France’s financial markets regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), on Tuesday shed light on yet another unregulated binary options broker representing its offering under several brands.
The newly-blacklisted firm called FlexiOptions and the watchdog says it has been providing professional investment services to domestic clients without proper authorization, which is a criminal offense.
Binary options are a significant source of fraud in Europe, and while many of these firms on the AMF’s blacklist claim to be based in France, but most of the addresses provided are false, and the firms are actually based overseas.
Several European regulators have permanently banned the sale of binary options to retail customers and non-professional investors, while some others only impose restrictions on such products based on the ESMA’s rules.
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The ban covers loopholes in temporary prohibitions
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) also has in place curbs on contracts for difference (CFDs) across the European Union. Overall, it constituted ESMA’s first use of its new intervention powers under MiFID II rules, which came into effect in January 2018.
However, the one size fits all reasoning that AMF gives is that binary brokers might be running scam operations, and so they have not received licenses to trade with French clients. These brokers have also been found guilty of making unsolicited calls and sending out similar emails to locals regarding online trading, financial consultation, and credit without gaining the necessary approvals.
The AMF said that the full list of unauthorized sites such as those described above is available on the regulator’s website, and emphasized that these domains may change very quickly and that the list is not meant to be exhaustive.
Any financial intermediary offering or recommending investments must be on the list of financial institutions authorized to do business in France, as can be verified via www.regafi.fr, and a list of authorized intermediaries in additional investor advisor categories can be accessed at orias.fr/search.