Plus500 agrees to settlement with financial regulator

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Plus500, the London listed online retail trading company, has agreed a €550,000 settlement with the Belgian financial regulator.

It comes after the Belgium Financial Services and Markets Authority imposed restrictions last August on the trading of the leveraged binary options and “contracts for difference” supplied by groups like Plus500, which allow non-professional traders to speculate on financial markets without owning underlying stock.

Stocks in online retail trading companies have suffered in a Europe-wide regulatory clampdown on the risky financial instruments, after authorities found that inexperienced traders were losing too much money.

FSMA said that in August that the over the counter products were “marketed aggressively and are extremely risky, often involving transactions over a very short period and without any connection to the real economy.”

Belgium’s minister for employment, the economy and consumer affairs, Kris Peeters stated that “binary options and other speculative derivatives have no place on the Belgian retail market.”

Plus500 said that the newly announced “settlement does not amount to an admission of guilt or non-compliance”.

“Despite believing that it had introduced all necessary procedures to comply with the applicable legislation, Plus500 felt a settlement agreement was appropriate to respect the authority of FSMA and to reach a swift and final clearance of the jurisdictional process.”

The company has been censured by regulators before. It was forced to freeze its customers’ accounts in May 2015, after the UK Financial Conduct Authority ordered it to review anti-money laundering checks.

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