In this review from IBuyIReview, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the latest buzz in the MLM realm: iMarketsLive, or as some people know it, IM Mastery Academy. This subscription product is all about becoming a professional at FOREX, and they offer an affiliate program to boot.
This company hasn’t been around for long, but it is making quite a controversial splash in the financial space. Some people love the program, while others have a terrible experience with their customer service and claim it’s a scam.
So, which is it? Is iMarketsLive scam or a legitimate program?
It’s time to debunk the truth…
Table of Contents
How Long Has iMarketsLive Been in Business?
iMarketsLive, or International Markets Live, Inc., has been operating since 2013. Regardless of the business model you follow, operating a business in the financial space can be tricky at best.
The company hasn’t been completely up to regulations with following the legalities of this type of business, but it does look like they are trying to, all while offering an affiliate product and following an MLM business structure.
On top of that, according to the latest data, they have a customer base of over 55-thousand people, and they are operating in 120 countries.
That’s a lot of layers that their lawyer must have to handle. I would not want to be that guy.
The company’s main offering is that they will teach you how to invest your money wisely. (1) Of course, however, their goal is to make as much money off of you as possible while they do it.
The legacy of iMarketsLive seems to have stopped in its tracks in 2019 if you look at the trends, but in reality, the company decided to rebrand its business.
While the rebrand might not have gone as smoothly as they had hoped, as they had already gained so much brand recognition, good and bad, through the iMarketsLive name, it is almost as if it is a calling card of any MLM to change its name at least once.
After their announcement in 2019, the company would officially be called “IM Mastery Academy.”
The new IM Mastery branding makes it seem like a new internet marketing course from the latest digital entrepreneur guru.
Who Is Christopher Terry?
Christopher Terry is the CEO of the brand that hosts the program. You can watch his introduction in the training section of the program, and he's not shy about how he made his success.
In 2020, his net worth was estimated to sit around $2.6 million, and he has made some big trades in his day. Growing up in the Bronx and making his way from a construction worker to a successful stock trader, the man has a life story that a lot of people can relate to.
With a mind for business, he created his own construction company in New York. This company wound up generating over $40 million in revenue by the time he decided to leave it to pursue investing full-time.
Since 1995, the man has been big into trading, specifically in the Forex, Futures, and Equity markets. He claims to have helped thousands of traders across the globe reach “financial independence,” but I was unable to verify the claim.
That, however, wasn’t good enough to satisfy his entrepreneurial cravings. He partnered with others throughout the years to build live programs and moderate live trading rooms, but it still wasn’t the right fit for him. In 2012, he left his business partner and created International Markets Live, Inc.
He is a big public speaker but doesn’t have much of an online presence, which is odd considering his brand is now based online. Still, he prefers speaking at expos and conferences over online platforms like YouTube or Instagram, but he does have a modest Instagram following of over 88K followers. He has a few posts, but you can tell that the man does not prioritize his social media presence.
What is The Program About?
iMarketsLive is a financial trading program that is dedicated to teaching you about trading. The program is designed to take anyone from knowing absolutely nothing about trading or investing in foreign exchange currency to an experienced almost-professional investor.
Everything is taught to you by experts that have been in the business for 20 years or more. These same instructors hype the product up by claiming it’s worth thousands of dollars more than you are purchasing it for because not only are they providing “excellent investment advice,” but you can boost your sales through the network marketing opportunity available through their business model.
Since the stock market isn’t open over the weekend, certain international markets are. Still, something they won’t tell you on the box is that their trading room, where you can see the experts make their sales and trades in real-time, is only open on Monday through Friday. This makes me wonder how many of those experts’ trades are happening in the off-hours in international markets. Even if the market isn’t open, I would want to be able to jump into the trading room and check things out, even if I’m unable to make trades myself until the workweek begins.
To me, this is the same story as every other MLM brand and big-name guru out there, except the industry and topic, is a little different and the main brand message is slightly different. It’s like someone is out there, copy-pasting business models and marketing approaches for every MLM, I swear.
What Does the Program Provide?
Inside the program, you’ll be able to watch what these expert investors do. Every sale and trade they make, and you can mimic it by making your own sales and trades through the same program.
