Regulation & Safety - Providing "peace of mind" to clients

Regulation (FSCA)

Atlantic Pearl (trading as Mt.Cook Financial) holds registrations with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA | https://www.fsca.co.za/), holding FSP Number: 50420.

South African resident clients can join “Atlantic Pearl Financial (PTY) Ltd” (Registration # 2019/140800/07) directly, as the parent license holder which is an authorised Financial Services Provider under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act No 37 of 2002 – FSP# 50420.

International clients can participate with “Atlantic Pearl Ltd.” ( (Bloomberg LEI: 254900XZNJPUMGKTRK15 | Company # 17164 and 2020/720330/10). Atlantic Pearl Ltd are a duly appointed Juristic Representative of Atlantic Pearl Financial (Pty) Ltd, and as such Atlantic Pearl Ltd renders financial services to clients on behalf of FSP # 50420 – Atlantic Pearl Financial (Pty) Ltd.

FSCA Oversight – The FSCA is a prestigious regulatory body in South Africa. They are the government of South Africa’s financial regulatory agency responsible for the entire non-banking financial services industry in South Africa. It is an independent body that supervises and regulates the financial services industry in the public interest. This includes the regulation of the biggest stock exchange in Africa the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. They also regulate all Capital Markets, Financial Service Providers, Collective Investment Schemes, Insurers, and Retirement Funds etc… (More info – https://www.fsca.co.za/).

 

Client Money Handling

Mt.Cook maintains stringent compliance policies in all aspects of its business to ensure that they remain up-to-date on all obligations.  As such, client capital is held in segregated accounts, independent from the company’s working and operating capital.

 

Professional Indemnity Insurance

Mt.Cook falls under a mandatory professional indemnity insurance policy which includes negligence, fraud, errors and omissions, breach of duty and civil liability, business interruption, cyber security and technology breaches, dishonest conduct of employees.

 

Counter-parties

Mt.Cook works with reputable vendors, custodian banks, prime brokers, stakeholders and technology providers. We are very discerning when it comes to our industry partners in order to fulfill our mandate of providing clients with a safe, stable, proficient and robust brokerage.

 

Anti-Money Laundering

Mt.Cook is fully compliant with, and strictly adheres to guidelines set by both local and International Anti-money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Acts and Policies.  A carefully designed AML/KYC Progamme and Risk assessment have been designed and put in place to screen for politically exposed persons (PEPs) and to keep Mt.Cook and our clients protected from engaging with criminals and money launderers. Mt.Cook screens our applicants against various watch lists and databases prior to being accepted as clients.  A brief overview of our compliance program can be found here.

 

Privacy

Your privacy is assured by Mt.Cook which applies to our existing clients as well as inquiries made by prospective clients. We are advocates of privacy, so would not compromise the privacy of any party when we in fact wish to teach privacy and protect privacy and this is held as a high priority.

We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that comply with applicable laws to protect our client’s non-public personal information and under no circumstances do we disclose any client data to third parties unless forced to do so by court order or unless otherwise required by law to a regulatory, law enforcement, or other authoritative body having the power to do so. An overview of our Privacy Policy can be found here.

 

Multiple Registrations

Mt.Cook has been built for both proficiency and efficiency and has been purposely structured as a multi-entity, and multi-jurisdictional group of companies consisting of Mt.Cook South Africa, Mt.Cook International (together, the “Mt.Cook Group of Companies”). This is to help better serve a diverse and growing local and international client base. Mt.Cook is not a traditional retail brokerage and has been generally designed as a brokerage with a heavy focus on technology, where industry professionals can come together from around the globe to access institutional quality trading conditions and get things done in a professional and “no-nonsense” fashion (i.e., without the burdensome red tape, hassle, slow pace, and bureaucracy often found at many of the larger retail market maker trading shops).

 

Common Safety FAQs

ARE MY FUNDS SAFE AT MT.COOK?
Please note that client funds remain segregated from operating capital, but pooled together with all clients in what is called an omnibus account (also called a “coverage” or “margin” account).

We, Mt.Cook as both an FSP and technology provider, have designed our business to assume relatively low levels of risk given we direct client flow straight to our Prime Counter-parties and ODPs (via Straight Through Processing / STP). This combined with the fact we strive to maintain low leverage issuance, and use proven technology, helps to ensure that we can effectively mitigate against most market threats and counter-party risk, by keeping our overall risk as a company as low as possible, and place safety and stability at the forefront of our entire business model.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MT.COOK WHERE TO GO BANKRUPT?
This is often an uneasy and awkward question for savvy clients to ask, but one that deserves full attention and transparency and should be an open and serious discussion.

In the event Mt.Cook (or our clearing/prime counter-party institutions) went in to bankruptcy the company would need to go in to special administration and would have an authorized insolvency practitioner appointed to administer and return any remaining assets back to clients. There may be fees associated with this, and time delays for the administration.

What are the odds of this happening?

Although we feel that this situation would be considered rare, it would be unprofessional for us to deny that this is of course possible, just as it is with any corporation, especially as volatility picks up in the global financial markets.

We feel these risks are reduced within our business for the following key 5 reasons;

  1. Mt.Cook has been in operation since 2013, giving us 7+ years of experience in the market place whereby we have built a strong brand and reputation in the industry. This is not a “startup” business, and thus, startup risk is removed.
  2. We route trades directly through to the inter-bank market in an “agency only model”, and thus do not run a risk book (b-book) in any form. We do not assume hedging risk and serve as an “intermediary” clearing agent only. While this may present other risks during black swan events, it is generally viewed and acknowledged as a less risky clearing model to traders.
  3. We hold registrations with a prestigious regulator (the Financial Sector Conduct Authority / FSCA).
  4. Mt.Cook strives to issue low overall leverage across all of our currency coverage accounts, thus keeping our book’s exposure low.
  5. Mt.Cook also designs, deploys, and utilizes risk management tools, protocols, and software (some of which we have been custom designed), and which are also available in conjunction with our Prime and Clearing partners to help keep us safe.

So while there may always be unavoidable market risks which may remain out of our control, we have designed our business model to help defend against these so that we and our clients remain as safe and protected as possible.