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Athens Markets
Updated on Apr 4, 2024
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Athens Markets has recently entered the Forex brokerage industry, attracting attention with its enticing offer of a 100% bonus match on initial deposits. However, it faces concerns regarding its legitimacy: regulatory compliance, licensing, and transparency issues. Numerous reports and user testimonials have flagged critical problems, including difficulties with deposits and withdrawals and customer support interactions.

We do not recommend opening an account with Athens Markets.

In this article, we will delve into the primary reasons behind our recommendation to avoid opening an account with Athens Markets. We believe paying close attention to several warning signs associated with this broker is imperative, which we will examine comprehensively in our review.

What is Athens Markets?

Athens Markets operates as a Forex brokerage firm, providing clients access to trade Forex, shares, indices, cryptocurrencies, futures, and commodities. It’s important to understand that with Athens Markets, you don’t actually acquire ownership of the assets you invest in. Instead, you gain exposure to various assets through a Contract for Difference (CFD).

The broker was founded in 2021, and they offer straight-through processing (STP) execution at competitive spreads starting at 0 pips, with the advantage of no deposit fees. However, the information available on their website about specific trading instruments and the associated costs needs to be more comprehensive. Crucial details such as the maximum leverage options, the variety of withdrawal methods available, and the expected transaction processing times must be explicitly outlined, leaving potential and current clients without clear guidance on these critical aspects of trading with Athens Markets.

Is Athens Markets regulated?

Athens Markets Ltd. is officially registered in St. Lucia and operates under its jurisdiction’s legal framework. However, a thorough review of their website and critical documents, including their risk disclosure and privacy policy, revealed no specific information about regulatory oversight. This absence of clear regulatory information leads us to conclude that Athens Markets Ltd. is an unregulated broker operating without a formal license, suggesting that it is a high-risk trading option.

Although some US clients managed to open accounts with Athens Markets, the company is not registered with the SEC or the CFTC, the regulatory bodies responsible for overseeing brokers within the U.S. financial markets. Consequently, Athens Markets is not considered regulated in the US. However, most of its traffic comes from this country, which means it is operating illegally, a huge warning signal.

A primary factor we consider when evaluating a broker is its regulation status, especially by top-tier regulators (SEC, FCA, ASIC, BaFin, etc.). The primary concern with unregulated or offshore brokers centers around their lack of stringent regulatory oversight, which significantly compromises traders’ safety and security. Engaging with such brokers can carry a considerable risk, potentially exposing traders to fraudulent activities common in the Forex market.

The lack of regulatory oversight is enough for us to conclude that investors should not open an account with Athens Markets. However, we will still analyse their offering to help you have a broader picture of the broker. Even though, in extreme cases (like fraud or scam), the information provided will not be accurate. Please keep that in mind.

Account types

Athens Markets offers two account types: Athens Standard and Athens Pro. Both accounts provide cost-effective trading with RAW spreads starting at 0.01 pips and charge a flat-rate commission with hedging enabled and an EA (Expert Advisor).

Upon review, it appears that Athens Standard and Athens Pro accounts are pretty similar in their offerings, with no significant distinctions between the two, with the main differences in cost and spread. However, traders have noted that the spreads tend to be above the market average, and the commissions are notably high.

Additionally, the broker hasn’t specified the leverage options available for these accounts. Still, we found out that they offer a leverage of up to 500x based on one of their Instagram posts (according to the European Union regulation, for example, this would be impossible since the maximum leverage allowed for a retail investor is up to 30x). The lack of detailed information about account conditions and features is concerning, as it leaves traders uncertain about what they can expect from the broker.

Account types

Platform and trading experience

Athens Markets offers the well-known MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platforms. The MT4 is widely used by Forex traders, allowing for detailed charting and automated trading setups. The MT5 version offers advanced features and broader trading options. Additionally, they offer a mobile trading app that allows users to monitor markets and manage trades directly from a smartphone or tablet.

Athens Markets lacks comprehensive educational resources designed to enhance traders’ skills. While they maintain a blog featuring general articles, this differs from the advanced educational offerings provided by regulated brokers like XTB and IG, known for their extensive learning materials and tools designed to support traders at all levels.

After analysing social media feedback, we noted that Athens Markets’ MetaTrader server faced accessibility issues for several clients over multiple days. Disruptions like these can lead to missed trading opportunities, increased client stress, a loss of trust in the brokerage, and potential financial losses for active traders.

Account opening

Registering for an account with Athens Markets is straightforward. The documents accepted for this purpose are your passport, driver’s license, or national identity card. You’ll also need to present proof of your residence. You can upload these documents either directly through your computer’s camera or via a QR code on your phone. Once verified, you can proceed with funding your account.

Account opening

Deposit and Withdrawal

Initially, Athens Markets exclusively accepted cryptocurrencies as a way to deposit funds, supporting transactions in BTC, ETH, USDT ERC20, and USDC ERC20. However, recently, they introduced new payment options for their clients, including debit or credit cards, Apple Pay, and many other electronic payment options.

Numerous clients have reported issues with withdrawing funds, highlighting a significant area of concern. It’s crucial to remain vigilant, particularly due to the risk of scams associated with crypto wallets.

Deposit methods

Customer support

Athens Markets’ website states that their customer support operates around the clock. However, attempts to engage with them through Instagram, particularly to inquire about their regulatory status, remained unanswered for more than 72 hours. Additionally, multiple clients have reported difficulties contacting customer support despite sending numerous emails.