The program is purchased on a monthly subscription basis and provides you with several investing tools that the brand has developed, including a “pattern scanner” which looks for patterns in the stock market and helps you find the best investment opportunities.
Unfortunately, these tools are not personalized, so if someone sets the same parameters, they’ll get the same recommendation, so it’s important to jump on any opportunities as quickly as possible to buy for the rate you are hoping for.
The software also includes a section for training which is filled to the brim with training videos and written articles from these very same experts that you are watching in the trading room.
The training center is probably the most valuable part of the program in my opinion, though I can definitely see some areas where they could have expanded the article or video to include more comprehensive information. Still, it gave me a great place where I could start my own independent search.
Overall, there’s some good information in the training section of the software, and if you’re really into investing, you might find the live trading room interesting. Just, be sure to steer clear of all of the MLM talk and hype that the experts go through. If you keep your eyes peeled for scams and over-hyped products and trends, it’s an interesting program to poke around in.
What is FOREX Trading?
Forex trading, also known as FX, is short for “Foreign Exchange Trading.” (2) This is a method of trading taught by the investors at iMarketsLive or IM Mastery.
Forex is a foreign marketplace for traders who are looking to make investments and play the stock market by exchanging currencies back and forth, making incremental amounts of money each time if done correctly.
The theory behind the strategy is that, as currencies rise and fall in value, they can be exchanged to make money off of the difference between the two, thus the incremental gains.
Interestingly, this type of trading cannot be done at the physical, centralized stock market. Rather, trades must be made online between computer networks across the globe.
Currency exchange happens naturally through trade; however, FX trading is an example of the currency exchange happening directly without the sale of goods or services as an in-between measure.
Prices and rates change constantly, and the market is open 24-hours a day, providing an ever-changing landscape and a new challenge every day for investors. For day traders who like to stay on top of the market throughout the day, it is an excellent way to stay on top of the market, and everything from international business transactions to geopolitical dealings can affect the market.
How Much Does It Cost?
You can choose from several pricing tiers that give you access to different areas of the training. Each product also has an initial enrollment fee, which I do want to note is not subject to their money-back guarantee.
They have five pricing tiers. If you want to try the least expensive option, then your best bet is going to be the IBO Academy with an enrollment fee of $16.71, an additional $16.71 per month for the subscription fee.
Unfortunately, this won’t show you much and is best treated as a limited demo or sampling of the training, rather than anything valuable. To me, it was only a little over $30, but it felt like a waste of my money.
The DCX Academy jumps up significantly in price but provides a lot more value in the training. After paying the $234.95 enrollment fee, your monthly subscription fee will come out automatically at $174.95 per month.
The HFC and FRX are all the same price as the DCX membership, but they all require an enrollment fee and subscription if you want access to those training materials in addition to what you have.
If you want to save some money and gain access to all of the training, they do have an Elite Academy option for $274.95 per month. The enrollment fee for this option is $324.94, and overall, it saves you a lot of money rather than opting into each program individually.
For anyone looking at the software as a business opportunity, the Elite option is a no-brainer, but the IBO gives you a sample of the goods and allows you to interact with their customer service with little risk compared to the Elite option.
Their Commission Structure
With any MLM, there is a commission structure for recruiting new members. As thanks, once you become someone’s upstream, you make a commission off of their enrollment fees, and you can start earning money by keeping them as a direct report and motivating them to stay in the program.
You can get paid for new recruits up to four levels below you, but the rates decrease with each level down.
For personally sponsored members one level below you, you get a 30% commission. Thanks to your mentoring work, your recruits can recruit members. For those recruits two levels down, you can earn 10% on their work.
Three and four levels down, you get 5% from these sales.
Residuals are paid out in a 3×8 matrix in the hierarchy, which is not an ideal way to structure an MLM brand if you ask me. It’s confusing, convoluted, and unnecessary.
If you work your way up high enough in their set hierarchy rankings, then you can even qualify for bonuses for every package you sell, but these rates are low. This is where the brand’s affiliate program comes into play, and let me tell you – any time an MLM sponsors their affiliate program, things get complicated.
As if the brand wasn’t complicated enough.
Is It a Pyramid Scheme?
