Banc De Binary
|Key people||Oren Laurent (CEO)
Abraham 'Abe' Cofnas, Head Analyst
Banc De Binary is a Cypriot enterprise specializing in binary options (also known as fixed return options) on assets including commodities, stocks, indices, and foreign exchange. The company operates an online trading website through which customers can buy or sell binary ("call" or "put") options, predicting whether the price of a certain commodity will go up or down in a specific time period. Banc De Binary customers do not execute their trades via a regulated exchange, but are 'betting' against the firm itself, and the firm only profits if the client loses. Banc De Binary is an associate of Spot Option Exchange which sets the price of the option. The price of the option is not a market price, but is set by Spot Option Exchange itself.
Products and services
The company allows people to place predictions on changes in the price of various assets by using a pricing platform provided by an Israeli company, Spotoption, and customised by Banc De Binary. Customers do not own the asset but instead predict whether its price will rise or fall. Banc De Binary's role is to create accounts for customers as a reseller of Spotoption's services. The company offers several kinds of options; customers can make predictions of the price of over 200 global assets including commodities, stocks, indices, and FOREX using several variations of the trading platform including classic binary options, long term options, sixty seconds, one touch (boundary options), and pairs trading.
Banc de Binary is a Cypriot corporation based in Limassol, Cyprus. It is affiliated with ET Binary Options Ltd., BO Systems, Ltd., and BDB Services, Ltd., incorporated in Israel and the Republic of Seychelles. The companies collectively do business as “Banc de Binary". Banc de Binary was founded by Oren Shabat Laurent, a 29 year old (as of 2014) American and Israeli citizen who lives on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. Laurent owns 50% of Banc de Binary, and is also the sole owner or 50% shareholder of ET Binary Options Ltd., BO Systems, Ltd., and BDB Services, Ltd.
In an interview the company's founder stated that the firm was founded on January 15, 2009, and that before, he had worked at "NAF Hedge Funds" and "Infinity Private Investment Funds", which he described as hedge funds in New York. The company also claims to have been founded in Seychelles in 2008.
In an interview, the company's founder claimed that by June 2011 the company had around 20,000 client accounts,[unreliable source?] and in an open letter published by August 2012, he claimed that number was then 200,000. Banc De Binary have stated that it "is a small company, with approximately 60 employees". An article in the Independent on Sunday newspaper described it as a "leading City trading firm", although it does not have an office in the City of London, and the address the company gives is a virtual office space with no physical presence.
Investment firms regulated by CySEC must demonstrate to CySEC that their activities comply with the laws of any non-EU countries where they do business. According to the company, its operations "outside of the European Union" are conducted by BDB Services Limited (formerly known as BO Systems Limited), which is incorporated in the Seychelles.
The Financial Services Register maintained by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority states that from 25 February 2013 the company "is authorised or registered by ... [CySEC] ... and may be subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority". The company has similar licences in Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. In accordance with the European Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), the company has "passported" into almost all member states of the EEA; MiFID allows companies to provide financial services primarily regulated by their home state rather than the state where the customer resides, but clients based in other countries would receive nothing if the company collapsed.
In June 2014, an advertisement on a freelance employment Website offered more than $10,000 for "crisis management" of the BdB page on Wikipedia.
The company has been charged with several offences by the CFTC and SEC, and trading with US customers has been frozen following an injunction on 1 August 2013. Charges filed on 7 August in the US stated that Banc De Binary "may be criminally liable under the federal RICO statute". Banc De Binary has refused to appear in court in the US for depositions. Within the European Union, the company is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). On 7 April 2014 CySec announced that they had fined Banc De Binary 10,000 Euros after it had 'concealed material information in its request for authorization CIF submitted to the commission in August 2012, namely concealed the existence of close links between it and another company'.
Banc De Binary claimed to have an office in New York City at Trump Towers, but this was in fact a virtual office space with no significant physical presence. Trading and offering financial services to US consumers without gaining a license first from US regulators is illegal, as it would mean the client would have no protection. The company also claims on its site at its UK Companies House report to have an office at 1 King Street, EC2, in the City of London, but this, like its New York City address, is a virtual office with no physical presence. Banc De Binary's UK Companies House report says that they are based in Cyprus.
On 6 June 2013, Banc De Binary was charged by both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission for alleged violations of US financial regulations. In the same press release the CFTC warned more generally of "fraudulent schemes involving binary options and their trading platforms". On 30 July 2013 the SEC obtained a preliminary injunction from U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada to prevent and freeze any further trading with US customers. Binary trading in the US is legal, but only if done through properly registered and regulated exchanges such as NADEX. Both the CFTC and SEC working in conjunction with one another filed civil suits against the company, seeking disgorgement, financial penalties and other preliminary and permanent injunctions against the company. In civil suits filed in Nevada, the SEC and CFTC allege that the company was offering off-exchange traded options to US customers and unlawfully solicited US customers to buy and sell options. The CFTC and SEC's suit also alleges that it did not limit its offerings to eligible contract participants, contrary to US regulations; a fully regulated broker would complete credit checks on customers to ensure that those with low finances did not trade with them. Amongst the allegations made by the SEC is that Banc De Binary induced people with limited funds, including one unemployed person with less than $1000, to open accounts. In response to the US charges the company put out a statement that made no mention of its legal problems, but instead incorrectly implied that they were in negotiations and that they had voluntarily left the US market, when in fact the SEC had taken an injunction out to stop them.
