With a batch of complaints flooding the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA), the regulator has focused on elaborating on withdrawal requests terms. According to the central financial regulatory authority in Europe, national regulators will have to enforce a one day withdrawal term for companies that are offering retail trading products to clients, such as forex, CFDs and binary options.
The delays which clients have experienced with a number brokers, particularly from Cyprus, have substantially influenced the decision made by the ESMA to enforce this new strict deadline. The regulator has highlighted in its interpretation of MiFID laws that if a company is delaying withdrawal requests it might as well be having financial difficulties and could arouse suspicions about the use of client funds.
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The decision is firmly in line with the regulatory framework, as brokers are obliged to hold client funds in segregated accounts with commercial banks. According to ESMA, brokers should be having immediate access to client funds and comply with withdrawal requests immediately.
According to the clarification issued by the ESMA: “A firm offering CFDs or other speculative products to retail clients should enable its clients to withdraw funds from their trading account at any time, in order to comply with the MiFID conduct of business obligations.”
National regulators are encouraged to supervise the withdrawal processes which brokers have in place in order to warrant timely execution of withdrawal requests.
“It has been observed in this sector of the market that retail client complaints received by firms offering CFDs and other speculative products often mention delays withdrawing funds. Furthermore, delays in returning client funds could also be symptomatic of one or more other underlying issues that may require further supervisory attention,” ESMA highlights in its clarification documents.