Customer reviews

The customer reviews of Athens Markets present positive and negative feedback about the platform. For example, on Trustpilot, Athens Market has an overall rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars based on over 130 reviews. Although you might think it is relatively high, not all the users providing feedback are Trustpilot-verified users, and most of them have made one review of the platform.

Positive reviews include users expressing satisfaction with their trading experiences and praising the good customer support and trading platforms. Conversely, a significant number of users have reported negative experiences. Common issues cited include challenges in withdrawing funds, with some alleging that their money was either withheld or misappropriated. Additionally, many users reported difficulties accessing the MetaTrader platform and being able to find the broker’s server.

Social media: warning signs

Athens Markets exhibits a relatively minimal presence on major social media networks. The company is notably absent from widely used platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, raising potential concerns about its visibility and accessibility. Currently, their digital footprint is confined to an Instagram account and a YouTube channel, with a modest following of over 6,000 on Instagram and around 400 subscribers on YouTube, indicating a relatively subdued presence.

The absence of a LinkedIn page is particularly noteworthy. Typically, such a page validates a company’s operational status and offers insights into its key executives and organizational structure. The lack of this transparency can often be interpreted as a significant red flag, prompting caution among potential clients seeking to understand the company’s credibility and professional standing.

Is Athens Markets a scam or legit?

There is insufficient information to conclude with 100% certainty that it is a scam. However, several signs should make you think twice before opening an account.

At Investing in the Web, we focus on endorsing platforms known for their reliability, user-focused features, and adherence to stringent regulations. We do not recommend using Athens Markets as a Forex broker due to its unregulated status and considerable negative feedback.

We recommend favouring thoroughly regulated brokers with a track record of positive feedback from a wide user base. In the case of Athens Markets, it lacks a proven track record and has been subject to marketing promotions by some YouTube influencers who make unrealistic promises of substantial profits from minimal trading hours. Such claims are often indicative of a scam. These marketing materials are designed to entice potential clients into opening accounts without providing a transparent or reliable investment platform.

Athens Markets alternatives

When choosing a regulated online broker, prioritise those adhering to strict regulatory standards and meeting your specific trading needs. Our recommended brokers are regulated by reputable financial authorities, guaranteeing investor protection and transparency. Additionally, they provide competitive fees, reliable customer support, and robust security measures to protect your investments and personal data.

  1. Interactive Brokers
    Best for intermediate and advanced investors
  2. XTB
    Best for Forex and CFDs

Interested in more alternatives? Check our in-depth brokers’ list and reviews.

Conclusion

When considering opening an account with a broker, it’s crucial to verify various factors:

  • Regulatory Compliance: Ensuring the broker adheres to legal standards and offers investor protection.
  • Security Measures: Investigating the measures implemented to safeguard your personal and financial information.
  • Fees and Spreads: Gaining clarity on the fees and spreads to anticipate the financial implications of your trading activities.
  • Range of Instruments and Markets: Ensuring the broker provides access to the financial products and markets relevant to your investment goals.
  • Trading Platform Usability: Evaluating the platform’s ease of use, features, and technological reliability.
  • Customer Service:  Evaluating the quality, promptness, and availability of support channels for timely assistance.

While Athens Markets may have satisfied certain users, considerable concerns remain regarding its business operations, especially regulatory compliance, the transparency of fees and spreads, and the adequacy of customer support. These concerns necessitate a cautious approach from potential traders, taking into account the mixed feedback and potential warning signs.

Whether you are a new investor or a seasoned professional, we hope this article helped answer a few of your concerns. We recommend you always start with a demo account to familiarise yourself with the broker’s features, which can significantly guide your ultimate choice.

FAQs

What are the common complaints about Athens Markets?

Some users have reported issues related to the transparency of fees, long withdrawal processing times, the responsiveness of customer support, and the overall reliability of the platform.

How can I verify if a broker is legitimate?

Here are a few steps you can follow to check if a broker is legitimate:

  • Check if the broker is regulated by a reputable financial authority (FCA, SEC, BaFin,…).
  • Look for reviews and testimonials from credible sources.
  • Ensure the broker’s transparency in terms of fees, spreads, and terms of service.

Additionally, you might find it beneficial to consult our in-depth reviews, where we evaluate the broker’s operations and provide an unbiased opinion on their offerings.

How can I test a broker before committing?

Many reputable brokers offer demo accounts that allow you to test the trading platform and its features without risking real money. We also recommend researching the broker’s background, regulatory compliance, and user reviews. You can also start with a small amount of capital to test the withdrawal process and the responsiveness of customer support.

What should I consider when choosing a Forex broker?

When selecting a broker, it’s essential to consider several key factors that align with your individual trading style and objectives.

  • Evaluate the broker’s regulatory status and track record to ensure compliance and reliability.
  • Assess the trading instruments offered to ensure they meet your investment needs.
  • Understand the fee structure and commission rates to gauge the cost-effectiveness of your trades.
  • Check the quality and functionality of the trading platform, along with the available technical tools, is crucial for a seamless trading experience.
  • Ensure that their customer service is responsive, as it is vital to providing timely support and assistance.
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About the author
Toni Nasr, CFA, FRM
Fintech Analyst

Toni is a Fintech Analyst with over 8 years of experience in the financial industry where he worked as a financial control analyst at a regional bank and later conducted independent investment research analysis.