France’s financial markets regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), today shed light on several unregulated binary options brokers representing their offering under a number of brands. The blacklisted firms have 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, most of the addresses provided are false, and the firms are actually based overseas.
Several European countries, including France, 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.
These measures are applicable to investment firms and brokers based in France as well as to those operating in the country from another EU member state through the EU passporting regime.
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The ban covers loopholes in temporary prohibitions
The latest move by the AMF does not come as a surprise since the regulator has been proactive when it comes to these risky financial products, as Finance Magnates reported in March. The decision also mirrors the UK financial watchdog’s move, which has already rolled out a permanent ban on retail selling of binary options in April, while similar measures are underway in other countries.
The one-size-fits-all reasoning that the AMF gives is that these companies 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 list of recently-identified providers includes the following domain names:
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.