FX week in review: Samtrade arrests, eToro IPO valuation falls, BDSwiss and Equiti hires

For the first week of 2022 the top Forex Industry News story was clearly the one which emerged from Singapore, with that country’s regulator and police force effectively shutting offshore Retail FX broker Samtrade FX. Samtrade had been operating out of Singapore without being licensed there. Oh – and three of its top officials were arrested.

One of the more interesting stories to follow in Q1 will be the pending IPO of Retail FX broker eToro. Or, more accurately, its going-public event via a planned merger with publicly traded SPAC FinTech Acquisition Corp V. But there seem to be a number of roadblocks in the way, such as lengthened regulatory scrutiny of the deal and (mainly) the dramatic fall in value of eToro rival Robinhood, now down more than 80% from its post-IPO peak in the summer.

We also have some of our year-end special articles and analysis to report, including how the publicly traded Retail FX and CFD brokers performed in 2021, as well as FNG’s Top FX industry news stories of 2021.

Some of the most read and commented-on FX industry news stories to appear over the past seven days on FNG included:

Samtrade FX freezes operations and client withdrawals amid arrests, police probe. Singapore based offshore Retail FX broker Samtrade FX has issued a corporate statement, in response to yesterday’s news that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was investigating the company for illegal activity, and that Singapore police had already arrested several of the Samtrade FX management team. The company said that it was taking “immediate steps” to suspend both local and overseas business operations, including account opening, account changes, settlements, payments, and the opening and closing of trades. Samtrade added that it is in the process of making applications to the Singapore courts to place certain of its corporate entities into judicial management.

eToro tries to save SPAC IPO, lowering valuation 15% to $8.8B. With its plan to go public via a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) FinTech Acquisition Corp V in trouble, Retail FX broker eToro has filed with US regulators updated plans that indicate it has renegotiated some aspects of the merger agreement – including a much lower valuation for eToro. While the original deal announced in March 2021 was for eToro to be valued post-deal at about $10.4 billion, the new agreement lowers eToro’s valuation to $7.9 billion pre-deal, and $8.8 billion post IPO. Or, about 15% lower than originally planned. The amended agreement also extends the allowed timetable for deal closing by six months, to June 30, 2022.

Top FX industry news stories of 2021. FNG’s Top FX industry news stories of 2021 are a combination of one-off stories, as well as themes which emerged during the year through various articles and discussions here on FNG. Which stories and themes made the cut? What was the most-read story about a Retail FX broker on FNG in 2021? Which FX brokers broke records in 2021, and which ones declined? What was the M&A deal-of-the-year in the Retail FX sector? Which FX industry CEOs “changed teams” in 2021? Before we begin, we here at FNG would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a safe and prosperous 2022.

Exclusive: Retail FX broker shares up 29% in 2021. FNG Exclusive Analysis… Following a banner 2020 year which saw shares of publicly traded Retail FX and CFD brokers soar by more than 200%, things were more muted in 2021, although still generally positive. On average, shares of Retail FX brokers were up by 29% in 2021. However that figure (as stats often can be) is somewhat misleading. For the data and statistics nerds out there (self-confessed!), the median return was actually negative, at -6%. What that means is that the +29% “average” was heavily skewed, by one or two firms posting outsized returns, while the majority of brokers were in the red. And that is exactly what happened in 2021.

Top FX industry executive moves reported at FNG this week included:

Nicos Demetriades

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