FinanceFeeds lobbying campaign succeeds as Southampton FC drops Banc de Binary sponsorship

On September 7 this year, we began lobbying Southampton FC in an attempt to make the club drop its sponsorship deal with the Banc de Binary. Our efforts were successful and we were joined and assisted by City of London Police and The Times in London

Good quality, well known British Premier League football teams with a massive following of loyal fans.

A pillar of the establishment, Southampton Football Club’s prominence in England dates back to 1885, and was a founding member of the Premier League in 1992.

Like many very popular sports in Britain, football has a massive fan base, made up of good honest people who want to support their teams at the weekend, many of whom consider the supporting of their team to be an unfaltering way of life.

Why, then, if the loyal fans are critical to Premier League football’s appeal, do top of the line clubs such as Southampton Football Club take sponsorship money from fraudulent binary options firms?

On September 6 this year, Southampton Football Club signed a deal with Banc de Binary, one of the largest OTC binary options companies in the world, with the sponsorship worth between $300,000 and $400,000 for the season, paid for by a company which steals money from unsuspecting people around the world who think (quite mistakenly) that they are investing in a financial markets product, but in fact are betting against a weighted house in which there are absolutely no chances of a win, and in which the revenues are the customer’s deposit.

There are, of course, many other football clubs that also take sponsorship from binary options firms. As pointed out in our recent article on the matter, FinanceFeeds considers it a duty of responsibility to the genuine retail, institutional FX and electronic trading world to ensure that we lobby hard and incessantly until high profile premier league football clubs drop such sponsorships. If done correctly, the genuine FX and electronic trading industry participants in genuine jurisdictions with bona fide businesses prosper will not be tainted by the damage that the binary options, basically casinos with odds weighted against the house disguised as trading platforms and often run by fraudsters; is doing.

FinanceFeeds began lobbying premier league British football club Southampton FC on September 7 this year by way of email and telephone calls to senior members of staff within their sponsorship divisions, pointing out that by accepting sponsorship from fraudulent binary options firms, there are two toxic consequences.

The first being that a major football team is earning revenue from the proceeds of fraud, therefore associating itself with the lowbrow, bottom rung nature of binary options, and the second being that loyal fans who are unsuspecting and perhaps have never heard of binary options are exactly the market that binary options brands seek to target, therefore by allowing binary options firms to sponsor them, football teams are creating an environment in which their own loyal fans who adore and trust their beloved teams could be ripped off. Indeed, Banc de Binary has a reputation for stealing from customers, and has been the subject of an $11 million lawsuit from US officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission for illegally soliciting US customers for off exchange binary options – a serious felony in America.

The second possibility is probably the most dangerous, as it would cause individuals who had no previous exposure to electronic trading to associate bona fide firms of London, New York and Chicago with back street binary options businesses with no presence in any financial center, thus making life harder for the real firms in the industry whose executives dedicate their professional careers to providing the highest quality trading environment and live market access to customers.

FinanceFeeds contacted several companies in London that specialize in arranging sponsorship deals for football teams, all of which explained that it would be perfectly acceptable for them to accept binary options firms as sponsors, until we explained the true magnitude and potential consequences of promoting such firms and their activities toward the loyal fans of football teams.

One such firm was Synergy, which nestles deep in the heart of London’s trendy media heartlands in Great Portland Street. When asked whether they would take a binary options brand and broker a deal with a football club, and whether they consider this unethical, the representative explained “No, we work with any firm that looks to improve their branding.”

“We work exclusively brand side” she continued to explain. “One of our services is consultancy, in which we have a look at the portfolio of the brand, and then we look at the sponsors that may suit. We work for big blue chip clients often on this basis.”

“We don’t think it is unethical to broker deals between football teams and binary brands” she said. “If it is right for the brand or rights holder, then we go ahead. We look at he brand, value, ROI, it’s not an easy yes or no.”

We believe that the agencies see the dollar signs and do the deal, not realizing the true business models that these firms employ, therefore some degree of providing information to marketing and PR agencies is also needed in order to stem this level of high profile sponsorship.

