Italian watchdog red flags Olympus Brokers, UnicoFX and Allfina Group
Italy’s Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) has shut down new websites in an ongoing clampdown against firms it accuses of illegally promoting investment products in the country.
The financial regulator stepped in to warn the public about dealing with several companies, which include some FX platforms that mostly operate offshore without a specific regulatory status.
Specifically, Consob has ordered the black-out of five new websites that offer financial services/financial products, including illegal broker domains. As a result, the number of sites blacked out since July 2019, when Consob got the power to ban the websites of financial intermediaries it deems unregulated, has risen to 825.
The watchdog added the following brands to its register of banned internet sources for illegally promoting trading products in the country.
– Bright Group LLC (website https://allfinagroup.pro and related page https://fingroup.click);
– “BrokerCreditServiceLtd.net” (website www.brokercreditserviceltd.net and related page https://account.brokercreditserviceltd.net);
– Unico Aust Pty Ltd (website www.unicofx.co and related page https://account.unicofx.co);
– CMS Ltd (website https://cmstrategy.io and related pages https://client.cmstrategy.io and https://webtrader.cmstrategy.io);
– Olympusbrokers Ltd (website www.olympusbrokers.io).
A glimpse at the websites of the brokers added out by the Italian financial regulator shows a well-known tactic to attract inexperienced clients to trade highly leveraged products.
Today’s blacklisted sites offer forex and CFDs trading, but the CONSOB says some of the names featured in the warning are dealing in crypto assets, either in the form of the underlying coins or its related derivatives such as CFDs.
The crackdown comes after Consob refined its process for identifying non-compliant companies. Recently, the regulator went after a handful of CySEC-licensed brokers and ordered them to cease operations in the country. The decisions also prevented Cypriot intermediaries from soliciting customers or continuing its current relations with Italian clients.
At the time, Consob clarified that it made its decision under the article 7-quarter, paragraph 4 of the Consolidated Law on Finance (TUF), as well as article 86 of Mifid2. This legislation allows CONSOB to order investment firms and brokers operating in the country from another EU member state, through the EU passporting regime, to cease their operations after informing the competent authority of the member state.
The Italian regulator found new tools to address illegal operators in the market when the ‘Growth Decree’ extended its powers far beyond. Thanks to the decree, CONSOB can order Italian internet service providers (ISPs) to block websites in the region. Due to technical reasons, it can take several days for the black-out to come into effect when these websites shut for a temporary period.