Any MLM structure is strikingly similar to any pyramid scheme I’ve seen over the years. The only difference between a pyramid scheme and an MLM is the focus of the brand, and fortunately for iMarketsLive, the focus is on selling the program, rather than recruiting new people.
This makes it firmly an MLM, not a pyramid scheme.
Of course, if you have read anything else of mine, then you know that I am strongly against MLM structures to begin with. Even the Federal Trade Commission has done studies that show only 1% of all recruits in an MLM actually make a profit with the business model. The other 99% of new “business owners” tend to lose money, time, and personal connections as a result of their recruitment.
I’m not a fan of people being misled and conned out of their money in any way, so I try to stay away from MLMs of any kind and work from home in other good ways.
If you’re sold on the program and want to try FOREX investing at home, then it’s your choice to spend your money on the program, and I can’t stop you. The program itself seems like it could have been a legitimate FOREX program and education platform for people, but it has some major scam red flags that I don’t agree with, such as the base business structure and lack of customer support and transparency, leading to people complaining about how they are a scam and don’t provide any response.
Furthermore, any time you pay someone else to give you advice on how to spend your money, chances are, you are doing yourself a disservice by not studying up on it yourself and going to an in-person advisor.
Lawsuits Against iMarketsLive
There are several reports online about a lawsuit served to iMarketsLive for operating illegally within the United States, though these reports all give sparing detail or have been taken down to re-route you to another page, so I can’t say one way or another on its authenticity.
Even though the lawsuit is not something that can be readily verified, there are details of the brand being banned in other countries as well.
The brand has been banned in Belgium for unauthorized operation within the country and authorities in Belgium have warned their residents not to work with the brand in any way.
iMarketsLive has also received several fines and lawsuits from other countries, as well as being fined for operating illegally from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
One or two mishaps are something that I can let go because maybe their lawyer wasn’t on top of things and they thought they were covered. It’s the consistency of fines and lawsuits that really gets to me.
That’s not a coincidence, and certainly not a brand I would feel comfortable doing business with.
The sparse information available about the brand’s legal history makes me think that they embarked on a campaign with marketers to help repair their brand’s reputation.
This is also suspiciously close to the time that they rebranded as IM Mastery, making me think that they’ve taken the traditional path of other MLM companies and changed the branding to help cover their tracks.
Addressing Common Review Themes
According to BBB.org, International Markets Live, Inc., has 515 complaints against it, namely for billing and customer service issues. (3) Furthermore, several of the reviews are complaining about the MLM-style structure (without calling it an MLM) that the brand has, as they have quit their jobs on a promise and are dropped by mentors and left to spend their money to the monthly subscription without getting anything from the program.
Combine that with the fact that many people are having trouble getting a refund from the brand.
I found the money-back guarantee to be misleading, as it is only offered for 7 days and includes the date that the subscription is due, weekends, and only applies to monthly subscriptions, not any initial fees or payments you make outside of the subscription fee.
I can understand that the company would not want to guarantee any money back for investments made through their advice, as that would be incredibly risky for any company to undertake, but the window for getting your money back is absurd.
With a 7-day policy like that, by the time the company takes the money out of your account (let’s say it happens on a Saturday) and you get to your computer on Monday, you’ve already lost three days of your window to get a refund.
That is…if you can get ahold of their customer support team within the remaining four days of your refund window as well.
Can You Make Money with the Program?
I have no doubt that you can make money in Forex, and this platform does allow you to make those trades. That’s not the same thing as saying I think that you can make money with this program, however.
Even better if you are someone who learns visually because you can see “trading experts” make their trades in real-time through the program so long as the foreign currency exchange market is open.
The program itself has some interesting advice in the training program, but it’s nothing revolutionary that you can’t get by going in for a consultation with a financial advisor. At least, that’s how I felt.
The same rules apply here as they would in other courses: if you’re completely new to FX investing, the program has some useful nuggets of information, but any results that they claim students have made in their program are usually either bending the truth slightly or atypical of the thousands of other students they teach.
Overall, the program has too many red flags for me to feel safe in making any significant investment because their program told me to, or their experts advised a certain trade.
Investing is a risky gamble that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ve worked hard for your money, and in my opinion, you deserve a program that has not been hit with a fine or warning from several countries for operating illegally.
