Why Doesn’t Stern Options Suck in 50 Words
I’m trying guys, I’m trying… they don’t suck because… ah no, that’s not it. The colors of the website are nice… no, that can’t be it either. They say they are the “World’s most acclaimed trading environment” and “the most experienced group of professionals in the industry”. Yes! That’s it! They don’t suck because they say they are the best and I have no choice but to believe them… or maybe I suck at seeing why they don’t suck.
Why Does Stern Options Suck in 50 Words
Unregulated brokerage, new on the scene, unclear information regarding the owning company and address… sorry but that doesn’t sound too reliable to me. Also, they are using the SpotOption platform and although this is not a bad platform by itself, it shows that Stern Options are just going with the herd (about 70% of brokerages are using the Spot platform) and are not willing to take a risk and build their own platform.
Is SternOptions A Scam?
There are warning bells all over here. What I do know is that Stern Options has no outstanding regulation. Their Terms and Conditions say they are owned and operated by BP1 LP, but no address is listed. According to the British Companies House, their address has changed from 272 bath street, Glasgow, G2 4JR to Suite 2 5 St Vincent Street, Edinburgh, Scotland, Uk, EH3 6SW. I have to mention that upon a Google search, I’ve found out that both these addresses are most likely virtual offices, so if you choose to trust an unregulated company, with a virtual office address… well, you are an adult and responsible for your actions.
Should I Open An Account With Stern Options?
The information about SternOptions is mixed and rather uncertain. According to their website and Terms & Conditions, Stern Options is owned and operated by BP1 LP, but we couldn’t find an address on their website. According to other sources, they are located on 5th and 6th Floors, Landmark Building, 14 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd., Sofia, 1000, Bulgaria.
According to yet another source, the owning company of Stern Options is GUM Ltd., with address: 3rd floor C & H Towers, Corner of Great Marlborough and Great George Streets, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica. Some websites list the owning company as BP1 LP, with address 272 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JR, Scotland. I have no idea which address is the real one.
Right from the start, I could tell that Stern Options is a broker with the same characteristics as most SpotOption operators: they are the best, they have the most advanced platform, their employees are the most professional and experienced. If I were to list them I should end my review here and conclude they are the best brokerage on the planet. Obviously, I am not going to do that!
Even if they say they’re the best, I beg to differ. I haven’t seen anything that can make me consider them more than mediocre: the FAQ section answers some of the questions a new trader may have, but obviously, not all, the education section is composed of some tutorials and an e-book (the same one that can be found on most SpotOption brokers). The minimum deposit is 250 EUR/USD/GBP/AUD but I couldn’t get any information about the accounts or the perks of each account type. I asked a live support representative to direct me to a page that contains the details of each account type and… Surprise: I was asked if I have an account with them. Well, No! If I am asking about what types of accounts you offer, there’s a huge chance that I don’t have an account. Ok, then she asked me my full name, email address, and phone number. All of this just to know what are my account choices. But I went with it and I gave her my [phony] information and I was expecting an answer to my question… finally. But, surprise again: she told me she is just technical support and cannot help me but instructed me to open an account, telling me that after I do that, I will get the information I need. So it’s basically like this: Client – “I want to order lunch. Show me the Menu please” Support/Waiter – “Order first, then you get the Menu!!!” Oh, my, the professionalism…
So let’s answer the initial question: should you open an account with Stern Options? I honestly don’t think so. For now, they don’t offer anything that stands out and I believe there are better choices of brokerage. As long as the big, well-respected, and regulated brokerages still accept new clients, why would you go for a newly launched one, that doesn’t offer a lot of certainty for the moment? Maybe in the future, I will change my answer but for that to happen, Stern Options need to put in a lot of work.
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The internet is going crazy with complaints about Stern Options (you can also find tons of them in our Comments section below this review). The reasons are various but the biggest problems are the inability to withdraw and the fact that account managers are blowing accounts left and right.
One client lost about 42,000 Pounds due to bad trades made by his account manager (according to the client, the manager got one trade right in 12) and then he was asked to loan 20K more to make the money back. I really hope he didn’t add more money but this just goes to show one more time that you shouldn’t trust the broker’s employee to trade your money… especially if he’s working for Stern Options.
SternOptions Regulatory Warnings and Announcements
02/06/2017: The British Financial Conduct Authority warned that Stern Options has been providing financial services or products in the UK without their authorization The FCA also mentioned that some unauthorized firms knowingly run investment scams and warned people to stay away. Source: FCA Warning.
11/07/2017: The New Zealand Financial Market Authority issued a similar warning. They also mentioned that Stern Options representatives are cold-calling New Zealand residents. Source: FMA Warning.
The exact amount of the bonus is not specified but their Terms and Conditions stipulate that you will have to reach a turnover of 27 times the bonus before you can withdraw. Why 27 times and not 30 or 25? Your guess is as good as mine…
There is no minimum withdrawal amount and the methods are credit cards, wire transfers, and Skrill. The duration of withdrawals is usually 7 business days and some identification documents are required, in order to comply with Anti-Money Laundering rules.
They have an Economic Calendar. This can hardly be considered an Extra feature but it’s the closest thing and I don’t want to leave this section empty.
Trading Bitcoin With SternOptions
The SpotOption platform supports a lot of cryptocurrencies and SternOptions is taking full advantage of that, offering CFDs on Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Gold, Dash, and others. Cryptocurrency pairs are also available: Bitcoin vs Dash (BTC/DASH), Bitcoin vs Ethereum (BTC/ETH), etc., but also Cryptos vs Fiat currency: BTC/USD, BTC/EUR, ETH/JPY, etc. This is not the full list of assets; they have much more so if you are into crypto trading, you will probably be satisfied by their offering.
The downside is that SternOptions does not offer Binary Options on Bitcoin and altcoins, only Contracts For Difference (CFD) so if you are only familiar with BO, you will have to put in a bit of work to understand how CFDs work. The upside, however, is that you can use the leverage of up to 3:1. It’s not a lot but it’s better than nothing.
Stern Options Ratings
User Friendly 16/20
The website is available only in English and German so that won’t get them many points for user-friendliness. While browsing their website, some text switched to German while the rest of the page remained in English – again, not very friendly. On the other hand, the SpotOption platform is well-known for its ease of use.
Number of assets and expiry times 16/20
They offer 12 currency pairs, 19 stocks, 7 commodities, and 19 indices. Compared to other brokers, this is a thin asset basket and on top of that, not all assets listed in their Asset Index were available on the trading platform even if the underlying market was open at the time. The expiries range from extremely fast (60, 90, 120, 180, and 300 seconds) to 15 minutes, half an hour, and hourly and long term. The SpotOption platform is known for its flexibility and it doesn’t fail here.
Commissions, Support, and Effective return 15/20
There are no commissions for opening an account (this is common for all brokers) but there are some fees for withdrawals: 3.5% of the amount you want to withdraw if you are using a Credit Card and 15 USD per wire transfer. Deposits via wire transfer (above 500 USD) will incur a 20 USD fee. Live Support was just a waste of time and totally unhelpful. The effective return ranges between 70% and 85% but you should always check the displayed return before investing because it can get lower than 70%.
Deposit, Payment, and Bonus 14/20
The min deposit is $250. Deposits can be made via credit/debit cards, bank transfers, and e-wallets (Skrill). Withdrawals can be made via the same method used for the deposit. Identification documents are required, as well as a Voice Signature. For the latter identification method, you will need to contact your account manager. The bonus turnover is 27 times.
Website Extras 13/20
Nothing really stands out except their Economic Calendar, which is pretty well put together.
Stern Options Overall Ratings: 74/100