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AMP Futures / AMP Global Review
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AMP Futures / AMP Global Review

  #181 (permalink)
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all you AMP clients, here's a suggestion

How about you all write Dan Culp (head of AMP) about how much you value futures.io (formerly BMT) and how much, as clients, you would appreciate it if they would drop their lawsuit against futures.io (formerly BMT). That might defuse the situation and save a lot of hassle and expense for Mike. I'm afraid if you drop AMP in protest it will just ramp up Culp's anger.

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  #182 (permalink)
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Negative Energy

Hi Mike,

My opinion is you are wasting valuable resources and your limited time on this planet on a negative venture brought to you by incompetent people trying to cover their mistakes.

You have the Claim that is made against you. Copy and remove the post, put up the claim against you so everyone can see the type of people AMP are.

AMP should if they had any customer service skills, have taken a positive approach and put a representative on the job to satisfy and rectify any complaints made against them. This would have shown any potential customers what lengths they are willing to go to help and service their customer base.

My thoughts only.
Pnut.

I can't move faster than the markets.
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  #183 (permalink)
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Facts .... as I could find them ..... and AMP secure??


As l like to form (and if needed amend) my opinions based on on facts, I spent some time over the weekend reading the PDF's attached to the lawsuit thread.

I am no legal expert, but as I read it AMP and it's owner Culp want $50.000 each for 12 counts (=$600.000 ) for defamation, loss of business, etc. related to remarks made by a new poster.

The thread was removed from BigMike as per a court injunction so you cannot find it on the site in its original form. However parts of the thread can be found in the attachment of AMP's claim PDF.
BTW per court injunction BigMike is apparently barred from saying anything on the matter during the legislation.

I will try to put things in perspective.
As mentioned, the post that started this AMP matter can be read in the PDF of the AMP complaint. The original poster, allegedly a former consultant to AMP, was IMHO emotionally ranting quite a bit and I think most readers would not even pay much attention to it. As a matter of fact the poster appears to have copped quite some flack from other readers/posters.
I don't think reasonable people would see defamation in the posts.... just a discourse and some debate. Not something that would swing your preference to one broker or another.

You don't see any reaction of AMP in the thread.
The reason for this is that AMP was banned from posting after misbehaving in the past. This is not the first time AMP has been threatening BigMike to get posts removed. Apparently they also threatened with legal actions before, trying to blackmail BigMike into submission.
How trustworthy is a company if it goes to these lengths to have negative opinions removed?


I read some remarks in this thread that BigMike should try to settle the matter amicably. However in the lawsuit thread BigMike states:
Quoting 
Unfortunately, attempts to settle this dispute have so far not produced a resolution.

Apparently Mike already tried to settle the dispute, but without success.


As I stated before:
the reason for me to not use AMP is their act of suing a website for unwelcome posts, as to my opinion it proves that AMP's management is not up to their task. I won't trust my money to a company and management that throws up tantrums like a 4 year old.
I dug a bit deeper in this case, hoping that I would find reasons to reconsider. I spent quite a lot of time trying to find a new second broker (keeping IB, but replace TDA and two other foreign ones). AMP has satisfied customers and great facilities. However I now know that posts from unhappy AMP customers were apparently filtered out at the different websites. Especially the EliteTraders website appears to be very biased pro-AMP....

I really wanted to go with AMP.
Alas, the digging only reconfirmed my stance and raised another concern. Why won't they settle? Do they need $600.000 from a court case or is it just blackmail?

I should have done some due diligence on their financial strength before even considering them.
How safe is AMP?? No good having low commissions and good facilities if they won't last and I need to shift again.

There may be some answers are here
Please do your own due diligence...... I won't say anything bad about AMP. I don't want to be sued
But look at the 'excess net capital numbers'....$818k in December. That is not a lot of money to buffer the unexpected ......Also as ratio to customer funds the 'excess net capital' is very low compared to other brokerages.
Also note that earlier in the year AMP's 'excess net capital' was about a million.... I will certainly have a look how this develops.... Looking at these numbers I find it even more bizarre that they would spend money on expensive lawyers for frivolous lawsuits.

And yes....I know ... client assets should be separated and most probably they are.
But then again... the folding of MFGlobal proved you can't be careful enough.


