For someone who follows the binary options industry, it’s hard to miss the headlines for banned brokers in Australia. However, for us, it is important to show the AU regulated binary brokers instead of making headlines.
Trading binary options with an ASIC regulated broker ensures clients’ money is held in segregated bank accounts.
A financial watchdog, often referred to casually in the markets, is one of the most important institutions in the industry. Tasked with regulating the financial marketplace, the scope of a regulator reaches beyond financial institutions, such as insurance companies, banks, and hedge funds.
In the world of binary options and forex trading, the role of a financial watchdog, or a financial regulator, is quite important. The ease of setting up a forex brokerage or a binary broker has given rise to many dodgy firms.
Ranging from the United States all the way to Australia, many jurisdictions have their own regional financial regulator.
Among the many, the most famous are the US-based Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Cyprus-based Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), the UK-based Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian-based Securities and Investments commission (ASIC).
Australian Securities & Investments Commission
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, or ASIC for short, is the financial regulator for the Australian markets. This means that any business either based in Australia or offering financial services to Australian citizens is subject to ASIC's laws and regulations.
The role of the ASIC is to regulate the online retail financial marketplace, which covers both binary options and forex. The AU regulator operates as an independent Commonwealth Government body and administers the ASIC Act of 2001.
As a financial regulator, the ASIC's job is to protect the interests of the investors and retail traders. This is done by various means, including educating the investor, monitoring consumer behaviour and, most importantly, acting as a “gatekeeper".
This ensures accountability for any business, including binary options brokers, that wants to offer its services or have its business registered in the ASIC's jurisdiction. Among the many powers the ASIC has, the most important tasks are to register the companies and ensure transparency in the business operations.
This is done to build trust between the business and the consumer. Obviously, a binary options brokerage regulated by the ASIC has a higher level of trust among its consumers than an unregulated firm.
Binary options in Australia
As part of its efforts to educate investors, the ASIC offers a detailed guide for binary options trading. The guide clearly states that binary options (or digital options) are high-risk instruments and often not suited for all investors.
At regular intervals, the financial regulator also issues press releases with latest actions taken, especially against unregulated binary options brokers.
In 2016/2017, the watchdog banned several companies that offered their services to Australian investors. The regulator wants to ensure that only vetted and financially stable brokers are able to legally offer binary options trading in Australia.
ASIC regulated binary brokers
Among the many different financial regulators established in various jurisdictions across the world, the ASIC has become one of the leading regulators. This is largely thanks to the due diligence done by the regulator regarding monitoring and regulating the binary options industry.
ASIC-regulated brokers have the privilege of being monitored with audits and allowed to pursue other transparent business practices. Although the cost of obtaining the ASIC license is a bit high, at the end of the day, there is no price to pay for building customer trust.
Typically, ASIC-regulated brokers are required to adhere to the following:
- Strong financial positions
- Insurance policies
- External dispute resolution schemes
- Certified and trained staff
ASIC-regulated brokers are also subject to various audits at regular intervals. Most importantly, the management and key stakeholders in the company need to have the adequate competency to offer their financial services.
Clients segregation of funds
Client fund segregation is another important aspect that binary options brokers licensed by the ASIC must adhere to. This means that client funds are held in a separate custodian account. The funds are used purely for handling customer deposits and withdrawals.
This ensures that the traders’ claims can be handled even when the company's operating capital is lost. There have been many instances when a company’s business goes bust, and along with it, the client funds are lost.
This major risk is managed by being regulated, which requires proper segregation of funds. By being regulated and being forced to maintain custodian banking services for customer deposits and withdrawals, the regulated company will be able to refund, if not compensate, the traders.
While most traders often dismiss the chances of a binary broker going bust, there have been many instances in the past, especially with unregulated brokers established in off-shore jurisdictions.
This makes it relatively harder, if not impossible, for a customer to get his or her funds back. Most importantly, the cost of hiring a lawyer who is well versed in international laws can be expensive.
These risks are, therefore, mitigated when the broker obtains a license to operate under the watchful eye of the financial regulator.
Benefits of trading with an ASIC regulated binary broker
Traders can rest assured that regarding business practices and maintaining transparency, the strict guidelines enforced by the ASIC should mean a certain level of professionalism and ethics.
With constant monitoring and subjecting the binary options brokers to various audits, the role of the financial regulator, such as the ASIC, is an important one. It aims to maintain a high level of standards and ensure the brokers do not slack.
With the binary industry often scared by various scams, mostly from offshore and unregulated brokers, choosing a firm licensed by the ASIC is in the trader’s best interest.