FCA Regulated Binary Options

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Binary Options Taken Over by FCA Following Scams

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is taking over binary options regulation in response to £59.4 million having been scammed out of 2,605 victims over the last 5 years. The FCA issued a statement underscoring binary options regulation as of next year and that businesses operating within that industry no longer require the U.K. Gambling Commission’s licensing.

Consumers Trading Binary Options Typically Lose Money

The reason binary options trading that composed the majority of the FCA’s communiqué is that this type of practice not only leads consumers to lose money in the vast majority of this product’s trading, but that it is highly associated with the development of addiction.

Compounding the problem is that binary options trading has left the door wide open to fraud and conflicts of interest between brokers and clients. The FCA shared that since 2020, there have been an estimated 2,605 victims who have lost £59.4 million to this type of scam. On average, each victim lost more than £22,000.

The U.K. Gambling Commission Formerly Regulated Binary Options Trading

That said, the commission regulated binary options only among companies with equipment located within the United Kingdom. However, as of 3 January 2020, the FCA will be regulating companies offering binary options in the country.

Clients seeking to file a complaint will do so with the Financial Ombudsman Service and will be able to access the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

The FCA Also Cautioned Against Cryptocurrency Stability

The watchdog underscored the risks cryptocurrencies present to consumers as a result of their continually spiking and crashing prices. It pointed out that some companies offer high leverage of as much as 1:50 in certain cases.

As a result of this and the risk of market gaps, the FCA has labeled cryptocurrencies as being “extremely high risk” to retail investors.

For example, Bitcoin’s price recently plummeted by 30 percent in a span of only hours. The FCA pointed out that this calls to mind the negative balance causing SNB crisis. It stated that the practice of leveraging these products could lead customers to lose a greater amount than his or her balance. It also shared that price data sources are questionable as there is a larger chance of obtaining an inaccurate price for cryptocurencies.

Unlike with binary options, where the FCA will be taking over regulation, with cryptocurrency, the watchdog has issued a warning to providers. All too many participants in the market are under the impression that the FCA regulates cryptocurrencies, boosting their confidence in such investments. However, this regulation is only to a very small degree, so it has cautioned brokers that they should not suggest that the level of governance is greater than it is. Clients must be offered adequate “disclosure and protections,” said Ashurst law firm regulation partner Jake Green.

FCA regulator finally banned binary options

The UK Financial Regulatory Authority has issued an official ban on trading binary options with retail customers. Innovation FCA will now operate on an ongoing basis.

According to FCA experts, binary options are nothing more than gambling instruments that do not guarantee profitability, which depends entirely on the case. In this regard, investors lose huge amounts of money and are not protected from risks. That is why the ban on the provision of binary options trading services by FCA was inevitable.

From now on, companies are prohibited from providing relevant services in the UK and organizations that violate these rules will be classified as fraudulent.

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Recall that initially the ban on binary options trading by the FCA was announced nine months ago and until today did not have a clear time frame. From now on, the law comes into force on April 2, 2020 and an unlimited amount of time is valid.

IQ Option No. 1 Software

Is binary options trading legal? The general answer is yes as long as the broker is regulated and offering transparent terms. Many countries recognize it as a legitimate investment instrument governed by their respective regulatory agencies. Binary options trading is regulated in many countries including:

Over the years, binary options trading continued to be a popular financial vehicle for traders who are seeking to diversify their investment portfolio. One of the reasons behind this is its simple trading premise and how it’s easily accessible to investors through online trading platforms. With the emergence of numerous newcomers who want to try it out one of the most common questions is: is binary options trading legal? And, how is it regulated?

In the European Union, countries have varying regulations for trading binary options but license passporting may be used to allow firms regulated from one country to operate in other countries as established under MiFID.

High binary options trading interest leverages tight regulations

Binary option trading is shown as a preferred investment choice for many investors. This is not surprising with the market’s high and quick payouts, simple trading premise, and low initial deposits. Furthermore, the increase in regulations cemented it as a credible and respected trading practice. Regulatory agency watchdogs are regularly monitoring and taking action when an issue emerges such as questionable and unregulated companies that lure investors in as recently reported by Finance Magnates.

