Israel Securities Authority
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The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) is the national securities regulator of Israel. Established by law in 1968, the Israel Securities Authority sees its mandate as a way to ensure an efficient capital market based on transparency and fairness. The ISA works to fight against securities fraud, insider trading, questionable accounting practices and other activities which could harm Israel’s capital marketplace and Israel’s investor community.
The State of Israel was established in 1948, but securities trading had already begun there in 1935. Some leading pre-state banks, the Anglo-Palestine Bank, which later became Bank Leumi, and brokers traded on what was at the time an unofficial exchange, the Exchange Bureau for Securities.
On December 1, 1953, official trading began on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE). Ten years later, a group of members of the Exchange created the TASE Clearing House. The Clearing House also acted as the central security depository in Israel. In 1968, the Knesset passed the Securities Law, which officially established the Israel Securities Authority, which became the modern regulatory framework for the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and its operations.
The ISA closely models its practices on the basic principles established by US securities laws which took shape in the wake of the 1929 Wall Street crash and the Great Depression which followed in its wake. The overriding objective of securities legislation is the protection of the investor.
Israel's sole exchange is the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The Authority reviews proposals to amend the stock exchanges' bylaws and recommends their adoption to the Minister of Finance and to the Knesset Finance Committee. It also approves the stock exchange’s directives and rules, and amendments to them. In addition, the Authority is engaged in the supervision of trade on the exchange, and in addressing inquiries by the public pertaining to the exchange’s operations. Registration can be done by Forex and stock market brokers Financial institutions providing investment advice Investment and portfolio managers, Mutual funds. ISA can conduct investigation, issue warnings and fine and can cancel registration.
- Issues licenses to financial institutions, investment advisors, and portfolio managers.
- Supervises operations of financial institutions, including Forex brokers.
- Reviews quarterly and annual reports filed by financial institutions.
- Oversees operation of the stock exchange.
- Monitors and ensures fair operation of trading platforms.
- Conducts investigations of violation of rules by license holders.
- If a financial institution is found to have violated the law, administrative enforcement proceedings are carried out by the ISA Enforcement Committee, at the behest of the ISA Chair.
- Before 2014, Forex brokers carried out business without any kind of supervision. All that changed when legislation for the regulation of Forex brokers was passed on August 3, 2014, and became active in 2015. Only those Forex brokers having a Trading Arena license will be allowed to operate in Israel.
Concerns about ISA inactivity in binary trading frauds
Reports from Israel and overseas have expressed concern that despite repeated calls, the ISA has not taken robust action over multi-million dollar activity in binary trading schemes, which are reported to be often fraudulent. Canada and Australia have warned of 11 such binary trading firms, most if not all of which are Israel-based.
|“||He said the goal is to make them lose as much money as possible. He tried to justify it by saying that people are dumb and this is what they want.||”|
According to the same source, there is widespread expectation within the binary trading industry that the ISA will take firm action to regulate them.
Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency, expressed dismay at the binary options scandal which he called repugnant, describing the industry as one which ‘uses immoral methods to entice innocent victims’. He appealed for the ISA to close it down 'with all its power'.
The chair of the ISA, Professor Shmuel Hauser, also expressed his shame and disgust at the frauds and says they are working on it.
In 2016 Binary options were prohibited from being offered locally to Israelis, and the ISA has submitted a draft law seeking a blanket Binary options ban to offerings to all investors, the legislation is required as the ISA doesn't currently have jurisdiction over offerings outside of Israel.
Combating unregulated offerings
In 2015-2017, following the collapse of alleged Ponzi schemes, namely Hilik Tapiro's Or Fund and Amir Bramly's Kela Fund, and a boom in unregulated activity due to harsh regulation on the one hand and the low interest rate on the other, the ISA has taken steps to prevent unregulated offerings to the public. These including warning the public of risks and prohibiting publication of financial details, including expected return, on any unregulated investment without issuing a prospectus.
- Chairman of the ISA: Professor Shmuel Hauser
- Chief Economist: Dr. Gitit Gur-Gershgoren
- Responsible for Securities Matters in the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s (Taxation and Economics) Office: Orly Doron, Advocate
- Director of Information Systems Department: Mr. Natan Hershkovitz
- 1969-1974: Mordechai Zagagy
- 1974-1979: Yitzhak Taub
- 1979-1980: David Weinshal
- 1980-1983: Michael Arnon
- 1983-1987: Eliezer Shilony
- 1987: Meir Gabbay
- 1987-1997: Arie Mintkevich
- 1997-2002: Miri Katz
- 2002-2008: Moshe Tery
- 2008-2011: Zohar Goshen
- 2011–present: Professor Shmuel Hauser
- "Role of the ISA". Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- "History". TASE.co.il. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- "Role of the ISA". ISA.gov.il. Retrieved 19 February 2014.
- "Forex Regulation Authorities". www.earnforex.com. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
- "The ISA's Functions". www.isa.gov.il (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2017-05-22.
- "Israeli binary options firm inadvertently tries to sell to Canadian fraud investigator". Times of Israel. 2016-05-04. Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
- "Securities investigator randomly contacted by illegal investment firm". Manitoba Securities Commission. 2016-04-20. Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
- "The wolves of Tel Aviv: Israel's vast, amoral binary options scam exposed". Times of Israel. 2016-03-23. Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
- "Ex-binary options salesman: Here's how we fleece the clients". Times of Israel. 2016-04-07. Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
- "News Headline Alert: Israel's vast, amoral binary options scam exposed". Forex Fraud, website. Archived from the original on 2016-05-04. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
- "Australia, Canada warn about 11 binary options firms, most of them Israeli". Times of Israel. 2016-07-07. Archived from the original on 2016-07-06. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
- "What kind of person would rob an old woman?". Times of Israel. 2016-07-06. Archived from the original on 2016-07-09. Retrieved 2016-06-09.
- "Though fearing closure, the Wolves of Tel Aviv enjoy the party 'while it lasts'". Times of Israel. 2016-08-12. Archived from the original on 2016-08-12. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
- "Sharansky to Israel's regulators: Shut down 'repugnant, immoral' binary options". Times of Israel. 2016-08-15. Archived from the original on 2016-09-07. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
- "Israeli regulator: Binary options fraud disgusting, ruinous to our reputation". Times of Israel. 2016-08-14. Archived from the original on 2016-09-07. Retrieved 2016-09-07.
- ISA to extend binary options ban to foreign customers, Globes, 2017-02-23
- Israelis flock to overseas real estate investment funds, Globes, 2017-02-02
- Kela Fund – Clarifications to the Public, ISA website
- ISA forbids publication of details on unregulated investment schemes, Calcalist, 2016-07-07
- "ISA-Senior Staff". ISA.gov.il. Archived from the original on 4 May 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Chairpersons of the ISA". ISA.gov.il. Retrieved 19 February 2014.