MES Capital Group
A trading firm that purports to fund traders if they pass a “free” trading test. However, the trading “test” has nearly zero disclosure as to what is required to become a funded trader. Company promises to fund trader up to one million dollars, however company refuses to verify if these trading funds actually exist. Company refuses to disclose whether any traders have been funded. Company has zero transparency and no person is willing to claim ownership of company. The company claims tight affiliations with highly dubious trading educators which leads one to assume that the company is nothing more than a lead generating scheme for trading educators and futures brokers. The logical conclusion is this appears to be a “one man band” with a moderately sized trading account that is maybe willing to take a chance on funding a few retail traders. Not a serious prop trading firm with verifiable credentials.
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Thanks for reading today’s review of MES Capital Group.
What is MES Capital Group? MES Capital Group is a boutique prop trading firm that specializes in funding small scale futures traders. Per the company website, they proclaim a very simple, three step process to become a funded trader and receive up to one million dollars.
Step 1: “Send us your personal trading statements (or demo account fills) for 5 days. As you know other companies charge $400 per month for this. With us it’s FREE!”
Step 2: “Trial for 4 weeks (20 days). Maximum 2 contracts in 2 markets at one given time. Starting $15,000. – Make sure your account doesn’t fall below $13,500 – Maximum daily loss -$1,000.”
Step 3: “Get funded between $15,000 to $50,000, with a profit split of 50%. If you have the talent we can increase your funding up to $1,000,000.”
If any of the readers are familiar with the TopStepTrader program, then you can see that this appears to be a direct competitor to the TopStepTrader business model. However, the obvious difference is that TopStepTrader charges several hundred dollars each month in combine or testing fee’s, and MES Capital does not charge a combine or testing fee. To anyone that has been through the TopStepTrader combine or is currently contemplating the TopStepTrader program, then this appears to be a trader’s panacea. In fact, when I first looked at this offer…it appeared too good to be true.
The MES Capital Group website came online very recently. In fact, Archive.Org has not yet indexed either the MES Capital Group or the affiliated FuturesProfile websites. A deeper search revealed that both of these websites were registered in September, 2015. The FuturesProfile.com website now forwards to MESCapitalGroup.com. A search of the domain registration reveals that the
websites are registered to, and owned by a Kuwaiti named Sattam Alsabah. A search of the name Sattam Alsabah reveals a Kuwaiti national with close ties to the ruling family of Kuwait. I searched through the connecting profiles at LinkedIn which reveals over 200 connections, most to people with the same last name, Al Sabah. Who are these Al Sabah people? The Al Sabah family has ruled Kuwait since 1938, you can read all about the Al Sabah’s here. Sattam Alsabah appears to have graduated from Kogod School of Business in 2001.
Sattam Alsabah appears to be have a business partner named Serif Sisman that also graduated from Kogod University in the year 2000. Both men probably
schooled together as both proclaim to have studied finance and gotten an MBA from Kogod University in Kuwait.
The address for MES Capital Group is listed at 141 W. Jackson Blvd Suite 2026 Chicago, IL 60604. The phone number is listed as 312-578-0225. A google search of both the address and the phone number reveals that MES Capital is operating out of the same office as Vankar Trading, an introducing futures broker. A search of the NFA website reveals that Vankar Trading (NFA ID: 0312722) has three registered reps: John Karvelas, Mark Lenkowski, and Thierry Rabut. Ownership of the Vankar Trading is listed to both John and Thierry. When a person calls Vankar Trading, Mark Lenkowski usually picks up the phone.
A search of the CFTC website reveals that during 2012-2013, a registered representative of Vankar Trading offered a “magic” trading software program and educational courses on how to use the software. Howevever, the CFTC shut it down and ordered the Vankar Trading representative to pay a penalty of $140,000 on September 29, 2015. Apparently the Vankar Trading representative had made false claims regarding the software and had lied under oath to CFTC auditors.
A search of the NFA website reveals that Vankar Trading violated NFA rules regarding anti money laundering provisions. Vankar Trading was fined a total of $12,500.
Criminal background checks for Sattam Alsabah, Serif Sisman, John Karvelas, Mark Lenkowski, and Thierry Rabut all revealed no federal felonies, however a handful of minor infractions could be found. Nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing related to fraud.
Over the last 90 days, I gave gotten several dozen requests to review MES Capital Group. My initial assessment was that this looks very suspicious. On the surface, the website screams “Free Money for Traders” and/or is a cynical poke at TopStepTrader. Of course, everyone knows that there is no such thing as a free lunch for traders, especially the retail traders, whom are statistically proven to be the worst traders. And so my alarm bells started ringing. Whom would be crazy enough to start handing out money to a someone with only 20 days of trading on a simulator? Sounds like a recipe for financial disaster. Sort of like attempting to find your next wife in a brothel.
