A few weeks back I received a package from a brokerage company based in S-Tower, Seoul. I hadn't heard of them, and don't know how they got my contact details. It was a glossy prospectus with some application forms.
Two weeks after that I received a call from one of their representatives. He was inviting me to take part in a block purchase they were making that day. I could get in on it for 80 Euro cents, and when it launches in a few weeks' time, it would start at 120 Euro cents and would probably climb to 140 Euro cents. They were offering this as a way to get new clients. Minimum investment was 5000 Euros. If I gave the assent and went through with it I would have three working days to settle, and they would send me the application forms through email. If I agreed to go ahead they would buy the shares with the company money, and he emphasised that he was trusting me to go ahead with the payment, but the block would close within a few hours so I needed to give an answer soon.
After speaking with my wife I gave a vocal approval to get in on the minimum amount.
After that, I checked out their website. It seemed oddly lacking. There were no case histories or staff details, no log in page or a place to download application forms. The advice on the page was generic.
I received their email and the instructions were to deposit the money into an account in Latvia.
I replied saying that I was concerned by the fact that there was nothing that indicated what I should do when it was time to sell or withdraw, and that they didn't require any instructions or account information on what to do when liquidating.
I did not hear back so I did not send the money. After the Christmas break I got a call back from the same fellow, saying that when I wanted to sell or liquidate I should just call him and at that point I would give my account instructions etc. This was well after the T+3. But now, he said, a window had closed so I would need to send the money to a DIFFERENT Latvian account.
I still haven't sent the money: , so I supposed I have gone back on a spoken agreement but the whole thing seems odd. My main causes for suspicion are:
1/ this seems like an amazing deal, a 50 to 70% return in a couple of months. Why are they offering this to me, a very small time investor whose previous experience is a modest use of E-Trade? He said it was to establish a "relationship" but surely they would be better off getting some big fish with this.
2/ T-3 came and went, I didn't send the money. If this were legit, and I were they, I would have said, "well, screw him, why bother with this nobody who is going to mess us around when we already have this fantastic deal." Instead, I've had repeated follow-up calls.
3/ The hokey state of the website.
4/ Why does it have to be a Latvian bank account?
Does this seem legit? Is there some way I can check? Do legitimate brokers sometimes operate like this?