Banc De Binary have retained the services of Snell and Wilmer in Reno in relation to US charges. This followed an earlier hearing where in the absence of any representation from Banc De Binary, charges were filed via email and by post.
In a message posted on its Web site, the company stated that
[...] Banc De Binary is voluntarily discontinuing its operations in the United States. The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission have asserted that Banc De Binary is not permitted to offer its binary option products to U.S. residents without registering with those agencies. We are currently in discussions with the CFTC and SEC about these issues, but in the interim, we have discontinued all business with U.S. residents.
The British Daily Mail newspaper journalist Tony Hetherington reported allegations that Banc De Binary withdrew funds from the accounts of two clients without authorization. Banc De Binary has denied wrongdoing.
As of October 2013, the company was rated "F" by the United States' Better Business Bureau because 31 complaints had been made against it, including 9 which were unanswered. The BBB report also offered the opinion that "[t]he site essentially allows investors to gamble on the future price of something at a point in time."
After receiving "at least one complaint from a Québec investor who traded through Banc De Binary's platform and was unable to recover his investment", the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) warned investors about the company. It noted that a bonus of 50% of the opening deposit is available, but customers who accept the bonus are not allowed to make withdrawals until they have made trades equal to 20 times their initial deposit. The AMF also pointed out that, due to the "all or nothing" nature of binary options, an investor who wrongly predicts market movement will lose his entire investment. Banc De Binary is not registered with the AMF. The AMF also, like the CFTC, included a more general warning about the risk of fraud in binary options trading in the same press release.
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- Wright, Susan (27 May 2013). "Banc De Binary CEO Oren Laurent Opens Up on Binary Options". Investment Underground. Archived from the original on 2013-08-08. Retrieved Aug 11, 2013. "Our projections were for 10,000 client accounts by the end of 2011. We'd doubled that number by June."
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- "Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission". Cysec.gov.cy. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
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- "Get Out! CySEC Bans FX Firms From Accepting Non-EU Clientswork=Forex Magnates". Archived from the original on 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2013-10-16. "[...] brokers which operate under the CySEC license [...] will no longer be able to solicit business [...] outside of the European Union, unless a potential client [...] who resides in a non-EU member state can provide written authorization from the domestic financial markets regulator in the nation which that person is resident [...]"
- "Freedom to provide investment and ancillary services and or perform investment activities in a third country". Circular CI144-2013-22. Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. 2013-07-26. Archived from the original on 2013-08-14. Retrieved 2013-11-11. "The Commission allows, pursuant to section 79(4) of the Law, the provision of investment and ancillary services and/or the performance of investment services within the territory of a third country provided that CIFs, before commencing any activity, will take all necessary measures to ensure that they will comply with the relevant legal provisions of the third country."
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- Tony Hetherington. "US watchdog takes 'bank' Banc de Binary to court...but Britain lets it in". Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
- "Banc de Binary Ltd. (Release No. LR-22767; August 1, 2013)". Sec.gov. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- "CySEC fines Banc de Binary €10,000 for concealing links between it and another company". LeapRate. 2014-05-26. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
- "SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION vs. BANC DE BINARY LTD, complaint". "Banc de Binary maintained a virtual office on Wall Street"
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- "SEC Warns Investors About Binary Options and Charges Cyprus-Based Company with Selling Them Illegally in U.S.". Securities Exchange Commission. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "CFTC Charges "Prediction Market" Proprietor Banc De Binary with Violating the CFTC’s Off-Exchange Options Trading Ban and Operating as an Unregistered Futures Commission Merchant". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "Banc de Binary Ltd. (Release No. LR-22718; June 7, 2013)". Sec.gov. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Banc de Binary Ltd. (Release No. LR-22767; August 1, 2013). Sec.gov. Retrieved on 2013-10-16.
- Tony Hetherington (28 June 2014). "I had heart attack when high-risk investing bet went wrong". Mail Online.
- "BBB Business Review". Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. "Factors that lowered the rating for Banc De Binary include: 31 complaints filed against business Failure to respond to 9 complaints filed against business"
- "Public Alert: Unregistered Soliciting Entities". Securities and Exchange Commission. Archived from the original on 2013-02-23. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "Investors Warning List". Ontario Securities Commission. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- "Binary options – AMF Cautions About Solicitations by Banc de Binary". Lautorite.qc.ca. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Banc De Binary.|
- SEC Press Release about charges filed against Banc De Binary
- SEC Litigation Release
- CFTC Charges “Prediction Market” Proprietor Banc De Binary with Violating the CFTC’s Off-Exchange Options Trading Ban and Operating as an Unregistered Futures Commission Merchant
- CFTC investor alert about binary options trading