The majority of requests to TradingSchools.Org simply wanted to know if the opportunity was real. And whom exactly is offering this opportunity? The MES Capital Group website lists no ownership or company history whatsoever. There are also no state or federal filings for a corporation, limited liability company, or sole proprietor. Of course, anyone can simply throw together a website in an afternoon and start making wonderful promises of funding traders. I have uncovered quite a few that have made bold claims of funding traders, unfortunately they turned out to be scams. Some of those include: NOFT Traders, BonTrade, Nonko, Templeton Trading, and Main Streets America.
The Funded Trader Scam
So exactly how does a funded trader scam work? Its quite simple. The trading educational company offers a “trading education” at an average cost of $5,000. The company then promises that if the person learns all of materials, then the trading educational company will then provide a funded account of up to $50,000 (example) for whomever learns the educational materials and then subsequently passes a trading test. The test is conducted on a simulator. Once the person passes the test on the simulator, then they are granted the $50,000 trading account. However, the fine print clearly states that the person cannot lose more than $1,500 of the funded trader account. So, as you can see, the funded trader account of $50,000 surely sounds impressive…the reality is that the company is only allowing a total risk of $1,500.
The bottom line is that the trading educational company is taking in $5,000 and simply giving back $1,500, if the person can pass the simulator portion of the program. The net is the company makes $3,500 per customer, risk free.
Over the past year, a plethora of websites have popped up proclaiming to offer funding to traders, but only after they complete the several thousand dollar educational program and pass through a “test” on a simulator. To date, I have not had much luck finding legitimate opportunities…only vague promises and outright scams.
Legitimate Funded Trader Program
What does a legitimate funded trader program look like? Over the past year, of all of the funded trader programs that I have reviewed, there are a few things that I needed to verify the legitimacy of the opportunity. The first would be to verify that a substantial fund actually exists, and that requires that a registered broker speaks with me directly and confirms the size of the fund and the amount of traders currently trading the fund. Of all of the retail level programs that I have reviewed, only TopStepTrader could confirm that such accounts exist, and provided me with interviews with actual traders that are actively trading within the fund. TopStepTrader certainly has its own warts, but at least I can see the warts. More on TopStepTrader in a few days, lets stay focused.
Some of you might be thinking, “why should these firms even speak with Emmett Moore at TradingSchools.Org? Its their money, and they can do with it however they please!”. However, look at a company like IFundTraders.Com, which is run by a complete and total fraud by the name of Oliver Velez. He charges $10,000 to “teach” a person to trade, all with the grand carrot of maybe getting a funded trader account. Go ahead and Google “Oliver Velez funded trader scam”, you will find a wave of people that fell for Oliver’s funded trader hustle. Oliver Velez is one of many currently pushing the funded trader scam.
MES Capital Group: How could this be a scam?
For the past two months, I have tried extremely hard to get to the very core of the truth. Most of you reading this are probably thinking, “How could this be a scam?”. Seriously, MES Capital Group are only asking for five days of simulated account statements, and then they ask that a person take a free, 20 day simulator “test”, and if the person passes the simulator test then they get up to one million dollars. Sounds great right? On the surface, a person spends nothing in order to be evaluated, it appears to be a risk free proposition. The company is selling nothing! They have no educational products for sale, they charge nothing for the simulator! This could truly be a free lunch. However, lets take a closer look at how a company like MES Capital Group could possibly pull a scam. Lets go over a scenario.
Suppose that you visit MES Capital Group and you want that one million dollar funded trading account. And so, as per the website you send in 5 days of your trading results from a simulator. Of course, you are not going to send in poor results, and MES Capital Group already knows this. And so, you receive a congratulations from MES Capital Group and you have now made it to Step 2. MES Capital Group now wants you to use their simulator for the next 20 days. The 20 day evaluation period makes absolutely no mention of how much profit will qualify a person for a funded trader account. They are only asking that the account balance of the simulator does not fall below $13,500.
What if a person makes $5,000 on the simulator? Does he receive a guaranteed funded account? And for how much? What if he only makes $1,000? A funded account? There is no benchmark. Nothing substantive. Only a vague promise that perhaps a person could be funded with a minimum of $15k up to $1 million and all profits are split 50/50. This is a massive difference between TopStepTrader and MES Capital Group. With TopStepTrader, if you pass the combine, you get the funded account. With MES Capital Group, you have no clue what they will do, or if they will do anything at all.
What if you fail the MES Capital Group simulated trading test? Does a person get another attempt? Or are they banned for life? And whom would they even appeal too? MES Capital Group has absolutely nobody willing to accept responsiblity for the company. Any ownership listed on the MES Capital Group website? NOPE. Why go through all the trouble of hiding whom actually owns this company? That is, if it even is a company.
Go ahead and call Vankar Trading trading and ask to speak with whomever is in charge of MES Capital Group. The phone number is 312-578-0225. They will answer, but you wont get any answers. After I called Vankar Trading and pestered them for several days, I was transferred to Thierry Rabut and to his credit, he did attempt to answer some of my questions. But in the end, he could tell me nothing. He could only say that the trading account belonged to a wealthy retail client that was willing to take a chance on a few traders. How many traders? How much is the account? Whom is the account holder? On one call he told me several traders received funding, on another he told me 10 traders recieved funding, on yet another he told me 17 had recieved funding. All of these conversation between Thierry and myself were recorded, inconsistent, and quite frankly filled with holes. The truth is that whomever is running MES Capital Group wants absolutely nothing to do with my inquiry and will do everything in their power to avoid me. Why? What could they be hiding?
