The FCA has confirmed that all firms acting in or from the UK are prohibited from selling, marketing or distributing binary options to retail consumers.
The new rules tackle widespread concerns about the inherent risks of these products, and the poor conduct of the firms selling them. This has led to consumer harm in the UK and internationally through large and unexpected trading losses.
The FCA states that its rules are substantially the same as the EU-wide temporary restriction on binary options imposed by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).
However, the FCA is also applying its rules to ‘securitised binary options’ that were excluded from ESMA’s restriction. Securitised binary options are not currently sold in or from the UK.
The FCA believes these products pose the same risks for investors and so are extending the scope of the prohibition to prevent a market developing for these products.
The FCA’s rules are permanent and come into force on 2 April 2019.
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