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National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) said on Friday it has included forex brokers Alpari Eurasia, a unit of international group Alpari, and Gerchik &Co. to its register of forex companies authorized to operate in the country. The NBRB added both entities to the register on 23 June, 2016.
In Belarus, acquiring a registration with the central bank is the equivalent to acquiring an authorization or a license in other countries. Since March this year, the local central bank is required to maintain a register of all forex brokers operational in the country. With the new additions, the NBRB register consists of six entities in total since the bank added Open Investments and Financial Company Forex Club in late April and TeleTradeBel and FTM Brokers in May this year.
The NBRB has blocked the access to the websites of some forex brokers that are not authorized and registered to operate in the country.
To meet the local regulations, forex brokers need to meet certain requirements once they have received a registration. For one thing, they need to transfer a fee of $55,000 to the guarantee fund of the national forex centre within three business days of receiving a certificate of registration., but they also need to make sure the trading software they use complies with the requirements of the NBRB.
The changes are part of a decree on a new set of laws for companies on the financial market signed in the beginning of June 2015 by Belarisan president Alexander Lukashenko. As part of the plan, the NBRB also has to maintain a national forex center for supervision of the compliance with requirements of the decree.
Under the Belarusian regulation, forex brokers need to meet a number of requirements, including to keep client assets in segregated bank accounts with local Belarusian banks, and to provide a minimum capital of BYR 2 billion, or about $100,000, The minimum capital requirement is significantly lower than in other countries. For instance, in Belize the required amount for forex brokers is at least $500,000 and in the UK its €730,000. In other countries capital requirements are even higher – €1 million for full license and €200,000 for limited license in Cyprus, and $1 million in Australia. In the USA and Switzerland the required minimum capital is $20 million and CHF 20 million, respectively.
Alpari Eurasia was set up on 19 April this year to take control over Alpari’s operations in Belarus, the group said in a notice on Friday. The company operates an office in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk since 2010.
Alpari is headquartered in Russia and has offices in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Mauritius, and the UAE. The group consists of Alpari-Broker (Russia), Alpari Ltd. (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Alpari International Ltd. (Mauritius), Alpari Ltd. (Belize), and Alpari Forex (Russia). Alpari used to operate a UK-regulated branch, which went insolvent in January 2015 after it faced exceptional volatility and extreme lack of liquidity as a result of the EUR/CHF collapse. The group companies are registered with and regulated by the relevant authorities in Belize and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.The broker also applied through Alpari Forex for a license in Russia, but it was rejected without explanation.
Gerchik & Co. was set up in January 2015 in Belize and is licensed by the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) of Belize. The broker offers trading in forex and CFDs and is a member of Belarusian self-regulatory body Association for financial market development (ARFIN).