It appears that the somewhat murky Russian forex regulation is affecting binary options brokers as well. In a recent message to its partners, the Cyprus-regulated binary options broker IQOption announced it stops advertising in Russia from end of June.
In the message, entitled “Ban on advertising our services in Russia”, the broker notes that the decision was taken because of the unclear definition of binary options in the country’s legislation. “Even though binary options trading currently is not forbidden in Russia, the legislation does not provide clear definitions and you may face the risk of hefty fines for advertising our services,” the letter reads. “This is why as of July 1, 2016, we ban all advertising in the country and to users with Russian IP addresses, including on forums, social networks, YouTube, websites, landing pages, search engines.”
IQOption, which is regulated by Russia’s commission for the regulation of relations on financial markets KROUFR, also notes it reserves the right to refuse serving clients from Russia, if new amendments on the matter are passed.
Not a long while ago, Russia’s parliament passed at first reading amendments providing for banning the internet access to websites of unregulated forex brokers. At the same time, France’s regulator AMF released its annual report for 2015. It revealed staggering losses from online trading on “fraudulent” sites – a category into which a portion of the binary brokers fall more often than not. The AMF also called for a ban on advertising of online trading.
There are other countries who are also trying to curb the binaries. In the US binary options trading is strictly regulated and only on-exchange traded binaries are allowed. In Canada, however not explicitly forbidden, binary options trading is in theory non-existent, as there are no regulated binary options brokers. This, of course, does not stop IQOption from soliciting clients from British Columbia and getting a warning from the local regulator. There are other countries, such as Turkey and Israel, where binary options trading is explicitly forbidden.
IQOption Europe is licensed by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) to provide investment and ancillary services in the European Economic Area (EEA – EU states, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and cross border services to countries outside the EU – Australia, Canada, China, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Russia and Ukraine. IQ Option Europe is also registered by UK’s FCA, authorized by Italy’s Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) and regulated by the French Financial Agents Register (Regafi).
According to its website, in 2015 IQ Option had 3 450 000 clients from 36 countries with an average of 1 million trades per day and an average trading trading volume of $100 million per month. Currently, the broker claims it has 7 million active accounts and more than 1.5 million trades per day. It also has an affiliate program with 12 000 members.