Last edited by Peter; March 10th, 2014 at 02:44 AM. Reason: clarity
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  #184 (permalink)
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AMP financial due diligence

I thought I should use a separate post as many won't read to the end of my previous post about the 'AMP vs BigMike' lawsuit.

As mentioned I started to delve a bit deeper into the 'safety of your funds'-issue when selecting a broker. I think I forgot this boring subject when looking for the best deals and the greatest platforms. You may want to read the links yourself too.

In general the information about the safety of your fund is not easily found and if you can find information the language is so obfuscating that you need both a degree in decoding and bullshit detection.
I found a lot of interesting and readable links on this page: Futures Market Regulation
Especially read:
National Futures Association - Regulating the Futures Industry ,
Customer Segregated Funds - Protection for Your Money and
Is You Money Safe With a Commodity Broker. At least read this one.

With a futures broker your funds should be in a segregate account.... if everything is done correctly. Unfortunately history shows that this was not always the case. Just read up on MFGlobal and FPGBest. The (self)regulators have again been proven to be inadequate. (Where have we seen this before in the finance industry....)


Anyway, there are several issues if you are using a broker that just fell over. I think the issue of segregated funds is not even the most important one.
1. I think the biggest risk is that the site of your insolvent broker will unexpectedly go down and be frozen. If you have active trades on, you might not be able to close these and you will run huge risks. Also your trades will probably not be managed. With their servers frozen your stop losses might not work. Most probably the exchanges would not even allow the systems of the insolvent broker to trade until the receivers have stepped in.
Typically only after some time you will be allowed to go to your account and close positions.
The only way to mitigate this risk is having a second (back-up) broker where you can open a hedging position. However you will need quite an account to keep the hedge up and margin calls at bay, while your trade at the frozen account runs it course.
Therefore I think it is essential to have your back-up broker ready all the time. I will even regularly execute part of my trades at my back-up trader, just to make sure all works when I need it.
2. After the regulators have sorted out the mess, it will take still take time until you can wire out your money.
3. If you have MFGlobal or FPGBest situations where the brokers used/stole client funds it will obviously take a lot longer before things are sorted. And you won't get all your money back. Your funds are not guaranteed!!
Also realize that segregation under US regulation is about funds of US and foreign clients in the US, and US customers abroad. As far as I can see the funds of foreign clients that are used/traded outside the US do not fall under the segregation rules. So how does it work if I as Australian resident use a US broker to trade on the European markets???
As I read it those funds don't have to be kept segregated. Please correct me if you are sure that I am wrong.
BTW with Forex brokers it is even worse.... US regulations don't even give forex accounts segregated fund status. Clients with an insolvent US forex broker would be considered unsecured creditors, and be last in the line to receive any money. Better take a UK based forex broker, they have better regulation for Forex there.
4. You need to spend time finding a worthy replacement for your former broker.


It appears to me paramount that your broker is financially strong. I would strongly advise to keep an eye on the CFT website and especially the page about Financial Data for FCMs. You can download the data as Excel file and do some basic calculations on the ratio's of e.g. 'Adjusted Net Capital' and 'Excess Net Capital' related to the size of customer assets.
If you look at 'Adjusted Net Capital' AMP is at at about 5% as percentage of the size of customer assets. AMP is at the lower end but you also find Advantage and Cunningham at 5%. Vision (7%), Dorman (8%) and Crossland (12%) are clearly higher.
Of course ratio's don't tell everything.
With AMP I am mainly concerned about the absolute numbers. Their 'Adjusted Capital' is only 2.5 million dollar. And 'Excess Net Capital' (capital above required capital) is only just over a million dollar. That is not much buffer if you have a hick-up in your business. Or if some bills come due at the wrong time.
The 2.5 million puts AMP quite low on the list compared to typical competitor futures brokers. Advantage($24M), Cunningham ($4M), Vision ($35), Dorman ($11M) and Crossland ($10M) appear to have bigger buffers.

Also with the spreadsheets you can evaluate how certain Data Field/items change in time. As mentioned in the other post 'Excess Net Capital' dropped about 20% for AMP from November to December.
Edit: I found on the NFA site that in January 'Excess Net Capital' was back at a million.
Unfortunately, the data appear to be lagging quite a bit. And of course you will never know when/if the data that companies report to the CFT are actively audited.

