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Alleged victims of IG Markets CFD products file class action

4 minute read

BigLaw firm Piper Alderman and litigation funder Omni Bridgeway have commenced proceedings on behalf of alleged victims who claim to have collectively lost hundreds of millions of dollars trading contracts for difference offered by IG Markets.

Piper Alderman and Omni Bridgeway have filed a class action against IG Markets Limited on behalf of up to 20,000 Australian investors who allegedly have collectively lost hundreds of millions of dollars trading controversial financial products called contracts for difference (CFDs).

Following an in-depth investigation spanning a number of months, the proceedings were commenced in the Victorian Registry of the Federal Court of Australia.

The claim alleges that a UK-backed financial services firm, IG Markets, consistently marketed complex CFDs to inexperienced investors and facilitated those investors to trade in CFDs without applying adequate checks and balances.


Also, according to the claim, IG Markets failed to adequately assess investors’ objectives, financial situations and inadequately disclosed the risks of CFDs until the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) introduced strict new conditions on CFDs to protect inexperienced investors in March 2021.

Those conditions followed a review by the regulator which found that 72 per cent of retail clients who traded CFDs lost money.

ASIC has also successfully brought proceedings against a number of CFD licensees operating in Australia in relation to historical conduct, with penalties awarded in excess of $75 million.

CFDs have also been banned in some other countries, including the US, and are likened to gambling on financial markets.

The Federal Court of Australia has described these products as “financial heroin hits” in the hands of unsophisticated retail investors.

ASIC data suggests that the total losses for retail investors with IG Markets is over $800 million.

Piper Alderman partner Kate Sambrook said, “There is evidence that highly-leverage CFDs should never have been marketed to everyday Australian investors who had little or no experience in trading such complex products” and “The class action seeks to provide a remedy and recover these losses for retail investors who should never have been exposed to trading in such complex, high-risk products.”

A CFD is a “leveraged” financial product that enables investors to take a position on the movement of an underlying asset — such as a share, a share price index, a commodity, a currency or even a cryptocurrency — without owning the asset itself, the firm and funder noted in a joint statement.

“The investor pays only a fraction of what the underlying asset is worth and bets on whether the asset will increase or decrease in value. If an investor bets correctly, they can generate significant profits. But if they bet incorrectly, their losses can be equally significant, and can far exceed the amount of their initial investment,” it outlined.

Hundreds of affected individuals have already registered for the class action, the joint statement said.

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.