LONDON Jan 29 Retail foreign exchange broker IG
Group has offered some clients in Germany discounts on
debts incurred in the turmoil that followed Switzerland's
removal of a cap on the Swiss franc, two clients told Reuters.
One, a 26-year-old student and web-developer who saw his 300
euro ($340) investment on the euro against the Swiss franc turn
into a debt of 7,000 euros in less than an hour, said he had
been offered a 25 percent discount -- 1,750 euros -- from the
firm's Dusseldorf office, still leaving him owing 5,250 euros.
Phoned twice by Reuters on the issue on Wednesday and
Thursday, a spokesman for IG Group said only that the group was
following normal processes for reclaiming debts owed to it.
Another client, an engineer who is also 26, was left with a
debt of 280,000 euros after betting just 8,300 on the euro
against the Swiss franc. He said he has been offered a "not too
bad" deal though he did not want to disclose the amount, and
that those with larger losses were being offered more.
"They said, for example if you owed 1,000 euros and you had
to pay 5 percent back, that would just mean that you only had to
pay back 50 euros," he said, explaining that would not be enough
to teach a client to be more cautious, whereas 5 percent of a
much larger amount would be enough to make a difference.
"They want us to learn something. They don't want us to do
something like that again, probably."
IG is one of only a handful of retail brokers seeking
payment from individuals whose trading accounts ran into the red
in the chaotic minutes after the removal of the franc cap by the
Swiss National Bank on Jan. 15.
Earlier this week the FTSE 250 company said it was seeking
payment as it always did, "as promptly as possible", from a
group of 327 clients who had debts worth more than 17 million
pounds ($26 million).
Several of the IG clients have told Reuters they were
considering ways of challenging the losses. Bankers say that the
problems of retail brokers like IG with small individual clients
mirror similar discussions between major banks and some of their
biggest clients over the Jan. 15 trades.
(Reporting by Jemima Kelly; editing by Patrick Graham and Ruth