More than a warning: Dutch regulator fines FPlus Trading for misleading claims about license

Maria Nikolova

FPlus Trading wrongfully states that it trades with an AFM licence and, hence, has to pay a penalty.

Whereas many regulators adopt a rather careful stance towards companies that offer investment services without being properly licensed to do so, the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) has demonstrated a much more decisive approach.

The AFM has just announced the imposition of an order for incremental penalty payments on FPlus Trading Ltd. The order for incremental penalty payments was imposed because the website (https://fplus.ai) of FPlus Trading wrongfully states that it trades with an AFM licence. This means that FPlus Trading misleads consumers and breaches the Consumer Protection (Enforcement) Act.

According to its website, FPlus Trading is a trading platform offering its clients to trade in currencies (including crypto currencies) commodities, shares and indices. The company says that it holds an AFM licence for this purpose. However, FPlus Trading abuses the trade name and licence number of an AFM licensee and thus misleads consumers. The AFM did not grant FPlus Trading a licence.

The AFM order obliges FPlus Trading to cease these misleading acts and to provide consumers with information regarding FPlus Trading that is correct and not misleading. FPlus Trading is obliged to pay a penalty if it fails to comply with the order within five working days. The penalty amounts to €5,000 for each calendar day FPlus Trading fails to comply, subject to a maximum of €50,000. FPlus Trading failed to comply with the order (in time) and must therefore pay a penalty.

The regulator explains that an order for incremental penalty payments is an instrument that is used to instruct or order a company or person to perform or cease performing a certain act. A specified amount of money must be paid if the order is not complied with within the term set.

The action taken by the Dutch regulator stands in contrast to the endless “black lists” of unregistered investment entities that typically ignore the warnings issued by regulators and continue their unlicensed activities.

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