ESMA Renews Prohibition on Binary Options for Additional Three Months


On February 18, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA“) published a press release stating that it has agreed to extend the prohibition of the marketing, distribution or sale of binary options to retail clients for a further three-month period from April 2.

ESMA published a decision notice on the prohibition in June 2018, which has been in effect since July 2, 2018. This is a further renewal after ESMA announced in a press release in November 2018 that it would extend the prohibition from January 2 for a further three-month period.

The measure will be renewed on the same terms as the previous renewal decision. ESMA is extending the prohibition again as it considers that a significant investor protection concern related to the offer of binary options to retail clients continues to exist.

ESMA intends to adopt the renewal measure in the coming weeks, following which it will publish an official notice on its website. The measure will then be published in the Official Journal of the EU.

Under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation 600/2014) (“MiFIR“), ESMA can only introduce temporary intervention measures for a three-month period, following which the measures must be renewed or they automatically expire.