When you’re searching for an online trading platform, you may have come across binary options brokers who are proudly proclaiming they are licensed and regulated by governing bodies in the industry—and rightly so. Regulatory bodies are responsible for overseeing and looking out for the best interest of consumers, specifically the traders in this case. They set rules and regulations to protect you in terms of getting fair market prices and being able to quickly and easily withdraw your winnings, among others. For instance, FCA recently announced they are considering taking enforcement action on unauthorized binary options providers in the UK to tighten the security of traders. Since only brokers who abide by these rules are given license to operate under a financial regulatory authority, traders gain confidence when conducting their trades on the platform.

Is binary options trading legal? In some countries, a regulated broker is required legally. In some, it is the desired preference, which encourages many brokers to process their licenses and pass the requirements. Knowing your country’s specific set of regulations is essential as it varies accordingly depending on the country and its jurisdictions. Meanwhile, here are some of the reasons why it’s recommended to engage a regulated binary options trading broker:

  1. Interest in trader’s success since traders are buying options right from the broker.
  2. Separation of company assets and customer’s assets to ensure traders will get their money in case something happens with the broker.
  3. Guarantee of sufficient funds to support their responsibilities to their investors.
  4. Compliance with strict set rules of and guidelines.
  5. Protection of investors when something fraudulent occurs.

IQ Option, one of the leading binary options brokers, is regulated by CySec and it provides you with an intuitive dashboard for your trading.

When looking for a binary options broker, a good place to start is IQ Option. It’s considered as one of the most reliable and innovative online trading platforms in the binary options industry. Traders, regardless of their skill and experience level, are offered all the essential tools and features to start trading such as a demo account, an intuitive platform, and a good variety of assets. Advanced features are available for more seasoned traders while newcomers will appreciate the easy-to-use interface of the broker and a wealth of educational materials available. They can also start with a low minimum deposit of $10 and, if successful, get a 91% payout.

It’s one of the few brokers that open a truly free demo account. You don’t have to deposit any amount before you’re given access to the demo account. Furthermore, opening an account is extremely fast and easy. The platform is also an intuitive trading venue where you have charts with various viewing options and a rich set of information you can maximize. Depositing and withdrawing funds is also convenient with its broad range of payment options available.

For a more comprehensive list of trading options check out our list of popular 2020 binary options brokers.

The short and simple answer is yes, trading binary options is legal in the United States. The US has, if not the most, strict regulations when it comes to binary options which make it quite complex for both traders and brokers. Its financial trading market is regulated by the U.S. CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) and the U.S. SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). The former is a regulatory body that’s responsible for overseeing financial securities and exchanges of stocks and options while the latter is for options and futures markets.

These bodies are the ones that allow and grant financial service providers with valid licenses to offer their services and operate in the country. They are also the ones that suspend these licenses if a broker breaks the rules and regulations imposed. As of the moment, NADEX is one of the few licensed companies in the U.S. that’s actually located in the country. The choices are very limited due to the strict and expensive regulatory processes in obtaining a license from SEC.

There are no offshore brokers, or brokers located outside of the US, that have a license to operate in the US; however, that does not mean they are illegal as there’s no law that neither prohibits traders to use offshore brokers nor stops offshore brokers from allowing US traders in their platforms. Hence, US citizens can use a non-US broker instead.

Many of these offshore brokers obtained licenses, most commonly in European Union jurisdictions which are sometimes stricter, that comply with the safety standards and criteria imposed by the US laws, specifically by the CFTC. This way, the regulatory body allows their presence even without awarding them a license as these companies still respect the country’s rules and regulations that ensure the trader’s safety.

Once again IQ Option USA is a reliable broker for all traders from that countries, so feel free to try them out.

Yes, binary options are legal in the UK for both traders and brokers. In fact, it’s one of the places where many binary brokers were first established. There’s a difference in how binary brokers operate in the UK compared to other countries part of the European Union due to some different regulations. But at its core, investing in binary options is a legal and regulated activity for British citizens as there are no laws and restrictions imposed against engaging in this type of trading in the country.

Hence, companies can operate and offer services. However, it’s worth noting that there’s no British law allowing direct regulatory processes for these firms. The important thing that a broker must comply with is to be regulated and recognized by a financial authority trusted by the British FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).

