The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today shed light on an unregulated binary options broker representing itself under several brands, which have been providing professional investment services to UK residents without regulatory permission.
The watchdog warned that Zola Ltd, trading as BinaryOnline, has no association whatsoever with any FCA-licensed entity and added that it was flagged for operating and targeting UK citizens without a license.
BinaryOnline operates through https://www.binaryonline.com and has adopted several affiliated brands, a practice that the FCA describes a typical move for a scam company to gain the trust of unsuspecting clients.
The denouncements follow a suite of similar blacklistings over the last few months. Under the guidelines, companies offering to trade in derivatives to UK investors require licensing and oversight from the FCA.
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The FCA has been quite active in policing binary options and in addition to regular warnings, it published in January a list of 94 firms that offer trading services to UK consumers without authorization.
In line with practices across most of the EU, the FCA has brought certain types of binary options within its regulatory perimeter alongside the implementation of the MiFID II, which came into force since January 3, 2018.
The regulator maintains a blacklist of binary option brokers based upon information received from consumers, partner agencies and from monitoring the online market.
The FCA is not the only government agency to move against binary options. In what UK police have described as the biggest operation of its kind, officers swooped on the offices of 20 binary options brokers to review their compliance documents and gather intelligence on different types of investment fraud.
The watchdog’s research in this area found the majority of consumers who invest in binary options lose money and that investors lost an average of £87,410 per day over the course of 2017.