The second site to visit regularly is the NFA site.
The site is not very transparent but you can dig a bit deeper into the financials of the brokers.

Anyway, good luck. For myself this was a good exercise in risk management. While focusing on trade risks I apparently forgot about the bigger picture.


Last edited by Peter; March 10th, 2014 at 09:36 AM. Reason: addition
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  #185 (permalink)
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Peter View Post
I thought it was to put this in a separate post as many won't read to the end of my previous post about the 'AMP vs BigMike' lawsuit.

As mentioned I started to delve a bit deeper into the 'safety of your funds' side when selecting a broker.
You may want to read the links yourself too.

In general the information about the safety of your fund is not easily found and written in an obfuscated language.
I found a lot of interesting and readable links on this page:[URL="http://commodities.about.com/od/marketregulations/a/Can-You-Trust-Your-Broker-After-The-Mf-Global-Scandal"]
Especially read:
National Futures Association - Regulating the Futures Industry ,
Customer Segregated Funds - Protection for Your Money and
Is You Money Safe With a Commodity Broker


Basically your funds should be in a segregate account.... if everything is done correctly. Unfortunately history shows that the regulators have been inadequate. Just read up on MFGlobal and FPGBest.

There are several issues if you are using a broker that just fell over. IMO the issue of segragated funds is not even the most important one.
1. IMHO the biggest risk is that the site of your insolvent broker will unexpectedly go down and be frozen. If you have active trades on, you might not be able to close these and you will run huge risks. Also your trades will probably not be managed. With their servers frozen your stop losses might not work.
Typically only after some time you will be allowed to go to your account and close positions.
The only way to mitigate this risk is having a second (back-up) broker where you can open a hedging position.... but you will need quite an account to keep the hedge up and margin calls at bay, while your trade at the frozen account runs it course.
2. After the regulators have sorted out the mess, it will take still take time until you can wire out your money.
3. If you have MFGlobal or FPGBest situations where the brokers 'misappropriated' client funds it will obviously take a lot longer before things are sorted. And you won't get all your money back.
BTW with Forex brokers it is even worse.... US regulations don't even give forex accounts segregated fund status. Clients with an insolvent US forex broker would be considered unsecured creditors, and be last in the line to receive and money.
4. You need to spend time finding a worthy replacement for your former broker.


It appears to me paramount that your broker is financially strong. I would strongly advise to keep an eye on the CFT website and especially the page about Financial Data for FCMs. You can download the data as Excel file and do some basic calculations on the ratio's of e.g. 'Excess Net Capital' related to the size of the company or size of customer funds.
If you look at AMP you will see that they are at the very lower end compared to their competitors.
Also you can evaluate how certain Data Field/items change in time. As mentioned in the other post 'Excess Net Capital' dropped about 20% for AMP from November to December.

Unfortunately, the data appear to be lagging quite a bit. And of course you will never know when/if the data that companies report to the CFT are actively audited.

I see where you're coming from, but honestly Excess Net Capital fluctuates from year to year. On Jan 31st 2011 it was 408,528 but then the next year on the same date in 2012 they had 837,837. When they started reporting back in June 30, 2010 they had Excess Net Capital of 101,647 with adjusted net cap at 1,101,647. That's a 800% change over a few years. Is that a good thing or a bad thing I don't know. It's volatile. How does it compare to other brokers that started during similar times? Why were they so successful back then and has anything changed? 2014 information would be handy. I think what everyone wants to know is what impact the lawsuit will have on amp or this forum if any.


Last edited by Itchymoku; March 10th, 2014 at 09:03 AM.
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  #186 (permalink)
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@Peter

I probably should not post this since I have no skin in the game (other than not wanting this forum to stop).

In my opinion posts like yours are probably why AMP decided to sue. Its clearly a thinly masked attempt to persuade others not to choose AMP by implying AMP is not financially sound. What "FACTS" do you have that "AMP Futures" is not a financially sound company?

It is common knowledge (or it should be) that we as traders are always at risk dealing with brokers. The only recourse we have is to spread our money around and not deposit more than margin requirements and drawdown into any one account.

Great trading.


Last edited by Seahn; March 10th, 2014 at 10:06 AM.
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  #187 (permalink)
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This whole thing gives me an incredibly grand headache...