An additional caveat to bear in mind is that football shirts, and what is written on them, are massively influential to children and teenagers in parts of the world in which football is a very popular and almost religiously followed sport. Football clubs often sell merchandise versions of the shirts of the stars that children and teenagers who love football admire, therefore by having binary options names on football shirts, minors by default could be inadvertently standing themselves up as ‘ambassadors’ to this fraud, or even worse getting taken in by it themselves.

We also approached an industry lawyer close to the matter, who did reply but explained that it is very unlikely that any binary brand or anyone connected with that particular industry would comment as it is a ‘sensitive matter’ and that he would not like to see anybody involved in such business ‘get hurt’.

Some of the owners of binary options companies concerned that the jaws of the regulators and governments are finally about to put an end internationally to this nefarious business have established a back-street organization called European Brokers Association (EUBOA) recently, however it is quite unlikely that such an organization, which is unrecognized by any national regulator or government authority and is run by the very people who orchestrate binary options fraud will ever make a case in favor of allowing OTC binary options to continue unabated. France, Belgium, the US, Israel and China have all banned it and many governments, including that of Israel which is where most of the platforms and market makers originate from, have begun to make it a priority to extinguish the entire industry.

Our efforts were noticed at high level in London, and the City of London Police subsequently made a public statement on the matter, at which point major British news source The Times got involved and also began to lobby Southampton FC, following our lead.

City of London police today said fraud complaints against binary companies had spiked “dramatically” in recent months. The average loss: £20,000. “It is the latest and perhaps fastest-growing iteration of investment fraud,” said Andy Fyfe, the force’s financial crimes specialist. “These companies are luring a much younger audience of would-be investors because they are advertised on social media, like Instagram. We’ve never seen that before.”

In the three months to September, the Action Fraud reporting centre received 245 fraud complaints about binary options trading, more than in all of 2014.

The internet is awash with a litany of appalling experiences from customers and former staff of such firms, one which is publicly available on the internet states

Banc de Binary is an unethical business that is using Southampton’s data base to link up with unsuspecting people who trust the reputation of the club to make financial investments with Banc de Binary. Their brokers are dishonest and the company does not follow accountable business standard in a transparent way. Brokers say whatever they want to get you to buy in, promising bonuses and easy withdraw of your investment when in fact this is not the case. Its a shame that Saints would do business with Banc de Binary. I hope that the clubs supporters are not deceived.

This is exactly the type of danger by association that it is our responsibility to root out. We would recommend that should Southampton Football Club, or any other mainstream clubs profit from this activity in any way, a trust account should be opened on a benevolent basis, in order that those affected could be paid their money back.

Banc de Binary also has a long term relationship with Liverpool FC, one of the worst aspects which was that Banc de Binary would benefit from some of Liverpool FC’s digital marketing – meaning that (knowingly or not), Liverpool FC was actively encouraging its fans to fall foul of the fraudsters.

Italian football club Juventus, one of the biggest teams in the world, accepted a sponsorship deal from 24Option, a large binary options brand which uses the TechFinancials platform.

On June 29 this year, 24Option extended its sponsorship of Juventus for another year. This shows the absolute rise to wealth of these fraudulent companies. Just five years ago, one of the senior employees of 24Option was a young marketing administrator at one of the smaller ‘fringe’ FX firms that operated a warehouse model, whereas now he operates a 150-strong binary options brand and sponsors football teams from the proceeds of stealing money from people all over the world by using a weighted platform that pretends to offer financial markets trading, marketed by call centers filled with salesmen with fake names whose sole raison d’etre is to extract as much as possible, demonstrating that in this case, deception is lucrative. We will also be lobbying Juventus on the same basis and for the same reasons.

FinanceFeeds remains committed to the support of the mainstream and high quality bona fide retail and institutional firms in bona fide jursidictions which operate a genuine electronic trading system, as well as the support of their technology partners. Our continued research alongside these firms aims to engender and facilitate the very top level of quality possible in today’s highly sophisticated electronic trading environment, and in order to do so, stands vehemently against the lowbrow and back street nature of bucket shops and binary options brands, thus we consider our efforts in this matter to have made a very positive difference to protect the high quality firms in this industry, and future customers.

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