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Binary options are a simple concept: they pay a fixed return, or nothing. It's a bit like a KickStarter campaign: if you hit the target, you get your money, if you miss it, you don't. But with binary options, the risks are different: fail and you lose your investment. So, there's another way of looking at it: it's a bet and if you lose, you lose your stake, so it's not like an ordinary option where you might still get back some of your original investment. For sophisticated investors and financial adrenalin junkies, they are fine. For everyone else, they are very high risk. Aussie regulator ASIC says that risk is rarely properly explained, and often it is not explained at all.

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We love, really love, the most ludicrous spam-scams we can find and this one is an absolute classic of its type.

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ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia to wind up a land banking scheme known as the VKK Investments Unit Trust (VKK scheme), as well as the trustee and operator of the scheme, Gem Management Group Pty Ltd (Gem).

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There's a lot of talk about KYC when accounts are opened but a general lack of concern over accounts once they are established. The director of a company in liquidation has pleaded guilty to a fraud that could only have taken place because someone wasn't paying enough attention.

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If someone describes themselves as an "expert" or a "thought leader" in relation to, let's say, financial crime or FinTech or even on-line banking, ask them this - and don't give them time to look up the answer: "what's Q-Coin?*" And, is Second Life about to get a second chance as a potential money laundering vehicle?

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 Midland Bank Griffin Logo HSBC's takeover of Midland Bank was a nightmare of regulatory challenges. Now, 25 years after eventually being taken over, the last little bit of Midland identity is being removed.

 

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There are two principles in the soft conversion of societies to various forms of centralised control, be that control from the left or right of politics, from vested interests or religion.

The first is the manipulation of language: using terms in ways that are inaccurate and, even, the direct opposite of what they truly mean.

The second is to give individual members of society the illusion that they have status, even a degree of control when in fact what they have is responsibility without authority.

Welcome to the worrying world of today's Compliance and Financial Crime Risk Officers.

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UK consumer borrowing spurts as consumers treat plastic like cash in their pocket. And the Bank of England fears banks may not be holding enough in reserve to cover losses when the inevitable defaults start to grow. But there is also a change in the psychology of card users.

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Below, free content, is my interview, given in May 2017 at the Thompson Reuters Regulatory Summit in Singapore, published today.

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It's frustrating just how fundamentally stupid some people can be.

In the aftermath of 11 September, 2001, the blame machine was hunting for excuses and part of it rightly fixated on funds transfers and, rightly, fixated on the unlicensed transfer systems which were lumped together under the Farsi name "hawala." Then stupid, ignorant people started trying to sound clever and instead of standing up to them and correcting them, others started to adopt their nonsensical, made up terminology. Now they want to include it in law.

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A report by the USA's Federal Bureau of Investigation following the conviction of an ATM skimmer reveals a relatively little-known technique that reduces the prospect of capture of the criminals involved.

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Quietly, almost under the counter, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority is preparing itself for life outside the EU with a raft of agreements directly negotiated with regulators around the world.

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AVIVA is a conglomerate of dozens of insurance companies, and can trace its lineage back to the 15th Century. So there's not a lot it hasn't seen but the levels of fraudulent claims, up about 10% in the past year, is truly novel as organised crime gangs turn to insurance fraud as a money generator and opportunists try their luck. As lawyers and various social groups argue that the reforms in the justice system to help reduce the attractiveness of such offences are badly thought out, AVIVA says "whiplash fraud remains our biggest concern."

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When, in 2006, US "hedge funds" began to have trouble meeting their obligations, honest ones went out of business while others faked accounts and ran Ponzi schemes and the US government largely ignored the warnings that such collapses give.

How should the world interpret the collapse of UK fund manager Strand Capital?

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It might seem a bit of a stretch to suggest that Uber, the dating service for those with a car that isn't a taxi and those with a transport need has much to do with FinTech but a long-running battle first in Spain and then in the European Court of Justice makes a landmark decision that affects the provision of so-called "disruptive" technologies and although it's couched in complex legal terms, the opinion represents a victory for common sense - and potentially causes enormous problems in relation to some aspects of passporting. Financial regulators all over the world should take notice: this is how you should view FinTech if you want to avoid systemic problems, says Nigel Morris-Cotterill

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