Montréal – Once again, the Autorité des marchés financiers (the “AMF”) is sounding the alarm and alerting Québec consumers to the dangers of binary options. The AMF wishes to stress that no business is currently authorized to market or offer binary options in Québec.
“Despite our many appeals to be wary of promises of payouts associated with binary options, we continue to receive reports and requests for information from the public,” said Jean-François Fortin, AMF Executive Director, Enforcement. “Our Case Assessment and Cybersurveillance teams are keeping a watchful eye on binary options trading platforms in Québec, in anticipation of the implementation of appropriate statutory measures. Moreover, we are working with other Canadian regulators to co-ordinate our efforts.”
Binary options: A risk? A bet? A scam?
Binary options are like “bets.” Suspicious platforms offering these products are similar to on-line casino sites. Investors are usually asked to bet on the performance of a currency, market index or stock in the very short term—often just a few minutes. When that time is up, the investor receives a pre-determined payout or loses his bet. It’s an “all or nothing” proposition, a little like a game of chance. Even when investors earn “virtual” gains, they often cannot pocket the rewards.
Victims of this type of scheme are tempted by the allure of quick profits or an easy first-time investment opportunity. The AMF is also concerned that consumers are being solicited aggressively to invest on other platforms to recover their losses, and that some are unfortunately responding to these offers and are being defrauded a second time.
On-line derivatives trading: A regulated activity
Binary options are a derivative instrument offered through an on-line platform or in person, and these offerings are a regulated activity. Before conducting a transaction, investors should always check with the AMF. Any business that wishes to market a derivative in Québec must apply to the AMF for qualification before the derivative is offered to the public. In addition, qualified businesses must offer derivatives to the public through a derivatives dealer duly registered with the AMF, or register with the AMF as a dealer. Finally, qualified businesses must be authorized by the AMF to market each derivative product they wish to offer to the public.
For more information on binary options, watch this video produced by the AMF.
New suspicious platforms identified
Below is the AMF's updated list of websites operating illegal trading platforms in Québec. The 12 platforms that are most recently identified as suspicious and are not authorized to market or offer investment products and services in Québec appear in bold.
The list is updated only when new unauthorized sites are brought to the AMF's attention. Check our Investor Warnings section regularly to make sure that you have the most up-to-date list.
Unauthorized trading platforms in Québec
None of the websites below are authorized to market or offer investment products to Québec consumers. This is not an exhaustive list. If a website is not listed, it is not necessarily an authorized website. Always check whether the person or company with whom you are considering investing is duly authorized by the AMF.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (the “AMF”) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
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