This is similar to the way that I view things. As US residents, our options are severely limited. As a result, we have to work with what we have available to us.
When you look at the type of complaints that some people post about various brokers, the timing and circumstances that were happening when the issues occurred, and you see both sides of the story, it quickly becomes evident that a lot of the issues could have been avoided in the first place, or at the very least, are isolated cases. Some of the issues that people are posting about are not even the brokers’ fault. But when a newbie reads a thread and sees the word SCAM, they are quickly turned away by it, regardless of what kind of details were actually provided or what circumstances lead to the issue(s) in the first place. This does not even touch on issues relating to heavy-handed, cross-border regulatory attempts or arbitrary, red-tape banking procedures et al…
When you consider the probable amount of happy traders that continue to quietly use many of these brokers on a daily basis vs. the small number and severity of most of the complaints that get published, it becomes easier to sift through the nonsense. Not to say that this is applicable to all brokers, but even the best service providers in the world will have naysayers crying foul – regardless of what kind of business they are in.
The way that I look at it is this…if you are going to use an unregulated broker, then you need to take the necessary steps to mitigate your risks accordingly. That means that you do not trade with more money than you are comfortable with losing at the drop of a hat. That means that you pull out profits, regularly, in the event that a broker decides to bail without notice. You do NOT put all of your eggs in one basket. As soon as you double your account balance (or, as soon as you are able), you pull your profits out so that you are playing with house money. You should trade everyday with the idea that the broker might disappear or get shut down tomorrow. If you do these things, then it does not matter if this or that broker is a scammer in the end – get in, secure your profits as often and for as long as you can, then move on to the next one.
People need to be smart and use some common sense. They need to read and educate themselves.
That being said, risk is subjective. My level of risk-tolerance may differ from the next guy, and that is okay. Trading is not for everyone. Trading with an unregulated broker is definitely not for everyone. I also do not rely on trading to pay my rent/mortgage, so it may be easier for me to think the way that I do.
Anything that I allocate for trading is play money; it does not matter if I lose it. I certainly would never load up an account with 6-figures, borrow money, use living expenses and/or my life savings etc. to trade with an unregulated broker. That just seems reckless and unnecessary to me.
Comments regarding broker anonymity are moot, in my opinion. Why? Because, again, it does not matter if a broker turns out to be a scammer in the end, so long as I am being smart about things. Not only that, but many of these brokers that are choosing to skirt regulation, albeit for more profits, are actually a gift for us US-based traders. Without them, we would really be screwed. It is understandable that they are going to have to do some shady things and hide their identity in order to service clients that reside inside heavily-regulated jurisdictions. If a broker is paying people for good reviews to get more exposure, I really do not care…so long as I can be profitable with my trading through them. If I cannot, or something doesn’t seem right, fine…I move on to the next broker. I understand the reality that we face with these unregulated brokers.