The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority this month published a list of 94 firms believed to be offering binary options trading to U.K. consumers without FCA authorisation.
Since 3 January 2018, binary options became a regulated investment product, meaning that all firms trading in binary options need to be authorised by the FCA. Firms that are not authorised by the FCA and continue with binary options activities beyond that date will be acting in breach of Section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), which is a criminal offence.
The FCA said the list of 94 firms is based upon information that the FCA has received from consumers, partner agencies, and from monitoring the binary options market. Many of these firms claim to be based in the United Kingdom, but the FCA believes that most of the addresses they provide are false and that the firms are actually based overseas.
“Many of the firms in the list will use a trading name, but will also claim to be operated or owned by a separate company which may be based overseas,” the FCA stated. In the list, the FCA included both the trading name (the firm name) and the operator/owner company, (owner/operator).
The FCA said it is examining each of these firms to determine whether any are genuinely operating from within the United Kingdom. If they are, the FCA will consider taking enforcement action through the courts to stop their illegal activity.