AG Markets is an online CFD and forex broker. They have a very standard selection of trading assets. The broker operates out of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a popular offshore haven. They require considerable deposits to access passable spreads, and the New Zealand financial regulator has a standing warning against them. Our AG Markets review strongly recommends avoiding this broker.
|Headquarters||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines|
About AG Markets
The company behind AG Markets is Advanced Global Markets Ltd. The company operates out of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a small island nation in the Caribbean. Above all, it is commonplace for brokers to register here to avoid the harsher rules of financial regulators like Cyprus’s CySEC or the UK’s FCA. The broker has a registration with the regulator there, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Financial Services Authority. In addition, in 2017, the European Union included Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in their first official list of known international tax havens. The SVGFSA responded furiously, and the country was eventually removed from the list.
Our AG Markets review revealed that the company claimed to operate out of New Zealand at one point in its history. However, their website now states clearly in a disclaimer that the company has no authority to offer financial services to residents of New Zealand. The Financial Service Provider Register does not contain this company. They have no registration with the Financial Markets Authority of New Zealand, which would be necessary to offer any services.
No FMA registration
The company was originally operating out of New Zealand but at no point had registration with the FMA. From their founding in 2013 until 2017, AG Markets Ltd did have a listing on the Financial Services Providers Register. However, they did not register with the FMA at any point. Their registration stated that they were trading financial products and also foreign exchange on behalf of other persons. After their registration lapsed, the broker continued to claim that registration.
The FMA quickly realized that the broker’s claims were false and also issued a warning to traders. In November 2019, the broker issued a statement clarifying that AG Markets has no affiliation with the regulator. They do not have an FMA registration. They say that the broker made claims to be on the Financial Service Providers Register while they were not. Also, their statement warned that the broker had been misleading traders about the extent to which they are regulated under New Zealand law.
The Online Reputation of AG Markets
Our AG Markets review included a look at what the broker’s previous clients have to say. The online reviews of this company are very negative, with many former clients having nothing good to say about them. Above all, the bulk of the complaints are about withdrawals. While many customers have given AG Markets their money, it seems that only a few of those leaving online reviews have been able to take any money out. Their accounts with the broker might show earnings, but they can never reach those funds in practice.
In addition, other complaints include constant phone calls from the broker’s representatives. On the popular online review website Trustpilot, the broker currently has 2.5 out of 5 stars. Therefore, we think most traders wouldn’t want to take their business to a broker with a score like that. Even that score seems to be inflated by several 5-star reviews that don’t seem entirely legitimate, with little to no cohesive comments and just vague praise.
Account Types With AG Markets
AG Markets has a few different accounts available for traders, with various perks at each level. Users who put down the $250 minimum deposit have access to a Basic account. This account offers unfavorable spreads, with higher deposits needed to get better spreads. One of the most significant selling points for higher accounts is the deposit bonus. Like many other unregistered brokers, AG Markets offers a bonus on opening deposits. The Basic account starts with a 20 percent bonus, the AGM Pro goes up to 50 percent, and the Premium has a “personalized” bonus that the client must have to negotiate with the broker.
The available accounts are Basic, Standard, Trading, AGM Pro, and Premium. Standard requires $500 deposit, Trading requires $1,000, AGM Pro requires $5,000, and Premium requires a massive $25,000 deposit. The progressive deposit bonus system encourages traders to make the largest deposit that they can afford and imposes restrictions that make it practically impossible to ever withdraw those funds.
Assets and Spreads
The broker has over 60 forex currency pairs, including a few exotic options. Their CFD selection is passable, with the standard fare on cryptocurrencies, commodities, stocks, and indices. They put a relatively strong emphasis on cryptocurrency CFDs. They have over a dozen available, much more than the Bitcoin and Ethereum that most brokers have.
The broker advertises very competitive spreads, but it’s unclear if any of their traders ever access their promised numbers. They claim that their EUR/USD spread stars at 0.8 pips. This is the most widely traded currency pair globally. It is typically a good indicator of how good a broker’s spreads are overall. A Basic account holder will find the actual spread offered to be around 2.2 pips, significantly too high to be competitive. Premium accounts can access spreads as low as 1.0 pips, pretty good, but most traders would hardly call that premium.
Their Trading Platforms
AG Markets gives its clients access to MetaTrader 4. Most traders consider this to be the industry-standard platform. Countless online forex and CFD broker use this platform, meaning that investors can feel at home trading with essentially any broker. It features all the latest trading tools that help traders exert full control over their positions. The charting tools are also top-notch, with enough options to fully customize the experience. Clients can access MetaTrader 4 as a desktop app, mobile app, or through their browser.