The UK government is taking careful evaluations and consultations in classifying this trading in order to apply relevant regulations for their people’s safety. Some of the key requirements even include segregated funds between trader funds and broker accounts, a clear dispute resolution process, and suitability checks to ensure products are sold appropriately for an enhanced customer protection. In fact, the UK’s financial watchdog is constantly checking firms, especially those that are claiming to be located within the country.

Yes, trading binary options is legal and regulated in Australia. This means you can engage in this type of booming investment market with local Australian brokers and those that are not located in Australia. Since many good ones are located, licensed and regulated in other countries such as Cyprus, you can also trade with such brokers as you prefer.

Australia is authorized by ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commissions) which is one of the principal regulators of binary options outside the US. It’s even considered as one of the most innovative regulators for leveraging protection of retail investors.

As a major financial hub with binary option booming in the investing market in the country, it is not a surprise how the Australian government recognizes binary options trading as a legitimate financial instrument. With this, it paves the way for a sound and clear regulatory framework that tightens the security of investors in Australia when trading binary options. Their efforts ensure brokers adhere and comply with a defined set of rules that enables traders to invest with confidence and peace of mind.

Regulations of ASIC

AFSL (Australian Financial Services License) is an initial requirement for brokers in the country. A minimum set of capital requirement and well-capitalized structure are needed to ensure the broker is able to meet its obligations regardless of external factors. With that, there must also be a separation between the company’s operational funds and the client’s funds must be segregated into trust accounts to safeguard the investors’ finances.

Yes, New Zealand has a regulated binary options trading market. Their government recognizes and defines the status of this trading industry which is beneficial for their citizens due to the clarity of regulations. Regulators are updated with the new trends in the financial market and can, therefore, update regulations as necessary. Meanwhile, brokers are aware of their duties and traders are protected by their rights when trading.

The regulatory body in New Zealand is FMA (Financial Markets Authority) which acts upon Financial Markets Conduct Act. It takes a customer-oriented approach to protect customers and provide market transparency. While restrictions are tight, it leaves traders with enough selection of investment options and room to diversify their portfolios.

Regulations of FMA

Specific procedures and requirements are needed for a broker to get their license. For instance, a broker must have a physical location and staff in New Zealand in order to provide their services. It also requires segregated funds.Respecting their rules of conduct is mandatory and the governing body regularly publishes special reports regarding warnings and regulations in a timely manner.

Yes, Japan is one of the countries in Asia where it binary option is legal and regulates this trading. In fact, there are two agencies that oversee Japan’s exchange markets and securities. The first one is FSA (Financial Services Agency) which has a headquarter in Tokyo. Its task is to monitor the entire financial system—which extends to accounting, banking, and insurance—making its responsibilities broadly varied. With that, it has a secondary regulatory agency, SESC (Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission), for making sure firms comply with the regulations.

This also goes to say that offshore brokers are available to Japanese traders, especially since brokers in Japan are limited due to the costly regulation processes and tight rules in the country. However, there are plenty of options available to traders who reside in Japan and since binary options trading operates in online platforms, geographical barriers aren’t a major hindrance.

Yes, Cyprus is one of the first jurisdictions to regulate binary options by treating it as a financial instrument. It’s the home of some of the best binary options brokers in the industry, especially since it’s monitored by CySec (Cyprus Securities and Exchanges Commission) which is considered as the primary regulators of this trading.

Furthermore, Cyprus is a member of European Union. This means the laws and regulations applied by the country are in line with EU regulations for conformity. For instance, the licenses of binary options issued in Cyprus are mostly valid in the UK as well. The governing bodies ensure only those brokers who put a lot of effort into making their business credible are granted licenses. With that, they guarantee a broker has constant support, realistic promises, proper terms and conditions, and safety of funds, especially when it comes to the point where clients withdraw their money.

Regulations of CySec

CySec is a government agency with the authority to implement new rules and regulations for licensed binary options trading brokers to follow. They are the ones who are constantly monitoring the binary options industry to ensure compliance for licensed brokers and safety of investors. It’s also one of the favorite destinations for brokers who want to operate in Europe because of its established regulations for binary options trading which are clear and transparent. Since the law is enforced, brokers are also required to comply and follow strict rules which give traders confidence when trading in their platforms.

