The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) reported it has noted a dramatic increase in the activities of unlicensed financial services providers, mostly binary options brokers, seeking to expand their market by soliciting residents of Australia.
At first glance it seems that ASIC’s only efforts are to warn the general public of yet another unlicensed broker trying to attract Australian customers, but now the Commission’s Report 482 Compliance review of the retail OTC derivatives sector reveals it is taking other measures too.
According to the document, the watchdog has contacted more than 40 financial services providers offering their services in Australia, without having the necessary local regulation and license. The majority of them are binary options brokers, including names such as IQ Option, Banc de Binary, AnyOption, OptionRally and 24Option, which have a Cyprus or Belize regulation.
The ASIC reported that 21 of the financial services provides have agreed to take remedial actions such as removing references to Australia on their website, stop marketing campaigns aimed at Austrlian investors, adding disclaimers to their websites and mobile apps, blocking sign up from Australia, closing all Australian accounts, informing the investors that it is not licensed to operate in the country and telling their introducing brokers and affiliates to stop targeting Australian investors.
Here is the list of the 21 who explicitly agreed to cooperate:
- IQ Option Limited and IQ Option Europe Limited trading as IQ Option
- Rodeler Limited trading as 24Option, Quick Option, 24FX and Grand Option
- BDB Services (Belize) Ltd trading as Banc de Binary
- Ouroboros Derivatives Trading Ltd trading as AnyOption
- NXB Financial Services Ltd trading as Stockpair.com
- Up & Down Marketing Limited trading as OneTwoTrade
- AM Capital Ltd trading as Tradorax
- Centralspot Trading (Cyprus) Ltd and CST Financial Services Ltd trading as Opteck
- Nuntius Brokerage & Investment Services S.A. trading as Topoption.com
- OptionRally Limited trading as OptionRally
- Market Punter Limited trading as Market Punter
- Terapad services LTD trading as FMTrader
- Growell Capital Ltd trading as GrowBinary
- CherryTrade at www.cherrytrade.com
- Binary Options Pty Ltd via www.binaryoptions.net.au, www.binaryoptionsptyltd.com.au, www.privatesignalsgroup.com and www.freesignal.com
- Diamond Managed FX
- Blackwell Global Investments (Cyprus) Limited trading as Blackwell Trader
Some of them, according to the ASIC, have even showed interest in obtaining the appropriate Australian license in order to operate in the country.
Other nine brokers have not directly responded to the Commission’s concerns, but quietly took some measures to remedy the situation:
- OTP Solutions LTD operating as No1Options
- Brevspandnz Limited trading as AutoTradingBinary.com
- Pacificsunrise UK Ltd trading as AAOption.com
- TTN Marketing LTD trading as Trades Capital
- Lerona Impex SA and Norske Inter LP trading as Finpari
- Chemmi Holdings Limited trading as Binary Tilt
- Peter Knight Advisors
- Banc de Options at www.bancdeoptions.com
- Advanced Binary Technologies Ltd trading as Ayrex
„The dramatic increase in unlicensed conduct – particularly in entities offering binary options – is of real concern to ASIC,“ ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said. „We remind investors to be wary of advertising on websites or unsolicited calls or emails by people offering these types of products, and to verify that product providers are appropriately licensed or authorised before dealing with them,“ she added.
Much like other national and regional regulators across the world, the ASIC updates its warning list of unregulated financial services providers soliciting Australian residents on a regular basis. Most recently it warned of eight binaries brokers in June and of FM Trader and RTG Direct Trading in May. Also in June the Commission released a report of significant non-compliance on the retail forex market.