Undeterred by French binary options ad ban, Stockpair keeps touting football partnership

Maria Nikolova

The firm uses German soccer player and coach Lothar Herbert Matthäus to promote its services in France regardless of the ban on such advertising.

The controversial sponsorship deals between binary options firms and sports stars have been in the focus of some regulators lately. The French authorities have paid particular attention to this sort of partnerships and the recently implemented Sapin 2 law includes a ban on partnerships that result in the advertising of binary options and other high-risk financial products.

A number of French football teams have sought to comply with the new rules and have promptly terminated their partnership agreements with binary options firms.

The actions on the other side of the partnerships – that of the binary options firms, have not been so obvious and sometimes – even non-existent. For instance, OptionWeb that used to sponsor Paris Saint-Germain still mentions its sponsorship on its website, including on its French-language version. There are other binary options brokers like 24option, which also continue to promote their services to French clients via football partnerships – in the 24option case, that is their continuing partnership with Juventus FC.

Extending this trend, binary options firm StockPair continues to target French traders via its partnership with German football legend Lothar Matthäus. (How effective is a German soccer player in luring French fans is another discussion topic). The advert of Mr Matthäus, promising clients of StockPair to become legends, is displayed on the website of the firm in various languages, including French.

StockPair is a brand of CySEC-regulated Nextrade Worldwide Ltd. The company is not blacklisted in France. This, however, does not mean that it is allowed to break the regulations including those that are relatively new.

Let’s take a look at the timing. The first media reports of the partnership appeared in the first days of December 2016, whereas Lothar Matthäus tweeted on the topic on December 5, 2016. This is before the official coming into force of the Sapin 2 law. However, that does not free the binary options broker of responsibility – it has three main choices now: (1) slash the partnership altogether; (2) remove the advert from the French website; (3) refrain from any action and face a fine from the French regulator.

There is a grace period for implementing the ban but it applies only to partnerships active through July 1, 2016. The deal with Lothar Matthäus was sealed later.

In the meantime, Lothar Matthäus posts tweets promoting the binary options broker. The last one is from March 24, 2017. But some of the fans are sceptic. There are comments like “Be careful with this company. It’s not what it looks like…” and “This financial company is not really legit”.

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