Osmai FX claims to provide a “reliable alternative investment opportunity” that generates returns from Forex trading.
In a video and performance table on their website, the scheme claims to have generated 42% annual returns since 2016. It also claims to offer “medium to long-term growth with minimal risk” and “slow and steady returns”.
The scheme is currently advertising to UK investors via Facebook.
Who are Osmai?
Osmai claims to be registered in the British Virgin Islands as Osmai Management Limited. I was not able to verify this as the BVI company register is not freely searchable. In any case, basic incorporation is worthless for due diligence purposes.
Osmai claims to be run by a Hal Robb and provides a picture. There is a Hal Robb who has had a profile on quora.com for about three years, with the same picture, answering innocuous questions about his home country of Thailand and forex trading, but I’m very dubious it’s the same guy as that Hal Robb gives his company name as “East West Trading” rather than Osmai. Identity theft is a real possibility.
Osmai’s website also features a video by some schmuck who introduces himself as “Ben Hawkes” before reading out Osmai’s advert in front of a green screen. “Hawkes” does not claim a role in the company and appears to be a paid actor.
One thing that can be verified is that Osmai’s claim to have been running since 2016 is nonsense. Osmai’s Facebook page and website were registered in December 2020. There is no evidence that Osmai existed before this date.
Update 31.03.21: After contact from Ben Hawkes in the comments and via email, and some more digging on LinkedIn on my part, I turned up a webinar which appears to confirm that the Quora / East West Trading Hal Robb and the Osmai Hal Robb are the same person.
Importantly, there remains no public disclosure by Osmai of who actually runs and controls the business. Due to its registration in the British Virgin Islands, details of who owns the company are not publicly available. Hawkes styles himself as “Business Development Director” in his emails; while the only employee listed on Osmai’s LinkedIn page, Scott Hattrell, describes himself as “Client Director” and “specialist consultant”.
Investors should think long and hard before handing their money to a company which does not disclose details of its ownership and key personnel.
How safe is the investment?
Osmai FX claims to offer “minimal risk” yet also claims to have generated 42% per year returns since 2016 (despite no public evidence of its existence until December 2020.)
On this point I think the real Hal Robb put it best on his Quora page: “All investments contain an element of risk. For a “stranger” or anyone else to not spell out the risk is a big red flag.”
Even if Osmai’s 42% returns were real, it would still be breaking the law.
Osmai’s Facebook adverts and website represent a financial promotion. Issuing financial promotions in the UK requires authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. Osmai FX is not authorised by the FCA and does not disclose registration with any other financial regulator.
The only reason for Osmai FX to promote itself illegally instead of applying for FCA authorisation is if its fantastical returns don’t exist.
As Osmai FX has no magic strategy generating returns of 42% per year, any returns to investors will either be illusory (“numbers on a screen”) or, if real money is paid into an investor’s account, this will be funded by the investors’ own money or that of others, making Osmai FX a Ponzi scheme.
In an attempt to reassure investors that it can’t steal their money, Osmai claims “you control the money, we control the trades” and that investors’ money will be held by an Australian broker, IC markets, rather than Osmai itself.
The reality is that “you control the money, we control the trades” is nonsense. Either Osmai controls your money or it doesn’t.
Even if we take Osmai’s claim that it doesn’t have the power to simply withdraw investors’ money into its bank account at face value (and given its lies about running since 2016 and criminal activity, you shouldn’t), all it has to do is use the control investors have given it over their money to buy worthless penny shares or cryptocurrencies that it has pre-purchased. Result: Osmai’s anonymous operators disappear with investors’ money and investors are left with worthless garbage.
Should I invest with Osmai FX?
This blog does not give financial advice. The following are statements of publicly available facts or widely accepted investment principles, not a personalised recommendation. Investors should consult a regulated independent financial adviser if they are in any doubt.
Any investment offering returns of 41% per year with “minimal risk” is in reality a virtually guaranteed loser for all but those running it. The mathematics of Ponzi schemes guarantees that the vast majority, if not all, of investors will lose their money.
Do not invest unless you are prepared for total losses.