A Hull resident that turned a £1,000 loan into a millionaire lifestyle has spoken out having been listed on a warning list of businesses supplying financial services without authorisation. Luke Blackburn, who lives in Brough, is a self-made millionaire from trading the foreign exchange (forex) markets online.
He left school eight years ago with no more than four GCSEs to his name, but took to the forex markets and the rigours of trading like a duck to water. In recent years, he has operated an active social media account, displaying his luxurious lifestyle consisting of expensive holidays and high-end supercars. Within this Instagram account, which contained over 13,000 followers, Mr Blackburn sought to entice others to use his personal success as inspiration to trade forex too.
His LukeTradesFx and Infinity FX websites provided learning material and online courses on trading the forex markets. Unfortunately for him, these websites were not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to sell or promote financial services and products in the UK. The FCA, which regulates over 58,000 financial services firms as well as the UK financial markets, was alerted to Mr Blackburn’s websites and promptly placed them on their warning list of sites and individuals undertaking regulated activities “which require authorisation”.
These sites have since been taken down by Mr Blackburn, but he insists that his services were not encouraging individuals to “blindly” copy his trading advice. Mr Blackburn believed that his websites were “mainly educational” and that he did not belong on the FCA’s warning list because he did not use other people’s money or guarantee any returns on investment.
What to do if you think you’ve been affected by an unauthorised firm
If you believe you have liaised with a financial service provider that is unauthorised by the FCA, contact the FCA’s own Consumer Helpline immediately on 0800 111 6768. It’s important to always deal with organisations that are fully authorised by the FCA. They operate a Financial Services Register which you can use to corroborate whether an individual or business is legitimate or not.
Those who use unauthorised financial services in the UK have no support when things go wrong. The Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is only accessible to individuals using authorised firms based on the investments made and the services provided.
How to choose a reputable forex broker if trading is for you
Despite the threat of unscrupulous and unauthorised service providers, forex trading is one of the most legitimate forms of financial trading on the planet. In fact, it’s one of the most actively traded too with daily transactions totalling upwards of $6.6 trillion daily. That’s more than two times the size of the UK’s annual GDP.
There are hundreds of foreign currencies traded against one another. The most liquid being the EUR/USD and the GBP/USD pairs, which is unsurprising given that they involve some of the most influential economies worldwide. The success of each currency relies on the strength of their respective national economy, which is influenced by buoyant regional economies and moves like Leeds City Council to become a Living Wage City to create stronger, fairer employment conditions for all.
Trading the forex markets is easier than ever, thanks to the advancements in internet speed and reliability, not to mention trading software and applications. If the idea of becoming a retail trader in forex, be sure to use the four following factors when choosing a reputable forex broker:
- Trader safety and regulations
We’ve already touched upon the importance of being FCA regulated and the best forex brokers are all licensed by the FCA to operate in the UK. In terms of maintaining compliance, brokers must also deploy a host of user safety features, including negative balance protection and SSL encryption to safeguard sensitive personal and financial data.
- Account bonuses
There are account bonuses from certain brokers that reward you for choosing one over another. The best broker bonuses available in 2021 are typically no deposit bonuses, which enable you to trial a broker without risking a penny of your own money. Cashback bonuses can also be useful, giving you a rebate regardless of whether you turn a profit from your forex trades.
- Competitive spreads
The ‘spread’ is the difference between the market price of a currency and the price offered to you by your broker. That difference in price is the commission the broker takes for handling your trades. The tighter the spread, the better.
- State-of-the-art trading platforms
The leading forex brokers also make it easy to place and monitor trades. They will either be compatible with award-winning third-party software like MetaTrader 4 and 5, or will utilise their own proprietary trading software tailor-made for their systems.