CySEC outlines demands for websites of investment firms

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has published a Consultation paper on regulations concerning the websites of Cypriot Investment Firms (CIFs).

At the heart of the paper is the need of registration of all active web addresses of the CIFs with CySEC and ensuring that the name of the addresses is unique. Such requirements would hardly surprise anyone, given that investment services are nowadays provided mostly online. The uniqueness requirement is also wise, especially if we bear in mind the wave of cloning engulfing the financial services sector – often unauthorized firms register names and Internet addresses similar (or equivalent) to those of authorized businesses.

Let’s look at some of the particular requirements.

  • Investment firms are required to inform CySEC about all of the websites through which they provide their services in due course (deadline to be announced). The addresses will be included in a public register.
  • Companies that fail to inform the regulator about the addresses will effectively commit a violation of Articles 8 (disclosure of details) and 34 (changes in CIF information and details) of the Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law of 2007.
  • The name of the company providing the investment services should be clearly presented on the website. For example, the name should be presented with marked letters in a central spot, or appear in a pop-up window.
  • The website address of each CIFs should be unique and should not be used by another company.
  • In case an investment firm is not an owner of a domain name, it should make sure that has exclusive use over it.
  • An interesting remark: the regulator says the content of a website should not be different depending on the IP address of a visitor… It could be that this requirement will collide with certain geotargeting practices.

Another part of the Consultation paper concerns Client agreements. CIFs must inform their clients in due time their clients about all of the terms and conditions of the agreements and make sure the client has accepted these. Investment firms should also be able to demonstrate to CySEC the clients’ acceptance of the agreements.

To view the original text of the Consultation paper (in Greek), click here.

Comments and suggestions will be accepted until May 29, 2015. They should be sent in Word-format files to [email protected]y.

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