FIRST SUPERVISORY NOTICE
39, Kolonakiou Street,
1st Floor Ayios Athanasios, 4103
28 May 2020
For the reasons given below and pursuant to section 196 of the Financial Services
and Markets Act 2000 (“the Act”), the Authority has decided to impose the following
requirements on Rodeler Ltd, trading as “24option” (“the Firm”) with immediate
1) The Firm must not conduct any regulated activities with, or in respect of, any
client who is resident in the United Kingdom, except as is necessary to comply
with requirements 3) and 4) below.
2) The Firm must not conduct any marketing activity to persons resident in the
3) By 4 June 2020, in respect of all its clients who are resident in the United
Kingdom, the Firm must close all open trading positions and liquidate the
positions into pound sterling balances (save for hedged positions which should
be netted off rather than closed individually). Any positive cash balance held
by a client resident in the United Kingdom must be paid to a bank or payment
account held in the client’s name as soon as practicable and, in any event, by
11 June 2020.
4) By 4 June 2020, the Firm must notify all its clients who are resident in the UK
by email that it is no longer able to provide investment services to them and
will be taking all reasonable steps to return all balances held by the Firm on
5) By 1 June 2020, the Firm must display on all websites used by it in the course
“www.24option.com/eu” and “www.rodeler.com”, a notice of such size and
prominence that all viewers of the website will inevitably see and be able to
read it, which states: “Rodeler Ltd is not permitted to provide regulated
financial services to residents of the United Kingdom.”
6) By 1 June 2020, the Firm must display on its trading platform, at the point
when clients log into the trading platform, a notice of such size and prominence
that all users seeking to log into the trading platform will inevitably see and be
able to read it, which states: “Rodeler Ltd is not permitted to provide regulated
financial services to residents of the United Kingdom.”
7) If any payments are made to any account held by the Firm with an institution
which either: (1) were paid from any bank account held in the United Kingdom;
or (2) were made using any credit or debit card issued in the United Kingdom,
the Firm must not dispose of, withdraw, transfer, deal with or diminish the
value of the proceeds of any such payments without the written consent of the
Financial Conduct Authority.
Requirement 7) above is a requirement of the kind mentioned in subsection (4) of
section 55P of the Act.
These requirements shall remain in force unless and until varied or cancelled by
the Authority (either on the application of the Firm or of the Authority’s own
REASONS FOR ACTION
The Firm is an investment firm registered in Cyprus. It provides consumers with
the ability to trade CFDs through an online platform. The Authority considers that
the Firm has acted in contravention of its obligations under MiFID, as implemented
in Cypriot law, and that it is acting in a manner which is clearly prejudicial to the
interests of investors in the United Kingdom.
In particular, the Firm’s marketing material is not fair, clear and not misleading, it
has failed to carry out appropriate assessments of the compatibility of its products
with its customers and it has engaged in highly inappropriate sales practices.
Several of its clients have lost significant sums of money through dealing with the
As a result, the Authority has concluded, on the basis of the facts and matters
described below, that it is desirable to exercise its power of intervention to impose
requirements on the Firm which will prevent it from providing any further
investment services to United Kingdom consumers. Given the serious concerns that
the Authority has about the Firm, and the significant risks it presents to UK
consumers, the Authority considers that it is necessary for the requirements to take
This action is taken in order to advance the Authority’s consumer protection
In this Notice:
“the Act” means the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000;
“the Authority” means the Financial Conduct Authority;
“CFD” means contracts for differences;
“CySEC” means the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission;
“the Firm” means Rodeler Ltd, trading as ”24option”;
“MiFID” means the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2014/65/EU);
“the RDC” means the Authority’s Regulatory Decisions Committee of the Authority
(see further at paragraph 6.1 below);
“the requirements” mean the requirements set out at paragraph 1.1 of this Notice;
“the Tribunal” means the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber).
FACTS AND MATTERS
The Firm is a company registered in Cyprus and authorised since 11 July 2013 as
an investment firm with CySEC to conduct the following regulated activities:
reception and transmission of orders in relation to one or more financial
instruments, execution of orders on behalf of clients, dealing on own account and
The Firm operates primarily through the websites ”www.24option.com/eu” and
“www.rodeler.com” and trades under its website names.
Through its websites, the Firm provides its clients with access to an online platform
on which CFDs can be traded. The website www.24option.com/eu advertises that
“Access the financial markets all in one place. Trade Forex/CFDs all on our
advanced, web-based trading platform designed for you, the user in mind. With
our platform, you can trade on the largest list of assets in the industry. From
currency pairs, and Commodities to stocks and indices, we have it all.”
Since 4 December 2013 the Firm has had permission to conduct cross-border
services to the UK under MiFID for investment services involving financial CFDs.
The Firm is obliged to comply with the conduct of business requirements of MiFID,
as transposed into Cypriot law.
CFDs are complex financial derivative products which are used to speculate on the
movement in prices on a wide range of assets. They frequently involve high levels
of leverage which creates the risk of substantial losses in the event of even small
adverse price fluctuations in the underlying assets. CFDs present significant risks
to investors who lack the necessary experience, knowledge and expertise to make
appropriate investment decisions. As a result, they are generally unsuitable
products for inexperienced investors.
Under the terms of MiFID, investment firms are required to assess the compatibility
of financial instruments with the needs of their clients and ensure that the financial
instruments are offered or recommended only when this is in the interest of the
client. They are also required to ensure that their marketing communications are
fair, clear and not misleading, that they provide appropriate information to clients
and that they act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best
interests of their clients.
Between 9 January 2018 and 23 May 2020, the Authority has received 99 contacts
from customers complaining or expressing concern about the Firm.