My Personal Opinion
A lot of people have emailed me and called me asking for a deep scrub of this company. To date, I have received a request from TopStepTrader and several other major players within the industry. In addition to TopStepTrader asking for information, I have also received inquiries from 9 different registered commodity brokers asking for info, and a I have received even more inquiries from retail traders wondering if this company is for real. The TopStepTrader people are mildly curious but consider MES Capital Group nothing more than a minor nuisance from a fringe, shanty player unwilling to accept any scrutiny. The registered commodity brokers consider MES Capital Group to be nothing more than a cheap marketing gimmick that could possibly bring in more retail trading customers, and ultimately generate additional trading commissions for Vankar Trading. What is my own personal opinion?
In my opinion, since MES Capital Group refuses to come into the light and reveal themselves, then I am forced into drawing conclusions from those that they themselves have chosen to closely affiliate themselves with. In short, whom does MES Capital Group consider to be their friends? After running a deep web search, and meticulously following the incoming web links that lead directly to the MES Capital Group website, we have found some very troubling affiliations with companies that many of my readers are all too aware of.
In particular, many TradingSchools.Org readers are very familiar with Global Trade Room, as well as Trade Order Flow. Both of these companies have gotten terrible reviews, and both are prominently featuring MES Capital Group on their websites. What do Global Trade Room and Trade Order Flow have to gain by prominently featuring MES Capital Group? Lets take a moment and think about the possibilities…
In my opinion, what I believe is happening is that MES Capital Group is probably funneling leads out to different trading educators, in exchange for a reciprical fee. How would this actually work? Suppose that a person takes the 20 day “FREE” trading test at MES Capital Group, but does not meet the minimum performance requirements? What happens then? MES Capital Group does not publish what a person must accomplish in order to be granted a funded trading account, and so theoretically a person can try and try and never be approved. However, what if said person receives a message directly from MES Capital Group that states that they have funded the most trading accounts to traders that specifically graduated from the educational programs at Global Trade Room or Trade Order Flow?
Can you now see how this virtuous cycle persists? A person unwittingly stumbles into a situation with MES Capital Group that may or may not provide funding. However, after the person fails the trading test, or does not perform up to the unknowable and unpublished performance metrics…then this person is referred out to a trading educator the MES Capital Group has worked with in the past, and they are more apt to provide funding to the traders that came from these specific educators. One hand washes the other hand.
Are you now starting to realize the possibilities of how a company like MES Capital Group could use the structure of their organization, with its implicit, pseudo guarantees of funding to be nothing more than an elaborate scheme to funnel out leads to trading educators? Of course, all of this is speculation, and right now I can prove nothing. But the smoke is gathering and I am hot on the trail.
Also of interest to me are several random emails that I have received from individuals that supposedly submitted actual account statements covering several months of actual, real time trading. The results were highly impressive and they certainly did not need funding, however they were curious if MES Capital Group would be willing to help them scale out and partake in their undeniably proven successes….unfortunately MES Capital Group did not approve them. Why? These are the hard cold questions that people should be willing to ask. Yet, they are so lost in the mirage of a “free” opportunity, that they cannot see the obvious pitfalls that stand before them.
Wrapping Things Up
In all fairness, I cannot say for sure if MES Capital Group is running a scam or is offering a legitimate opportunity. Everything that I have written is purely my opinion. However, it would of been very easy for me to write a fantastic, 5 star review of MES Capital Group if they would of provided even the most minimal amount of guidance on my questions. The closest that I got to having any official company representative respond to my requests was a series of very curt email exchanges that I had with Julia Harrington of MES Capital Group. In my request for answers to my questions, Julia simply responded in the emails “we are a business that does not need a review”, and “we have no competitors”. To me, her statements seemed brash, naive, disconnected, and embarrassingly unfamiliar with the landscape of the trading industry. Does MES Capital Group have competitors? Sure they do! Let me please help Ms. Harrington. Let me name just a few companies that offer funding to traders… AMR Capital, DE Shaw, Coastal, T3, ProTrade, Quasar, Marquette, Avatar, Globus, the list is so long, wide and deep that I would have to spend another hour listing your competitors Ms Harrington.
To the staff of MES Capital, this is a message specifically for you…I would love to revisit this review with more accurate and updated information. Thus far, I have recieved dozens of email messages, all asking specific questions relating to your company. Refusing to engage with the trading community, coupled with your affiliations with some very shady trading educators only leaves the impression that you are nothing more than a lead source for various trading educators.
Thanks for reading today’s review. And I have a message for the trading community…please send me any and all information on this company. Do you know of any actual funded traders? Did you submit account statements and pass the combine, were you offered a trading account? What were your personal experiences in dealing with this company? Do you know whom actually owns this company?