Citing the threat of significant investor harm, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned the sale of crypto derivatives to retail clients.
The FCA issued final rules banning derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs) based on certain cryptoassets, concluding that they are “ill-suited” for retail investors.
The risks to investors include that crypto derivatives are difficult to value, the underlying assets are extremely volatile and there’s been widespread cyber theft in the crypto sector.
Additionally, the FCA said that many retail investors don’t properly understand cryptoassets and lack a “legitimate investment need” for cryptoassets.
The ban applies to various types of derivatives, including contracts for difference, options and futures, along with ETNs that reference unregulated cryptoassets.
The FCA estimates that the ban will save retail investors about £53 million in possible losses.
“This ban reflects how seriously we view the potential harm to retail consumers in these products. Consumer protection is paramount here,” said Sheldon Mills, interim executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA.
“Significant price volatility, combined with the inherent difficulties of valuing cryptoassets reliably, places retail consumers at a high risk of suffering losses from trading crypto-derivatives. We have evidence of this happening on a significant scale. The ban provides an appropriate level of protection,” Mills added.
The ban will come into effect on Jan. 6, 2021.