Yes, binary options trading is legal and regulated strongly in Malta. It recognized binary options a part of European Union Market’s jurisdiction in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). This document clearly defines financial instruments trading and companies. The regulatory body in Malta is MFSA (Maltese Financial Services Authority).

Regulations of MFSA

Brokers are granted a license if they comply with MFSA’s fundamental requirements such as promoting competition and choice, safeguarding Malta’s reputation into account of the country’s international commitments, and guaranteeing the protection of both investors and the general public. Brokers are also required to meet a net capital of approximately $900,000 to prove the broker can meet their obligations to their client. A higher requirement may be imposed based on the service provider’s volume and scale.

Binary Options Trading Regulation in other Countries

Binary options trading propelled to become one of the mainstream ways of trading after its growth in 2008 and its reclassification as a financial instrument in 2020. It also experienced a wave of regulations and classifications from regulatory bodies which gave it mass credibility. As its popularity continues to rise, more and more interested traders are concerned to know and ask, “Is binary options trading legal?”

As what we’ve discussed in the previous sections, various countries and jurisdictions regulate trading binary options. In these countries, brokers are obliged to apply for a trading license to offer their services. How about countries that do not regulate binary options? While not regulated, technically, it is legal to trade binary options—unless there’s a law that specifically states it’s not allowed. Binary options are not illegal in countries with unregulated markets since there’s no law that neither allows nor prohibits it. With that in mind, it’s important to check the regulations in your country carefully before proceeding to be aware of your rights and your broker’s duties.

If you’re a trader who lives in a country that doesn’t regulate binary options trading, you may still register in brokers that are regulated under other reputable jurisdictions such as Cyprus and Malta, among others. You’ll receive the same protection as these brokers are licensed to treat traders from other countries the same way they’re treating traders in their regulated markets. For example, IQ Option, which is regulated by CySec, is available for the following countries:

  1. Austria
  2. Bulgaria
  3. Croatia
  4. Cyprus
  5. The Czech Republic
  6. Denmark
  7. Estonia
  8. Finland
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. Greece
  12. Hungary
  13. Iceland
  14. Ireland
  15. Italy
  16. Latvia
  17. Lichtenstein
  18. Lithuania
  19. Luxembourg
  20. Malta
  21. Norway
  22. Poland
  23. Portugal
  24. Romania
  25. The Slovak Republic
  26. Slovenia
  27. Spain
  28. Sweden
  29. The Netherlands
  30. The United Kingdom

7 Binary Options

What is Binary?

The world “binary” means “something that has two parts”. And this is exactly how binary options trading is different from any other trading methods: it has only two possible outcomes – either a complete loss or a complete win. There is nothing in between. Underlying assets may include any currency, stocks, commodities such as gold, indices, etc. In the business world, the binary options trading is a simple way to put your knowledge of the market and its fluctuations to use and take advantage of it by buying put or call.

Need for Regulations

Binary options trading has become increasingly popular around the world and is currently is one of the biggest online trading activities. Traders enjoy this simple way of making money by simply predicting the movements of underlying asset prices. Unfortunately, fraudulent brokers are trying to catch up with the industry growth at the equal pace and rob those less experienced trades of their hard-earned money. To combat this disturbing tendency, many governments decided to implement various regulations to assure all traders have equal opportunity to trade safely and not worry about scams and unreliable brokers.

By now, most countries have their own regulatory bodies that control and issue licenses to binary options brokers operating in that particular countries. Some countries such as the European Union member states accept regulations by other countries. For instance, the most influential and powerful regulatory body in the EU is CySEC (The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission), which is located in Cyprus.

Some fraudulent brokers might falsely claim that they have a license issued in some particular country. But the truth is that it’s always the responsibility of a trader to double check and make sure that the broker they have decided to trade with has a valid license and therefore has passed all the necessary procedures and proved to be trustworthy.

Binary options trading industry can be tempting to less experienced traders that hope to earn a lot of money very fast without putting much effort. The reason for this might be the deceptive simplicity of binary options trading. With the choice being a plain “yes” or “no” it is easy to assume that there is nothing much to know. But nevertheless, it is proven that educating oneself about the possibilities on the market as well as various threats when trading is crucial to succeeding in binary options.

