ESMA measures in relation to CFDs and binary options

Posted on 04 Apr 2018

Οn 28/3/2018 the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission issued an announcement on the press release of the European Securities and Markets Authority (‘’ESMA’’) on product intervention measures on contracts for differences and binary options.

ESMA has taken measures pursuant to MiFIR Regulation 600/2014 for retail investors’ protection. The measures will have an initial duration of up to three months, after which the measures may be renewed. 

ESMA has agreed on prohibiting the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail clients and restricting the marketing, distribution or sale of CFDs to retail clients (including rolling spot forex).

The restrictions on CFDs include:

  • leverage limits on the opening of a position between 30:1 and 2:1, whose limit vary according to the volatility of the underlying asset;
  • a 50% margin close-out rule on a per account basis;
  • negative balance protection to provide a guaranteed limit on client losses on a per account basis;
  • prohibiting the direct or indirect provision of monetary or non-monetary benefits (excluding information and research tools) to retail investors;
  • a standardized risk warning, including figures relating to the respective CFD provider, on the percentage of retail client accounts that have lost money.

The prohibition on binary options will be applicable one month after the publication of the measures in the Official Journal of the EU and the restrictions on CFDs will be applicable two months following the said publication.