Gate 39 Media Staff
| Jul 10, 2012
As we go through the failure of PFGBest less than a year after MF Global, I wanted to alert brokers and GIBs in particular, to make sure you have ownership and access to your domain name. Being able to transfer your domain name in an emergency can help keep your email and website hosting up and running in the event of a crisis such as MF Global and PFGBest.
Why does an FCM have control of my domain name?
In the past, many FCMs tried to provide website and email hosting and support as a benefit to doing business with that FCM. In doing so, the FCM registered the domain name on behalf of the brokers. Unless ownership of the domain was transferred directly to the broker, it typically stayed registered to the person registering the domain name, typically the FCM.
What is the impact of losing control of my domain name?
During the MF Global we worked with a few brokers who could not access their website, retrieve their email, and manage the domain because the domain was considered an asset of MF Global and not the broker. They lost access to emails, leads, contacts and information stored on web servers.
How does the PFGBest shut down effect my website and email?
If the domain becomes an asset of the firm, chances are you will lose access to this domain for a long time (years and potentially forever) as the domain will be tied up in the courts. Additionally as staff is laid off, there will be no one supporting the servers that manage your email and website and will at some point be shut down. We saw this happen with MF Global.
How do I check if I own my domain name?
Go to GoDaddy or another major domain name registrar and look for the WHOIS (literally "Who is") link and type in your domain name. If it is now private, It will tell you who owns the domain or is listed as an administrator, and with which domain name registrar it's at. If your name comes up, you're in luck! You'll need to login with the domain name registrar it's at to try to retrieve your domain name.
How do I check where my website and email are hosted at?
This is a little more complicated. Typically there are name servers listed and those point to certain IP addresses. You can contact the domain name registrar to track it down and see to who's server it points to. Or contact your IT support staff for help.
What can I do now to protect myself?
If you have the domain ownership in your name, you will eventually lose access to these services, but you have time to set-up a new hosting and email account and can transfer to new services going forward to keep your business up and running. Start now!
Back it up and save it!
Keep copies of as much email and website content and data as possible. Begin downloading any emails you have now to your local hard drive and create a back-up file of your emails. Save/download/copy-paste as much content as you can from your website.
Control your own assets
Ownership of your domain name is the key here. With that you can point it anywhere you need to. You should have all of your emails and website backed up per NFA requirements, so the important thing is to be able to point elsewhere in an emergency.
FCM failures aside, we still see a number of brokerage firms (even those not so small) relying on their FCMs for email and web hosting. The IB simply accept the limitations and service received because it's "free", sacrificing control and security. Your email and website are integral to your business. Losing your email to communicate not only looks bad to your clients, it disrupts your business completely. With cloud-based email solutions available and very affordable there is little reason not to manage your own email and related infrastructure.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and i'll help as best as I can.