I yearn for times long past ...


AJ
Nashville, Tennessee


"Life On The Edge of SR"
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  #188 (permalink)
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Well, in order to prevent further (possible) damage from futures.io (formerly BMT), IMHO we should stop any further discussions as well as posting of assumptions regarding AMP's policy of how to deal with public forums or how they might presumably be situated in regards to deposit insurance until the current lawsuit has been settled / terminated by court.

Therefore we should try to focus on the thread's originally topic again...which should be the continuation of reviewing AMP's core business (brokerage) as objective as possible...


Just my $0.02.

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Last edited by Daytrader999; March 10th, 2014 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Wording / Clarifying...
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  #189 (permalink)
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Daytrader999 View Post
Well, in order to prevent further (possible) damage from futures.io (formerly BMT), IMHO we should stop any further discussions as well as posting of assumptions regarding AMP's policy of how to deal with public forums or how they might presumably be situated in regards to deposit insurance until the current lawsuit has been settled / terminated by court.

Therefore we should try to focus on the thread's originally topic again...which should be the continuation of reviewing AMP's core business (brokerage) as objective as possible...


Just my $0.02.

Completely agree. The issues between futures.io (formerly BMT) and AMP are in the courts and will be settled there. I am on the futures.io (formerly BMT) side, but that is not of any relevance to the court case, and no one is going to ask me about it in court.

It's better if this thread stays on-topic, which is how AMP is providing brokerage service to traders with experience with it.

Bob.

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  #190 (permalink)
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Seahn View Post
@Peter

I probably should not post this since I have no skin in the game (other than not wanting this forum to stop).

In my opinion posts like yours are probably why AMP decided to sue. Its clearly a thinly masked attempt to persuade others not to choose AMP by implying AMP is not financially sound. What "FACTS" do you have that "AMP Futures" is not a financially sound company?

Thanks Seahn. I did not intend to imply anything. I tried to find facts. Also I most certainly don't want to write something that would put BM in further strife.
But as apparently the financial (due diligence) part of my posts is being construed as attack on AMP I will try to re-edit my posts somewhat.
In my posts I already mentioned that some other brokers have similar multiples as AMP. I explicitly will say that I do not want to imply that AMP is not 'safe' in the meaning that our funds would not be segregated or safe. I have to assume that all brokers adhere to the rules and that the financial regulators are now doing their job (after some earlier failures).
The only issue I have with AMP is that according to the limited public data mentioned before, their Net Excess Capital appears to be low compared to their competitors. IMHO that would make AMP 'continuity-wise' more vulnerable in case of downturns or unexpected expenditures.
For me 'continuity' is one of the most important aspects. It is not just the inconvenience of having to find a new broker. IMHO the effect of 'discontinuity' (e.g. a sudden break in availability in services of a broker) might be very costly.

Most of my second post was intended about due diligence. I was looking into this when looking for a second back-up (and/or dedicated futures) broker. BTW as it stands I will have to look for a new main broker too. For me IB has become unworkable as main broker (IB cancelled the margin facilities for Australian accounts for stock related activities due to some paperwork issues / procedures with the AU regulators). Earlier I had to 'enjoy' TDAmeritrade closing their Australian accounts. These experiences made me very wary about continuity.
The information in my post was intended to pertain to brokers in general and aspects related to due diligence and risk assessment.
As I was specifically looking at AMP as potential broker it ended up in the AMP thread.


Quoting 
It is common knowledge (or it should be) that we as traders are always at risk dealing with brokers. The only recourse we have is to spread our money around and not deposit more than margin requirements and drawdown into any one account.

I should be common knowledge, but I wonder if others are as risk-aware as you appear to be. I for sure was not.
E.g. I always left much more than margin requirements in my accounts. Not everybody lives in the US. International transfers are too slow to top-up accounts when needed in margin call emergencies.

Also, I only recently found that the US regulators may fine a US brokerage and e.g. order to repay customers.... but apparently such a verdict will only apply for US customers. This lack of jurisdiction over the interests of international customers might be common knowledge for others but it was not for me. I will have to spread my funds over other jurisdictions.

Anyway, I think it is time to go back to trading.


Last edited by Peter; March 17th, 2014 at 09:52 AM. Reason: clarity
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