ASIC has issued a media release in relation to potential unlicensed activity undertaken by apps associated with binary options trading. ASIC conducted a review in March 2017 that found that over 330 such apps offered to Australians appeared to be unlicensed. A majority of these apps were offered by binary option issuers that facilitated trading, with signal providers and introducing brokers controlling the remaining apps.
Other concerns raised by ASIC included misleading statements about profitability of trading, a failure to outline risks involved, misclassification of introducing brokers as product issuers and collection of personal information for high-pressure cold calling.
ASIC stated that they were encouraged by the speed at which Apple and Google removed the relevant apps from their respective app stores upon notification, with Apple changing its review guidelines to prohibit any apps facilitating binary options trading. The need to ensure any financial service provider is adequately licensed was emphasised by ASIC, especially in light of technology which can conceal certain details.