FCA Pursuing 3 Binary Options Firms

The British regulator said it received more complaints regarding unauthorised firms last year than it ever has before

The Financial Conduct Authority released its annual enforcement action report for the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year this Wednesday.

A lengthy document, the report details all of the enforcement actions that the British regulator has taken across the financial services industry over the past year.

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One section of the report details the steps the regulator has taken to deal with unauthorized companies trying to sell products to retail traders.

According to the report, the FCA received 16,600 reports of unauthorized activity in the UK last year. That was a 25 percent increase on the prior year and the largest number of complaints that the regulator has ever received in twelve months.

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A good job by the FCA or just more scams?

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, this could be seen as a positive. A larger number of complaints likely means that more people are recognizing scams and are reporting them.

On the other hand, it could just mean that there is an increasing number of fraudsters trying to provide services into the UK without proper authorization.

In its report, the FCA noted that a large number of the companies trying to attract UK residents are binary options brokers. The financial watchdog said that it started looking into a group of more than 200 unauthorized binary options brokers in 2018.

Though the majority were based outside of the UK, some of them had connections to British entities. That has enabled the financial authority to pursue investigations against nine entities, three of which are ongoing.

The FCA said that, in one of the investigations, a key figure has been arrested. According to the regulator, this is a “large multi-jurisdictional” which could be a reference to the ongoing trial of binary options fraudster Lee Elbaz in the United States.

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