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Australians: Are proposedASIC changes going to be significant?
I've seen news articles mentioning proposed ASIC changes to forex/ CFD/ binary options. I don't trade binary options but am wondering if the other changes would be significant compared to what we are used to? I primarily trade through IG so technically they are CFDs and am getting "info ads" from them re: changing to professional status rather than retail. I haven't looked into it further than some basic googling and this question.
Ban on Binary Options in the UK Will Continue Permanently After Brexit
If you are a UK citizen or you follow news on Brexit, you know that the date the United Kingdom will depart from the EU is March 29, 2019. This has left a lot of people wondering whether binary options will remain banned in the UK once the ESMA’s oversight no longer applies. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had indicated before that they would likely make the ban permanent following Brexit, and now that is confirmed. The FCA has published a new notice titled, “FCA statement on onshoring ESMA’s temporary intervention measures on retail CFD and binary options products.” In the notice, the FCA states:
The European Securities and Markets Authority’s (ESMA) temporary intervention measures prohibiting binary options and restricting contract for difference products (CFDs) sold to retail clients will become part of UK domestic law on exit day as part of the EU (Withdrawal) Act. UK firms are required to comply with ESMA’s measures until they expire in April 2019.
The FCA is actually still working on the final details. As the notice explains:
We published two Consultation Papers (CPs) on 7 December 2018 to make ESMA’s temporary product intervention measures permanent in the UK. Our proposed interventions are the same in substance as ESMA’s, although we are also proposing to apply our rules to closely substitutable products. The consultations closed on 7 February 2019.
What if the finalized domestic framework is not ready by exit day? If the FCA is still polishing the details, the regulator “will consider adopting temporary product intervention measures to replicate ESMA’s” until the permanent domestic regulatory framework is ready to apply.
The FCA is acting to tackle widespread concerns about the inherent risks of these products, and the poor conduct of the firms selling them, that has led to harm to consumers in the UK and internationally through large and unexpected trading losses.
Those who wish to submit comments may do so by February 7, 2019.
i. Leverage limits on the opening of a position by a retail client. The contemplated leverage limits would apply to any payment made to a product provider for the purpose of entering into a CFD, excluding commission and transaction fees. They would range from 30:1 to 5:1 to reflect the historical price behaviour of different classes of underlying assets. In particular: for CFDs in major currency pairs, which have relatively low historical volatility, a limit of 30:1 is being considered; for CFDs in non-major currency pairs and major equity indices, a limit of 20:1 is being considered; for CFDs in gold, a relatively stable commodity, a limit of 20:1 is being considered; for CFDs in commodities other than gold, and for CFDs in minor equity indices, a limit of 10:1 is being considered; for individual equities, which tend to be relatively volatile, and for any underlying not otherwise listed above, a limit of 5:1 is being considered.
ESMA Issues More Positive Opinions on Proposed Binary Options and CFD Laws
Over the past few months, you have probably become aware that a number of authorities in governments throughout Europe have been proposing or passing individual product intervention measures relating to binary options and CFDs. The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has in turn been issuing opinions on these measures. On May 28, 2019, the ESMA posted a new notice titled ESMA Issues Five Positive Opinions On National Product Intervention Measures. These opinions concerned proposed product intervention measures for binary options and contracts for differences in Finland and Lithuania as well as binary options in Spain. The notice links out to each of the opinion documents so that you can read them in full. Summarizing their opinions, the ESMA stated:
ESMA’s opinion finds that the proposed measures are justified and proportionate and that it is necessary for NCAs of other Member States to take product intervention measures that are at least as stringent as ESMA’s measures.
It is likely we will continue to see similar announcements over the months ahead.
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