to track the status on the official NFA website.
NFA is also proactive when it comes to informing investors about the potential scams and broker alerts in case they suspect of any fraudulent dealings. NFA is quick to denounce any membership if an NFA regulated firm is consistently found to deal in sub-par Forex offerings. NFA serves as a benchmark for a majority of regulatory authorities from around the world and continues to be the most preferred authority for investors across the globe.