Therefore, there has been an increasing need to control the industry and help traders figure out which broker or trading software they can trust. It is necessary to protect investors’ funds from a plain robbery which some fraudulent brokers simply are. So how do those regulatory systems looks like in different countries and what do they exactly do? Let’s try to answer these questions together.

Regulation in the US

In the USA, the federal securities laws do not allow any company to offer or even sell securities unless they are registered with SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) or there is an exception under which they don’t have to follow with this registration. The binary options contract terms are just the same: unless a registration with SEC is done or an exception is created, the sale of any options is considered illegal.

Nevertheless, some binary options related companies still operate as unregistered brokers or dealers. Any person has to register with SEC in case they provide any services associated with financial transactions or even being a third party to any sort of financial operation.

Another company called NADEX (North American Derivative Exchange) is a CFTC regulated exchange and simply acts to match buyers and sellers. When a binary trade takes place on the exchange where the buyer and seller agree on price, the exchange will charge a small exchange fee for the transaction on each contract executed. In our opinion, Nadex by far has the largest binary option presence in the US.

CFTC Binary Options Regulation

CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) regulates the US companies under the act of Commodity Exchange. Any company or an individual that provide trade-related services or give advice on trading in the USA have to be registered with National Futures Association (NFA). CFTC, however, assures transparency and open market for everyone in the industry.

Regulation in Europe

In Europe, the situation is quite different. The institution called CySEC (or The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission) that we had mentioned earlier is definitely the most influential binary options regulatory body in the region.

Since Cyprus does not have the strongest economies in the region, it is often thought that there is not much of financial regulatory regime in place and it is easy to invest there. However, the reason for investments in Cyprus being popular is the low taxes there. So brokers registered there actually enjoy many benefits just as other financial companies. Those attractive benefits being bonuses and very professional treatment. But the regulations are tough here too: any broker registered with CySEC undergoes complicated procedures and frequent checks in order to be licensed. We often hear of warnings being issued to those brokers that hadn’t met the requirements. At the same time, in our Broker section, we list many brokers that are CySEC licensed and therefore highly reliable to trade with.

Regulation in Australia

A big number of binary options traders comes from Australia as well as many recommended brokers. Australian Securities and Investment Commission is the regulatory body in this region. Any broker or binary options related company operated in the region has to be additionally registered with Australian Finance Services.

Australian traders are also allowed to trade with brokers that are registered in New Zealand. Australian traders are well-known for being highly educated about the industry, trading with high deposits and being very successful in their trading.

Regulation in the UK

The UK has always been known as number one when it comes to Forex trading . And since binary options trading is quite similar, it has also enjoyed a lot of attention here. Also, regulations here are very favorable to traders. UK-based binary options traders are free to work with UK-regulated brokers as well as the brokers that are regulated by any other regulatory body in the European Union.

Previously, binary options trading in the UK was handled by the gambling commission. But since 2020 it is regulated by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority, FCA). At the moment the entire country, however, is undergoing the transition period and we are eager to see what the outcomes will be like.

Regulation in France

In France, binary options are neither illegal nor regulated. Some binary options brokers were banned by The French Financial Markets Authority (AMF – Autorité des marchés financiers) in the past. But at the moment the industry remains a gray area that is yet to become more established here.

Regulation in New Zealand

The authorities of New Zealand have made a step towards binary options traders and not only made binary options trading legal but also did a great job in regulating and assessing the industry. The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is the regulatory body responsible for assuring binary options is safe and secure in the region.

Regulation in Italy

Finally, the official Italian binary options regulator is called CONSOB. In this aspect, the Italian authorities are quite strict with their regulations and approval. In the past, companies trying to operate without an appropriate authorization in the region were issued fines that reached up to €500,000. Every broker in Italy has to undergo the necessary procedures and obtain a CONSOB license.

CONCLUSION

In the modern binary options industry that keeps growing day by day, the regulations are not only needed but necessary. But apart from any measures that individual countries or regions are undertaking to assure their traders are safe, the traders themselves have to educate themselves and stay informed about all the nuances when it comes to legal matter.

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