Belgium’s FSMA: Complaints and enquiries about binary options, FX and CFDs rise 50% in 2016

Maria Nikolova

One of the reasons for the steep rise in enquiries and complaints about these instruments is the ban on high-risk products implemented last August.

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has been one of the active European regulators when it comes to efforts to stop fraudulent offering of products like CFDs, Forex and binary options. The Belgian regulator was amid the first to implement measures to enhance investor protection by banning the offer of high-risk financial instruments in August last year.

This is one of the reasons why we wanted to take a look at the FSMA Annual Report for 2016.

The regulator says it received 1,510 notifications from customers concerning various financial issues last year. Nearly 40% of the claims and enquiries, or 554 notifications from customers, related to products like binary options, Forex and CFDs, as well as boiler room fraud. This number marks a 50% rise from 2015 levels. One of the reasons for the increase in such enquiries, according to FSMA, is the August ban on high-risk products.

The number of investigations opened against illegal offering of online trading products was 273 in 2016, slightly down from 286 in 2015. The regulator, however, cannot open such investigations when the illegal offering is done by a foreign entity – in such a case it may only issue a warning and notify the enforcement agencies.

Another European regulator – France’s AMF has also recently published its Annual Report for 2016. In tune with the numbers seen in Belgium, the number of enquiries about products like binary options and Forex was high in France last year. Binary options and FX complaints accounted for 65% of all complaints received by the regulator last year. These products were the reason for 30% of all enquiries processed by AMF in 2016.

The French regulator noted in its report that as a result of the ban on all electronic forms of advertising of binary options and high-leverage CFDs, many of the fraudulent companies have moved to new areas and are now promoting new investment products like rare earths or diamonds. AMF has registered a rise in complaints about such marketing activities and fraudulent entities.

Read this next

Institutional FX

Fortex adds GBE Prime to liquidity offering

“This collaboration enhances our liquidity distribution capabilities, offering our clients improved pricing, order execution, and risk management. We look forward to the positive impact this integration will have on our clients.”

Retail FX

Fullerton Markets Caps Off Stellar Year with Dual Triumph at Gazet International Awards 2023

Fullerton Markets, one of the fastest-growing brokerages in the Asia Pacific, has today announced its remarkable success at the prestigious Gazet International Awards 2023, where it secured two coveted accolades, reinforcing its position as a global leader in multi-asset brokerage and marketing a triumphant end to the year.

Inside View

Are brokers really ready for EMIR Refit and ESMA changes in 2024?

The EMIR Refit and ESMA reporting requirements necessitate a strategic approach from brokers, involving major updates to reporting systems, data collection processes, and internal resources. We spoke with brokers and RegTech providers to learn more about the upcoming regulatory challenges.

Digital Assets

Binance to phase out BUSD support in two weeks

Binance has announced its plans to gradually phase out support for its native stablecoin, BUSD (Binance USD) by December 15, 2023. This move comes after Paxos, the issuer of BUSD, decided to stop minting new tokens.


Binance Labs invests $3.15M in Open Campus to advance Web3 education

Binance Labs, the venture capital arm of the cryptocurrency giant Binance, has invested $3.15 million in Web3 education platform Open Campus.

Institutional FX

Brighty App unveils EU B2B payment platform amidst exploding market

Brighty App is set to launch its European B2B platform, Brighty Business, this month. This platform is geared towards improving how businesses handle their financial operations, especially in the digital banking and cryptocurrency domains.

Digital Assets

Celsius’ withdrawal process slowed by overwhelming demand

Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius is taking steps to allow certain customers to withdraw their funds. However, some users have reported difficulties in logging in to process their withdrawals, as indicated by posts on various social media platforms.

Digital Assets

Cristiano Ronaldo hit with $1 billion lawsuit over Binance NFTs

Cristiano Ronaldo, the renowned footballer, is facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States over his promotion of Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange.

Digital Assets

Zipmex creditors offered 3.35 cents on the dollar payout

Zipmex, a Thai crypto exchange grappling with financial difficulties, has proposed a restructuring plan to repay its creditors.