Is The Program Illegal?
In the United States, the program is currently considered legal. The company has, however, been fined and warned by several countries to cease operating illegally.
Belgium took the matter a step further and penalized the company by banning its use within the country and advising its residents not to do business with the company.
That’s harsh when a whole country has to take action against your company, no matter whose fault it was.
It’s not the only case, either.
A few years ago, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) acted against the company by issuing orders to the company and settling charges against them for operating as an unregistered entity offering foreign exchange and binary options.
Soon after this, the company changed their name to IM Mastery. Whether it is a coincidence or something to cover their tracks, we may not ever know.
One thing is for certain: they haven’t had a squeaky clean legal record, and many customers are still upset with their poor customer service when it comes to issuing refunds and cancellations.
Verdict: Is iMarketsLive Scam or Legit?
In my opinion, the iMarketsLive scam is lucrative for the company’s owners and higher-ups in the hierarchy, but like any other MLM, it’s not worth the risk or trouble.
Especially if you are looking to invest money in or for retirement, investingbecomes a much riskier game than when you were in your 20s. (4) There are no second chances when it comes to playing the market for late-game wins, which is part of why I’m heartbroken at the students saying they’ve lost their financial safety net because of the program and its advice.
I could not reliably recommend iMarketsLive, or IM Mastery Academy – whatever they are most known as now – as a legitimate company or program that will help you earn enough money to quit your 9-5, or add some cushion to your retirement.
To me, any kind of investing, especially when you are trying to go by other people’s advice, rather than consulting a professional and sorting everything out for yourself, is too risky. It’s like legal gambling.
There’s too much at stake in FOREX if you ask me, and the whole program reeks of a money grab with their MLM structure and affiliate program, giving you kickbacks for new recruits.
You’re more likely to make your money by marketing the course than you are to make it with the advice they give you. Beyond that, I don’t like that I can’t verify much of anything about Christopher, or how difficult it seems to get any money back if you want to cancel your subscription or if their billing department makes a mistake.
Avoid the Gray Areas... Here's My Recommendation:
If you want my recommendation, I’m going to ask you to steer clear of anything that involves you making at-risk investments off of the advice of someone you are paying monthly.
I find the whole idea a little troubling, and I’m dismayed at the number of reviews saying they couldn’t get a refund despite losing their life savings or trying to make money to cover a family member’s medical bills.
Need something that avoids the legal gray areas and provides you with a reliable and sustainable method of making money that doesn’t have you gambling away your life’s savings?
The program I’m going to recommend is called Local Marketing Vault. The owners, James and Jason, truly care about their students and they aren’t afraid to put their actions and money where their mouth is.
They have an exclusive Facebook group where you can learn from other students and enjoy weekly live streams from the owners personally. On top of that, they also host other internet marketing specialists to help you get the most out of your experience in the group.
You’ll also gain access to tried and tested funnels that have been proven to work and are frequently updated.
What is it all about?
Generating lead revenue through Google ads.
Forget the organic rankings, cold calling, and struggle-bus of becoming an internet marketer – learn how to target leads who already have their credit card in their hand ready to purchase the product your client is selling.
Want a sample of the goods? I’ve got an exclusive sneak peek at what you can expect in the training below. Best of all, you’ll be able to talk to James and Jason themselves before you pay them a single penny – they care about your success so much that they want to ensure it’s the right program for your needs.
- Tara Siegel Bernard, The Young Person’s Guide to Investing, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/10/smarter-living/the-young-persons-guide-to-investing.html
- Anna-Louise Jackson, What Is Forex Trading?, https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/what-is-forex-trading/
- BBB.org, International Markets Live, Inc., https://www.bbb.org/us/ny/somers/profile/online-trading-school/international-markets-live-inc-0121-161238/complaints
- Alan Rosca, Are You About to Be the Victim of a Ponzi Scheme?, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/359200
I buy and review courses so you don’t have to. Sometimes, I even find courses that are legitimate and worthwhile; and that’s how I accidentally came across one that led me to building a 6-figure business in a little under 5 years. Now, I still review courses because it’s my favorite hobby. 🙂 Learn more about me here.