Users looking for a less complex option can choose to trade using the WebTrader platform instead. It features a simplified layout with one-click trading that is easy to understand for most traders. There are few charting tools available, but nowhere near as extensive as those offered by MetaTrader 4. Traders can access the platform through their browser or a mobile app.
The broker also has demo accounts available for anyone that wants to try them out. The demo account has $50,000 of virtual funds to invest through their platforms before users decide to put down their deposit.
Account Bonuses and High Leverage to Draw in New Traders
AG Markets is a broker that relies heavily on account bonuses to draw in new clients. Most regulators are against this practice, with many outlawing account bonuses altogether – as clients make larger deposits, their bonus percentage increases. This seems like a great deal, but traders will never see that money. Their terms and conditions explain the broker’s attitude towards these funds very clearly.
The account bonuses fall into a category called “non-deposited funds,” meaning any money that a trader hasn’t directly deposited into their account. The terms on non-deposited funds state clearly that all bonus funds fully belong to Advanced Global Markets Ltd. The broker reserves the right to cancel these funds at any time. They also outline their refund policy. They say that they will offer refunds within one working day of the deposit. After that, the money is unambiguously theirs.
AG Markets Leverage
The broker offers different leverage on different assets. Their website claims that they offer leverage up to 1:1000. This is far beyond what most brokers offer, even among unregistered brokers. The ESMA has a rule on leverage that brokers can only offer up to 1:30. This is what a competent financial regulator considers a safe level for retail traders. 1:1000 is over 30 times that amount. Anyone trading at that leverage could have their entire account wiped out by the slightest fluctuation downwards on a single position’s value. The leverage could also theoretically lead to huge earnings, but with many clients reporting issues making withdrawals, we wouldn’t count on it.
The broker’s own terms and conditions include information on their inactivity fees. Therefore, after two months of inactivity, the broker will charge the client $25 per month. After three months of inactivity, this leaps up to 25 percent of the total account balance. This is a massive increase after just three months. With the deposits that AG Markets expects of their traders, 25 percent of the account balance could be thousands of dollars. It seems that most traders would avoid this broker if they were to read the terms and conditions.
AG Markets has several different ways for clients to get in contact with them. They have email addresses for separate departments, including new accounts, deposits and withdrawals, client services, and technical support. AG Markets also list another company that handles payment and clearing services, Performance Trade Ltd, which lists a London mailing address. They also have a phone line and live chat on their website. The broker lists their active hours, specifically in “UK time,” despite also having a clear disclaimer that they cannot offer financial services within the UK.
It doesn’t require much verification for a trader to start giving their money to AG Markets. The same isn’t true about making a withdrawal. Clients must go through a lengthy verification process before they can make any withdrawals. This includes a government-issued ID and proof of address that is less than six months old. The broker also requires your most recent bank statement. They also request a clear color copy of both sides of the credit card with which you funded your account. This last one really goes too far.
After submitting all of these documents to their email address, the broker says that they generally process verifications within two business days. Complex verifications are a common tactic for brokers to deny withdrawal requests, and many of the online reviews of this broker have cited difficulty making withdrawals.
AG Markets has an economic calendar on their website. The calendar shows upcoming news and events that are likely to affect markets. The calendar also shows the expected level of impact. Traders can also look back through the calendar to see how past events affected markets. Their news section features stories on the latest developments in the world of finance, although our AG Markets review uncovered these blog posts to be simple copies of stories from actual news websites.
What Our AG Markets Review Uncovered
In conclusion, our AG Markets review showed us an offshore broker with many warning signs. They offer deposit bonuses, which most regulators do not allow. Their leverage limits are excessively high. They have made deceptive claims about their registration in the past. There is a warning against them from a credible financial regulator. Anyone familiar with how unregistered and offshore brokers operate can quickly identify that AG Markets is not worth the risk.
Initiate Your Chargeback Proceedings Today
When traders start out, they don’t really know who to trust. They see promises of huge earnings through leverage and account bonuses and think they have nothing to lose. They couldn’t be more wrong. Traders that don’t thoroughly vet their brokers regularly lose their deposits. When that happens, their only option is to reach out for help. Our dedicated team knows all the ins and outs of recovering funds from brokers.
Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our representatives. We can get you started on the road to your refund.
Is AG Markets a New Zealand Registered Broker?
No, they operate out of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. At one point, they were a registered business in New Zealand, but never a broker registered to provide financial services.
Can I Just Withdraw My Bonus Funds?
No, the broker reserves all rights over these funds and places strict conditions on them, requiring the funds to be traded repeatedly before any withdrawal.
How Much Do I Have to Deposit to Get There Advertised Spreads?
Spreads only begin to approach their promises with a Platinum account, requiring $25,000 down.
How Much Are Their Inactivity Fees
$25 a month after two months, 25 percent of your entire account balance per month after three months.