Yesterday it was revealed by Playtech that the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) was opposing their planned acquisition of AvaTrade. Adding another update, Playtech has announced today that they are going to challenge the CBI’s decision.
The CBI’s involvement comes as AvaTrade’s EU based financial license is issued through the CBI. In this regard, AvaTrade is one of the few forex retail brokers to have a CBI license- most brokers with founders based in the EU elect to set up their operations in Cyprus or the UK.
Like many brokers AvaTrade had initially headquartered its dealing operation within Cyprus and operated without a financial license. According to public filings from Clal Finance which owned a stake in Ava until 2010, AvaFX had attempted to gain regulation in the US, Malta, Cyprus and Ireland. Ultimately, AvaFX secured a financial license in January 2009 from the CBI and subsequently moved their entire dealing operations to Ireland. (They have since recieved CySEC regulation but have continued to be regulated by the CBI).
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While Playtech hasn’t revealed the CBI’s reservations regarding the deal, there are several issues that could be at play. Most notably is the belief that a gaming company is acquiring a broker. However, if this is the case, then Playtech would seemingly have legal grounds to push the acquisition forward.
Along with Plus500, AvaTrade was expected to be rolled up within Playtech’s new financial services division that was created when they purchased Markets.com. That division contains financial licenses from several jurisdictions including the EU from CySEC. In addition, as stated within their financial updates, Playtech has also received a financial license from the UK’s FCA for an entity created last year. Finance Magnates has learned that the trading name of this business is Epsilon Finance. As such, despite potential licensing concerns from the CBI, Playtech should have the available regulatory framework already in place to absorb AvaTrade.
Overall, with the exception of an accounting problem which yields findings of a customer asset shortfall, Playtech’s existing regulation that they have in place should be enough to overcome challenges from the CBI.