Consob, Italy’s financial market watchdog, continues its crackdown on illicit financial services platforms, with the most recent blacklist of five new entities. These platforms are unregulated in Italy and unlawfully provide their services to retail consumers locally and in other regions.
Consob Adds Five New Illegal Platforms to Its Warning List
The blacklisted platforms are ToroProfit, Plan B ltd, EuropeanFX™ Markets Limited, CatenaFarmCapital and EaglestonesFinance. At the time of writing, only the ToroProfit website was unresponsive, while other companies are still offering their retail trading services, including forex, stocks, cryptos and shares. However, information released by Consob shows that the blocking of all of the above has already been ordered.
“The black-out of these websites by Internet service providers operating on Italian territory is ongoing. For technical reasons, it can take several days for the black-out to come into effect,” Consob commented in a written statement.
EuropeanFX and EaglestonesFinance claim to be London-registered firms, but there is no information on their websites about the potential licenses needed to provide investment services in the UK. CatenaFarmCapital, on the other hand, claims to be registered with Consob and the US market regulator, the SEC. However, the company does not appear in any of the official registers.
For the last three years, since July 2019, Consob has managed to block 855 sites belonging to fraudulent financial intermediaries.
“Consob draws investors’ attention to the importance of adopting the greatest diligence to make informed investment choices, adopting common sense behaviors, essential to safeguard their savings: these include, for websites that offer financial services, checking in advance that the operator with whom they are investing is authorized, and, for offers of financial products, that a prospectus has been published,” the regulator added.
Ongoing Fight with Fraudsters
Consob is one of Europe’s most active financial supervisory commissions when it comes to identifying and blocking suspicious, unlicensed or fraudulent websites and their operators. This year alone, the Italian regulator has reported blocking rogue sites at least twice, the first time in February and another in early March.
In addition to Consob, the UK’s FCA remains active on the issue, adding more entities to its warning list almost daily. Last week the entity scolded many payments firms in the country, including payment institutions (PIs) and electronic money institutions (EMIs) for lacking “sufficiently robust controls.”
Cyprus’ CySEC and Spain’s CNMV are other active institutions seeking to ensure the safety of retail investors. CySEC supervised almost 840 financial institutions in 2022 and imposed a total of €2.9 million in fines on those that broke licensing rules. Meanwhile, CNMV warned of four suspicious platforms last week.