On 29 March 2019, the FCA confirmed that all firms acting in or from the UK are prohibited from selling, marketing or distributing binary options to retail consumers.

The FCA’s rules are permanent and come into force on 2 April 2019.

The FCA states that its rules are in substance the same as the EU-wide temporary restriction on binary options imposed by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) (our latest blog is here).However, the FCA is also applying its rules to so-called ‘securitised binary options’ that were excluded from ESMA’s restriction. Securitised binary options are not currently sold in or from the UK. The FCA thinks these products pose the same risks for investors and so are extending the scope of the prohibition to prevent a market developing for these products.