The Wall Street Journal invited Creveling & Creveling to be part of a panel of experts for personal finance on its WSJ Expat site. The following article originally appeared on the WSJ site and has been shared with permission.
By Peggy Creveling, CFA, and Chad Creveling, CFA
Although it may not be common to have problems with a brokerage account, fraud and bankruptcies can and do happen. These types of issues may occur most frequently in the offshore world where regulators may not have a handle on money being channeled through tax havens, but they can also happen in larger or better-regulated markets. For example, in January, several foreign exchange brokers went bust when the National Bank of Switzerland de-pegged the Swiss franc from the euro, and the franc appreciated rapidly against major currencies, resulting in mayhem in the forex trading community. The U.S. has had some recent high-profile brokerage bankruptcies, including the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and the fraud-related busts of firms like Bernie L. Madoff Investment Securities and MF Global. Fallout from the bursting of the Shanghai and Shenzhen market bubbles might normally lead to some broker bankruptcies, although in this case Chinese government intervention may stem the tide.