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The irony of financial markets is that this business that officially has got as much regulation as arms trafficking, has also got the same problem –- numerous illegal entities that evolve around the niche.
Scam brokers, funds recovery services that rob the robbed traders, HYIPs, “learn how to make millions overnight” trading courses and a number of other schemes all tend to exploit the weak point of human nature – the belief that there is the magic device with the “MORE MONEY” button out there, that someone can sell you.
A thief shouting “Thief!”Considering the above there is a high demand in society for truthful and unbiased information about the market players. WikiFX claims to be the provider of such honest information about brokers but in fact, makes money by blackmailing brokers and promoting any company that offers to pay enough in their rankings.
WikiFX is a classic illustration of a thief shouting “Get the thief!” louder than anybody else in the crowd. The strategy works unfortunately and traders tend to trust WikiFx broker’s ratings without questioning what these ratings are based on and who sponsors this global brokers’ database.
Paving the road with some good intentionsEven the most horrible crimes against humanity were done under the cover of best intentions. Starting with the first crusades and ending with the holocaust. There are always some sound arguments, protected people and reliable methods.
Ask any trader whether each forex broker must be regulated by a third party? The answer will be “yes” with a near 100% probability and this answer is totally correct. Know-your-customer procedures and some unbiased third-party control are essential for maintaining the overall transparency of any business in a sphere of finance. This is the argument that WikiFX starts with when promoting its service and there is absolutely no point to argue. Starting with an indisputable truth is a good strategy to win the debate.
“The long-term presence on the market adds credibility”, – says WikiFX, and hears “yes” again.
“Don’t you agree that the longer the company is in the business, the better?”. “Sure”, – the trader agrees one more time.
The mission is completed. This is when the broker ranker can add any other criteria to their appraisal methods. Traders will tend to trust the service because they’ve agreed upon the most important criteria. The rest are minor details.
But what if the rest of the appraisal methods are not just minor issues? What if these details can be the means to manipulate the facts as much as they want to?
Can WikiFX appraisal criteria be trusted?If we take a look at any broker’s WikiFX rating, we can see that the criteria of appraisal are the following:
WikiFX Forex com example
Looks good. Really. Regardless of the attitude to this particular brokerage, the work seems to be done fine. All the regulators are listed below, the information on the used software, licensing, and years of operation is included.
But what if we take some other random brokerage with one of the lowest rankings at WikiFX?
NinjaTraderBrokerage WIkiFX Ranking
This is where the truth reveals itself. Once again, regardless of the attitude to this particular brokerage this is really easy to find out what they do, what licenses they’ve got and what kind of software they use.
Suspicious clone? Seriously? If WikiFX staff cared enough to do any investigation prior to stamping that “Suspicious” mark on the brokerage, they would have seen that both domains, nijatrader com and ninjatraderbrokerage com belong to the same entity.
NinyaTrader whois data
If they cared enough to collect information on the brokerage from at least one reliable source, like Investopedia or any other similarly known database, they would also have found out that the company not only provides the brokerage service, but also is known for its trading platform with advanced technical analysis tools. But the only trading software that WikiFX considers reliable seems to be MT4/MT5. They simply ignore the fact that trading does not evolve around MetaTrader products, no matter how good and popular they are. WikiFX lowers the score of any brokerage with custom-developed software. We can clearly see this with the above example.
Other criteria that WikiFX is proud to use for the broker’s appraisal are regulations. Using the same example let’s see how well they do the appraisal in this field. As you can see above, WikiFX used the “Suspicious Regulatory License” stamp for NinjaTrader Brokerage.
And here is what The National Futures Association, that NinjaTrader is registered with as a futures broker has on its record:
NFA regulation of NTB proof that WikiFX did not consider to be trustworthy
We can’t expect every trader to know that any futures broker that wants to operate on the US market must be a member of NFA. This is the requirement of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding the futures broker’s operations. But this is totally unacceptable for a broker ranking website, which WikiFX claims to be, to mark NFA-registered futures brokerage as non-reliable.
By the way, did you notice on the above screenshot that NTB has obtained the NFA license in 2004? Yet, this does not prevent WikiFX from claiming that the brokerage has only been providing its services for 1-2 years only, instead of the factual 16 years of operations.
We can long discuss the reasons that lie behind such selectivity of WikiFX but this random example clearly shows that any brokerage that provides access to non-forex derivatives trading or dares to suggest custom-developed software to its traders is in danger of receiving a negative review at WikiFX regardless of the factual reliability and regulations.
What lies beneath WikiFX selectivity?WikiFX claims to have a team of professionals that are all involved in objective appraisal of broker’s services, licenses and used software. The methods used by these professionals remain unrevealed and as we see from the above comparison two similarly reliable brokerages can get any score from 1.0 and up to 10.0 at WikiFX, no matter what regulations they’ve got, for how long they’ve been in the business and what kind of software they use.
This is difficult to say what lies behind such selectivity with 100% confidence. The first thing that comes to mind is that WikiFX might be affiliated with some brokers. The hypothesis gets even more realistic if we try to understand who sponsors WikiFX.
There are no transparent built-in ads neither on the web-version of the website nor in its applications. There are no paid subscriptions for access to the database. This means that users sponsor the service with neither their attention to ads nor directly. Being the non-charity and non-governmental organization WikiFX can’t be sponsored with donations or a government. The only option that we have left is that brokers sponsor this ranking system directly, which automatically makes the whole system non-reliable and highly biased.
The only transparent method that we know WikiFX uses to collect money is sponsorship fees they collect from their offline events participants. Let’s have a look at the exhibitors of the recent WikiFX Expo in Thailand.
WikiFX Expo Exhibitors
Murky & MurkierSo far we’ve only discussed the facts that anyone can check himself using free tools and sources.
It was not that difficult to discover that WikiFX uses non-transparent standards for brokers’ appraisal. It ignores the specifics of some brokerages lowering their scores due to non-standard derivatives they offer to trade or custom trading software. It also promotes non-regulated and non-licensed brokerages, which is 100% against the declared WikiFX values and mission.
The rumors are that this company was also noticed blackmailing brokers with the purpose of making them pay for better reviews at WikiFX. There are also some signs that indicate suspicious promotion of WikiFX platform through social media and Quora. Some of the WikiFX positive reviews also look highly suspicious. All of the above is a matter of further investigation.
Nevertheless, thousands of users keep relying on the information provided by this scam ranking system. It may even look like all these users are satisfied. WikiFX has got 4.5 starts at Google Play, which sounds good enough. However, positive WikiFX reviews use similar semantics and are also highly suspicious. Despite the high average grade, Google Play finds the following messages to be most relevant and brings them to the top of WikiFX reviews:
Google Play most relevant WikiFX reviews
You’ve got the facts now and it’s time to make your own conclusions.
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