Banc De Binary
|Oren Laurent (CEO)
Abraham 'Abe' Cofnas, Head Analyst
Banc De Binary is a Cypriot and Israeli investment firm trading in binary options on assets including 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 is an associate of SpotOption Exchange which sets the price of the option. The price of the option is not a market price, but is set by SpotOption Exchange itself.
The company has a history of regulatory issues on two continents, and was barred from accepting U.S. customers in August 2013 after being charged with several offences by the CFTC and SEC. The company paid an $11 million legal settlement resulting from a suit by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
Products and services
The company allows people to wager 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.[not in citation given] 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, and pairs trading.
History and timeline
Banc de Binary Ltd, that is based in Cyprus along with ET Binary Options Ltd., BO Systems, Ltd. and BDB Services, Ltd. that are based in Israel and the Republic of Seychelles, collectively conduct business internationally as Banc de Binary. The organization was founded by Oren Shabat Laurent, a 31-year-old (as of 2016) 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,[dead link] 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.[unreliable source?]
- In an interview, the company's founder also 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.[not in citation given] 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.[dead link]
- On 7 January 2013, Banc De Binary was licensed as an investment firm by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). 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,[not in citation given] 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.
- In 2016, CySEC fined the locally based company (Banc De Binary Ltd) for an undisclosed amount and settled. CySEC has stated on open record that "The settlement reached with BdB, for the possible violations, is for the amount of €350.000. The Company has paid the amount of €350.000". However, the reputational damages and legal ramifications are significant for BdB's Cypriot based operations.
SEC and CFTC enforcement actions
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. 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 at first refused to appear in court in the US for depositions. 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[dead link] 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.[dead link] Banc De Binary's UK Companies House report says that they are based in Cyprus. Despite this, Banc de Binary was brought to trial in Nevada. Banc De Binary 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.
Binary trading in the US is legal, but only if done through properly registered and regulated exchanges such as NADEX.[unreliable source?] 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.
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.
On January 26, 2016, Banc De Binary agreed to a court order to pay $11 million in restitution and penalties to settle this case. The settlement agreement requires Banc De Binary to refund the losses of US customers. Refunds are being handled by the National Futures Association as court-appointed monitor. Banc De Binary is permanently barred from doing any business in the United States or with US persons.
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'.
In the UK, 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 since denied any 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.
- "Banc De Binary CEO Oren Laurent Opens Up on Binary Options - with Banc De Binary". Investing.com. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
- Law 360: SEC Targets Cyprus and Israel 'Binary Options' Dealer
- "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". Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- Ed (August 16, 2013). "Binary Options vs. Forex Trading". The FX View. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- "Binary Options - A simple way to trade or just a SCAM?". Daytradingcoach. 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- "xchange | Order Execution Policy". Spotoptionexchange.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- "Regulators Sue Prediction Site, Allege Illegal Options". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2013-11-15. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Banc de Binary Ltd. (a/k/a E.T. Binary Options Ltd.), Complaint for Injunctive and Other Equitable Relief and for Civil Monetary Penalties Under the Commodity Exchange Act and Commission Regulations" (PDF). Commodity Futures Trading Commission. June 6, 2013.
- Patrick, Margot (February 25, 2016). "Banc de Binary Reaches $11 Million Settlement with U.S. Authorities". Wall Street Journal.
- "New Zealand FMA Joins ASIC in Warning against Banc De Binary". Financial Magnates. Retrieved 2016-07-22.
- "What Are Binary Options?". SpotOption. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- "Binary Option". investopedia.com. Retrieved Aug 11, 2013.
- "60 Second Binary Option Trading Strategy". Nancy Eleutheriou. Retrieved Aug 11, 2013.
- Securities & Exchange Commission v. Banc de Binary, et al.
- "Oren Laurent, Financial Services". Archived from the original on 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
He obtained employment in various retail Wall Street Firms and then worked in NAF Hedge Funds. He later transferred to Infinity Private Investment Funds.
- "Banc De Binary". Mybinaryoption.com. 2013-09-04. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- 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.
- "Banc De Binary's CEO Oren Laurent Expresses Sincere Thanks". BinaryOptionsDaily.com. Retrieved Aug 11, 2013.
- "Blue-chip dividends tipped to soar". The Independent. 2013-01-20. Retrieved 2013-11-11.
- "Buy a 1 King Street, EC2V 8AU". Bookings.executiveoffices.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- "Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission". Cysec.gov.cy. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- "Banc De Binary is first Binary Options Broker in EU". Financial Mirror. Retrieved Aug 11, 2013.
- "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" (PDF). Circular CI144-2013-22. Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. 2013-07-26. Archived from the original (PDF) 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.
BO Systems Limited (Effective from January 7, 2013 until March 5, 2013) and/or BDB Services Limited (Effective from March 5, 2013) (hereafter the Company) [...] The trading address of BDB Services Limited is situated at Suite 106, Premier Building, Victoria, Mahe, Seychelles. [...] Outside of the European Union, this website is operated by BDB Services Limited (Incorporated in Seychelles) [...]
- "Financial Services Register 2013". Bank of England Financial Services Register. Jun 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- BaFin. "BaFin – Unternehmensdatenbank BaFin" (in German). Portal.mvp.bafin.de. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- "Fiche agent financier – REGAFI – Registre des agents financiers". Regafi.fr. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- "CNMV – Empresas de servicios de inversión extranjeras en libre prestación". Cnmv.es. 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2013-08-17.
- "Cypriot Investment Firm offering cross-border services to Member States". CySEC. Retrieved Aug 11, 2013.
- 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.
- Leap Rate: CySEC fines Part II: Banc de Binary settles for €350,000, 24option parent fined €156,000
- CySEC Board Decision regarding Banc De Binary Ltd
- "Banc de Binary Ltd. (Release No. LR-22767; August 1, 2013)". Sec.gov. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- "SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION vs. BANC DE BINARY LTD, complaint" (PDF).
Banc de Binary maintained a virtual office on Wall Street
- "Companies House WebCheck". Wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Buy a 1 King Street, EC2V 8AU". Bookings.executiveoffices.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Binary Options Legal US". Nadex.com. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- "Banc De Binary: Gets Charged by the CFTC". ForexMagnates. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "CTFC files civil suit against Banc De Binary". The Fx View. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
- "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.
- "SEC Full Complaint" (PDF). 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.
- Court-appointed monitor for US victim restitution claims: "Banc de Binary Restitution Information". National Futures Association. March 18, 2016.
- "CySEC fines Banc de Binary €10,000 for concealing links between it and another company". LeapRate. 2014-05-26. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
- 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