New French binary options regulation has little effect on some ads

Maria Nikolova

While French football clubs have rushed to terminate binary options partnerships, 24option’s French website still has an ad about its sponsorship of Juventus FC.

About two months have passed since France’s financial markets regulator AMF hailed the introduction of a ban on the advertising of binary options and other high-risk financial products – a measure included in the so-called Sapin 2 law. And yet, the effect of the new rules is not widespread, especially in the light of the fact that the law provides some “breathing space” to sponsorships deals with binary options brands and some companies are apparently making use of this loophole.

An example is 24option.com, a brand of Rodeler Limited, which is authorized as a Cyprus Investment Firm.

Whereas 24option and French football club Olympique lyonnais have terminated their partnership amid a wider wave of such partnerships brought to an end in France, the deal with Juventus FC is on and is freely promoted across the web.

24option’s French website displays a banner of the partnership between the binary options brand and Juventus FC.

The banner of the broker is also included in the list of Juventus’ partners.

Are the actions of 24option illegal? Technically, no. At least not yet, because the Sapin 2 law allows partnerships current through July 1, 2016 to continue until June 30, 2017. Whereas many French clubs did not wait for the cut-off and abandoned the partnerships with binary options brokers, the situation with FC Juventus is obviously different.

Juventus iFC s Italian and it should be noted that Italy’s financial markets regulator Consob has taken a much more conservative stance than its French counterpart when it comes to binary options regulation. However, other non-French football clubs like Southampton FC have not hesitated to abandon partnerships with binary options brands even without pressure from regulators.

In January this year, FinanceFeeds examined the 20th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League and found out that 50% of the football clubs in the top 20 of the Money League currently are or have been until recently involved in a partnership with a Forex company. Two football teams (10% of the total) admit they are in sponsorship deals with binary options brokers. These clubs are Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur. Two other football teams (10% of the top 20) have gone silent about their deals with binary options brokers – these are AS Roma, which has removed the message about its partnership with EZTrader.com from its website, as well as PSG, whose silence is attributed ti the Sapin 2 law.

Meanwhile, as June 30, 2017 gets closer, France’s AMF has to count on warnings and blacklists. The latest blacklist of unregulated binary options firms targeting French investors includes 315 names – 24options.com is not one of them.

But the regulatory landscape is changing at a rapid rate. CySEC – the Cypriot financial services sector regulator, published a Circular last week, concerning the freedom of Cyprus Investment Firms (CIFs) to provide investment and ancillary services and/or perform investment activities in a third country. This document may have a substantial impact on all those companies, including binary options brokers, which are authorized in Cyprus and refer to their “passport” rights to deliver investment services across the EU.

The Cypriot regulator notes that CIFs may provide/perform investment services/activities in the territories of third countries “only when they are authorised to do so by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the respective competent authorities of the third countries, where applicable”. In addition, CySEC says that it is the CIF that is solely responsible for obtaining such authorization by the authorities of the third countries.

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