France’s AMF Annual Report praises Sapin 2 law effects, but crypto-assets spark concerns

Maria Nikolova

Only 51 ads about highly risky trading products contravened the Sapin 2 law in 2018 – they were issued by 9 entities “regulated” in Cyprus.

France’s financial markets authority AMF has earlier today published its Annual Report for 2018, revealing the positive effects 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. 

Starting from March 2018, the AMF has started compiling its own “black list” of websites that offer investments in crypto-assets. Overall, the French regulator has warned the public against 118 unregulated entities or websites whose activities relate to 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.

The AMF has contacted the Cypriot financial markets regulator with regard to this finding. Towards the end of 2018, the entities in question appeared to have complied with the rules.

Let’s also take a look at the stats in the report concerning the enquiries handled by AMF’s consumer contact center Epargne Info Service. In 2018, 36% of the enquiries received by the 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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