France’s AMF adds 53 fraudulent investment websites to blacklist in Q3 2019

Maria Nikolova

The latest additions to the blacklist include seven FX websites, four crypto websites, and two binary options websites.

France’s financial markets authority AMF continues to update its blacklist of unauthorized entities that target French investors.

FinanceFeeds’ research shows that, in the third quarter of 2019, the French regulator added 53 websites of such entities that offer investment services in France without having the necessary authorization to do so. The list includes entities engaged in various activities, with some of them being meager copycats of licensed companies and abusing their identities. The latest additions include seven Forex websites, two binary options websites and four crypto websites.

With regards to crypto-assets, let’s note that France’s AMF has been compiling its own “blacklist” of websites that offer investments in crypto-assets since March 2018. Overall, the French regulator has warned the public against more than 100 unregulated entities or websites whose activities relate to crypto-assets.

AMF’s Annual Report for 2018 has noted the positive outcome of the Sapin 2 law which tried to put an end to the marketing of toxic online trading products such as binary options and high-leverage CFDs, while highlighting concerns associated with the rise of crypto-assets. On the brighter side, the AMF has observed the positive effects of the introduction of the Sapin 2 law.

In 2018, the number of advertisements dedicated to speculative products has fallen to 311. This compares to an annual average of 582 for the period from 2014 to 2016. Most (83%) of the ads for online trading products in 2018 were legal. Only 51 ads contravened the Sapin 2 law – they were issued by 9 entities “regulated” in Cyprus.

In 2018, 36% of the enquiries received by AMF’s consumer contact center Epargne Info Service center concerned criminal activities online. Whereas in 2016 fraudulent offers concerning investments in Forex and binary options triggered 3,768 enquiries, and those about crypto-assets triggered only 18 enquiries, in 2018, the trend was the opposite. Last year, 968 enquiries concerned FX and binary options, whereas over 2,600 enquiries concerned crypto-assets.

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