7:00 a.m., October 19, 2021, amended to 8:11 a.m., November 20, 2021
Double-digit returns thanks to trading on currencies or commodities, leverage effects to maximize gains, a personal coach to accompany the first investments… the offer of the online broker Alvexo is enticing. To recruit new customers, the company relies on television: its star analyst, Stéphane Ceaux-Dutheil, is also a consultant on the BFM Business channel, and the host Julien Lepers lent him his image for a time. Something to reach his core target: rather old and well-to-do people.
Six of them, claiming to be victims of a scam, have just filed a complaint in Paris against Alvexo, a Cyprus-based company which has been operating since 2014, for “organized gang scam and deceptive commercial practice”, according to their lawyer Roman Leibovici. . In total, they would have lost more than 1 million euros. In addition, 22 other procedures are in preparation, according to this council.
After the first gains, the time of the losses
Joëlle is one of the complainants. In March 2020, this 63-year-old woman came across a cryptocurrency investment proposal. “After several contacts, a man called me to offer me to earn money very quickly, she testifies. I was alone and jostled by the Covid crisis, I made a transfer of 5,000 euros .” His correspondent advises him to invest in gold, the price of which is rising.
I was in a position of intellectual and emotional dependence
After three months, Joëlle, who had bet 30,000 euros, finds herself with 100,000 euros. But, when she wants to pocket her winnings, her interlocutor starts calling her three times a day. “He was harassing me to convince me to reinvest. One day, he asked me to show him my bank account and my life insurance contracts. Foolishly, I accepted. He told me that it was unbelievable that I was made to make such bad investments and that he was going to fix it. I put in 100,000 euros.”
Then comes the time of losses. And reinvestments to try to cover them. “I was in a position of intellectual and emotional dependence”, accuses the sexagenarian who will eventually recover 50,000 euros out of the 200,000 euros invested.
Stock market traders unprotected against themselves
The story told by Alain, an 83-year-old childless widower, is unmistakably similar to that of Joëlle: incessant calls after a first contact, the installation of the AnyDesk application which allows his adviser to take the hands on his computer, gains at the start that made him develop a taste for this hobby, a relationship of dependence vis-à-vis his coach and, in the end, 100,000 euros lost on a total investment of 185,000 euros.
An amateur who trades is cannon fodder
Like the others, these two plaintiffs are convinced of having been cheated, but is the practice illegal? Master Leibovici claims to have proof that his clients have been promised huge gains after losing large sums. But, on its site and in e-mails, Alvexo recalls that 70% of its customers lose money. Its representative for France, Lior Elie Mattouk supports: “We don’t [les] not coach on their positions. We help them understand how our investment platform works.” Less formal, Alvexo technical analyst Stéphane Ceaux-Dutheil acknowledges that “many invest a little despite common sense”: “An amateur who trades , it’s cannon fodder.”
In a context of industrialization of financial scams, the investigation will in particular have the task of verifying that the positions taken by these customers were actually placed on the markets and that the investments of some did not fuel the gains of others. One certainty underlies the filing of complaints: unseasoned traders are in theory protected against themselves. Because, as the researcher and consultant Éric Vernier reminds us: “The law is clear: we must not support investors beyond their capacity for expertise.”
RIGHT OF REPLY BY STEPHANE CEAUX-DUTHEIL
The article posted on the website https://www.lejdd.fr, on October 19, 2021, entitled “Savers suspect online broker Alvexo of trading scam”, signed by Jacques Duplessy, implicating me , calls for the following response from me:
First of all, it is important to specify that I am a technical analyst, professional trader and consultant. Manager of the Technibourse.com site, I am also a speaker and not a consultant on BFM Business. As such, I constantly ensure, like my colleagues, that investors are properly informed.
I wish to specify that I was contacted by Mr. Jacques Duplessy of the JDD within the framework of a project of article on the Trading and its evolution in general.
It is in this context that I shared with him my vision of the world of trading and its evolution, which can be summarized as follows: During my career, I have worked with almost all the brokers present and regulated in Europe. I have noticed over the past ten years that all trading platforms make a great deal of effort to support and train their clients. It is in this context that the latter call on financial experts, like me, making it a point of honor to provide investors with a range of services dedicated to training through conferences, webinars, news and related events.
The comments that I thus made in the context of this exchange and that I maintain are as follows: “Neophytes or amateurs in trading who arrive on the markets without adequate training or preparation are cannon fodder.”
It is important, in this regard, to emphasize that platforms are increasingly careful to alert investors to the high risk involved in trading leveraged products.