The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has issued a warning against binary options brokerage, Central Option.
The firm which operates via www.centraloption.com and lists both UK and Hong Kong head office locations on its website, and offers binary options trading on a variety of assets including currencies, commodities, indices and stocks, has been pulled up by several regulators of late.
The latest warning from the Swiss watchdog has therefore compounded the growing concerns about Central Option amongst regulators.
Earlier this year, Canadian provincial regulator the Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) warned the public against Central Option for not being regulated after confirming that the brokerage was not registered to sell securities in Manitoba, or anywhere else in Canada.
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That was the second time in a month that the company has been red-flagged as on 30 March 2016, British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) also issued the firm with a warning after it solicited British Columbia residents to open a binary options account with them.
Today’s warning extends a run of bad luck for Central Option after having been caught red-handed by the MSC after Manitoba resident Jason Roy received a random call at his home from the broker offering an “amazing investment opportunity”.
Coincidentally, Roy, who was a senior investigator with the MSC and also a member of the Canadian Securities Administrator’s (CSA) special working group on combating binary options investment fraud, began gathering evidence while pretending to be a potential high-value investor, leaving Central Option in a highly embarrassing situation.
FINMA maintains and publishes a warning list of companies and individuals who may be carrying out unauthorised services and are therefore not supervised. If FINMA receives information that a provider is operating knowingly or unknowingly without authorisation, it will investigate the matter and may launch enforcement proceedings and impose measures of varying severity which may even lead to closing down the company.
When FINMA investigations reveal an imminent and considerable threat to investors, the providers are added to the list. While this does not mean that its activities are unlawful, it does highlight the lack of authorisation.
The public is therefore urged to be especially wary of providers who have seriously breached supervisory regulations as is the case with Central Option.