The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is joining the wave of regulators that have banned the sale of binary options to retail investors.
The ASIC said its ban on binary options will take effect on May 3, citing the fact that trading by retail investors is “likely to result in significant detriment” to those investors.
Indeed, the regulator estimated that retail investors lost A$490 million trading binary options in 2018.
The regulator said that reviews in 2017 and 2019 found that approximately 80% of retail investors lost money trading binary options, and that the products are inherently likely to result in losses due to the structural features such as the bets’ “all or nothing” payouts and short duration.
“Binary options’ product characteristics make them incompatible with investment or risk management use by retail clients,” said ASIC commissioner, Cathie Armour, in a release.
“ASIC’s product intervention order will protect retail investors from these harmful products at a time of heightened vulnerability,” she added.
The ban in Australia follows similar action by securities regulators in Canada in 2017 and subsequent moves by regulators in Europe and the U.K.