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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
Belgium’s financial regulator FSMA has issued a warning against nine Binary Options brokers which are unlawfully offering binary options to Belgian retail traders.
Any company wishing to offer investment products in Belgium must hold an authorization. However, since August 18, 2016, no investment firm (authorized or not) is permitted actively to distribute binary options within the territory of Belgium.
The FSMA has acted the most harshly of all European regulators by banning altogether all leveraged trading products including FX, CFDs and Binary Options. We had issued an exclusive report several months later, indicating that the blanket ban seems to have backfired, with the “void” left by the departure of properly regulated brokers (who abide by the law and respected the ban by cutting ties with all Belgian clients) being filled by less scrupulous, unregulated offshore brokers.
This current warning by the FSMA seems to support our findings.
Other European regulators have taken action to rein in the leveraged trading sector, by regulating advertising of certain high-risk trading products (France and Holland), limiting leverage and banning bonus payments to traders (Cyprus), or requiring negative balance protection (Germany). But as mentioned, Belgium went even farther and issued a full ban.
The nine Binary Options brokers mentioned by the FSMA are:
- EasyGestions (at website easygestions.com)
- FXUnited / United Global Holdings Limited (fxunitedglobal.com)
- Markets Premium (markets-premium.com)
- OneTwoTrade / Up & Down Marketing Ltd (onetwotrade.com)
- Suisse Option / Primary Stream Limited (suisseoption.com)
- TorOption (toroption.com)
- Tp-Markets / Hubstone Holdings Ltd (tp-markets.com)
- VIP Markets (vvipmarkets.com)
- XFR Financial (cloned firm) / E New Sp Z.o.o. (xfr-financial.com)
The FSMA noted that the actors named above that are the subject of this warning do not comply with the aforementioned rules.
Moreover, consumers who have invested in these firms never recovered their investment. Therefore, it is most likely a case of investment fraud.
The FSMA therefore strongly advises against responding to any offers of financial services made by these sites.
The FSMA also wishes to recall that investment fraud often lies behind firms that are active in the binary options sector and that do not have the requisite authorization. Anyone who wishes to invest in these firms thus runs the risk of never recovering the sums invested.
In order to avoid this type of fraud, the FSMA reiterates its recommendation to investors always to check the identity (company name, home country, registered office, etc.) of the company offering them an investment. If the company cannot be clearly identified, it should not be trusted.
Investors are also urged always to verify if the company in question has the requisite authorization. To this end, a quick search can be conducted on the FSMA’s website. Investors should also beware of “cloned firms”: companies that pass themselves off as different, lawful companies even though they have no connection with them. A close look at the email addresses or contact details for the companies in question may prove useful in order to detect this type of fraud.