UK financial regulator takes aim at illegal binary options providers

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a list of 94 operators that offer binary options trading to UK customers without its authorisation.

Binary options became a regulated investment product under the authority of the FCA at the start of this year, with all companies requiring authorisation from the financial regulator.

As a result, those that are not authorised by the FCA and continue with binary options activities will be in breach of section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), which is a criminal offence.

Based upon information that the FCA has received from consumers, partner agencies and from monitoring the binary options market, the authority has published a list of 94 unauthorised firms which it believes are still active in the UK.

Many of these companies claim to be based in the UK but the FCA believes that most of the addresses they provide are false and that they are actually based overseas. The list includes the likes of Alphabet Broker, Barclays Trading Invest, BigOption, CMA Capital, IntraDay Capital, Investoo and London Option Exchange, among others.

The FCA said that it is examining each of the firms to determine whether any are genuinely operating from within the UK. If they are, the FCA will consider taking enforcement action through the courts to stop their illegal activity.

The regulator also warned that any customers who trade with an unauthorised binary options firm will not have access to support from the Financial Ombudsman Service or Financial Services Compensation Scheme.


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