A particular theme to the complaints is the use of misleading advertising to attract
customers: for example, through the use of celebrities in the Firm’s
advertisements. For example, one complainant referred to seeing the Firm
advertised by a well-known British writer and television presenter who has publicly
denied endorsing any such products. These advertisements frequently purported
to advertise trading in cryptoassets or foreign exchange and failed adequately to
disclose the true nature of the products being marketed.
As a result, despite having invested significant sums with the Firm, at least 25
customers remained unclear about the nature of the products they had been
trading, stating that they considered themselves to have been trading cryptoassets,
foreign currency or company shares, rather than leveraged derivatives.
Clients were induced to open trading accounts with the Firm by making small initial
investments (generally £250-£400). Having opened accounts, some customers
who complained to the Authority described the Firm’s representatives putting
significant pressure on them to invest further sums of increasing amounts. One
complainant described receiving calls from the Firm 100 times a day.
Six complainants complained of having been pressurised to take out loans or credit
cards to make additional investments. For example, one complainant described an
employee of the Firm being on the telephone as the complainant’s father-in-law
was completing an application for a £10,000 loan to invest with the Firm.
At least eight complainants complained that the Firm’s employees had provided
explicit advice on which trades to make. In one case, a complainant alleged that
an employee of the Firm had taken over her computer in order to direct trades.
The Firm does not have permission to provide investment advice.
Several customers complained about being unable to contact the Firm or to
withdraw their funds.
Five complaints included the inappropriate categorisation of a customer as a
‘professional investor’. This enables such customers to invest using significantly
increased leverage, greatly increasing the potential losses which may accrue. Only
customers meeting specified criteria which demonstrate their expertise, experience
and knowledge may be categorised as ‘professional investors’.
As a result of transacting with the Firm, some customers sustained significant
financial losses. Eight customers lost over £30,000. A further two customers lost
over £100,000. An additional three customers lost over £200,000 and one
customer lost £400,000.
Having clear and demonstrable grounds for believing that the Firm was
contravening provisions adopted in Cyprus for the purposes of implementing MiFID,
the Authority notified the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (“CySEC”)
of the situation, requested that it take all appropriate measures for the purpose of
ensuring that the Firm puts an end to the contravention, stated that the Authority’s
powers of intervention were likely to become exercisable in relation to the Firm if
it continued the contravention and indicated the requirements that the Authority
proposed to impose on the Firm in the event of the power becoming exercisable. A
reasonable time has expired since this notice was given and, either the CySEC has
failed to take such measures or any measures taken have proved inadequate for
the purpose of ending the contravention. The Authority considers that the Firm is
acting in a manner which is clearly prejudicial to the interests of investors in the
UK and has informed CySEC of its intention to exercise its power of intervention in
respect of the Firm.
The regulatory provisions relevant to this First Supervisory Notice are set out in the
From the facts and matters described above, the Authority has concluded that the
Firm has acted in contravention of its obligations under MiFID, as transposed into
Cypriot law by failing to:
a) ensure that its marketing communications are fair, clear and not misleading;
b) assess the compatibility of the financial instruments with the needs of the
clients to whom the Firm provides investment services;
c) provide appropriate information in good time to clients or potential clients with
regard to the Firm and its services;
d) act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best interests of
its clients; and
e) disclose its fee schedule in a comprehensible form such that clients are
reasonably able to understand the nature and risks of the investment services.
The Authority considers that the Firm is acting in a manner which is clearly
prejudicial to the interests of investors in the United Kingdom and presents a
significant risk to consumers.
As a result, the Authority has concluded that it is desirable to exercise its power of
intervention under section 196 of the Act to impose the requirements with
immediate effect in order to secure an appropriate degree of protection for
The Authority considers that the requirements are an appropriate and proportionate
means to protect against the risks identified.
The decision which gave rise to the obligation to give this First Supervisory Notice
was made by the RDC. The RDC is a committee of the Authority which takes certain
decisions on behalf of the Authority. The members of the RDC are separate from
the Authority staff involved in conducting investigations and recommending action
against firms and individuals. Further information about the RDC can be found on
the Authority’s website: https://www.fca.org.uk/about/committees/regulatory-
This First Supervisory Notice is given under section 197(3) and in accordance with
section 197(4) of the Act.
The following paragraphs are important.
The Firm has the right to make representations to the Authority (whether or not it
refers this matter to the Tribunal). The deadline for providing written
representations and/or notifying the Authority that the Firm wishes to make oral
representations is 18 June 2020 or such later date as may be permitted by the
Authority. The address for doing so is:
Decision-Making Committees Secretariat
Financial Conduct Authority
12 Endeavour Square
The Firm has the right to refer the matter to which this First Supervisory Notice
relates to the Tribunal, which considers references arising from decisions of the
Authority. Under paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 3 of the Tribunal Procedure (Upper
Tribunal) Rules 2008, the Firm has 28 days from the date on which this First
Supervisory Notice is given to it to refer the matter to the Tribunal.
A reference to the Tribunal can be made by way of a reference notice (Form FTC3)
signed by the Firm and filed with a copy of this First Supervisory Notice. The
Tribunal’s contact details are: Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), 5th
Floor, Rolls Building, Fetter Lane, London EC4A 1NL (telephone: 020 7612 9730;
Further details are contained in “Making a Reference to the Upper Tribunal (Tax
and Chancery Chamber)” which is available from the Tribunal website:
A copy of Form FTC3 must also be sent to James Alleyne at the Financial Conduct
Authority, 12 Endeavour Square, London, E20 1JN at the same time as a reference
is filed with the Tribunal.
Confidentiality and publicity
The Firm should note that this First Supervisory Notice may contain confidential
information and should not be disclosed to a third party (except for the purpose of
obtaining legal advice on its contents).
The Firm should note that section 391(5) of the Act requires the Authority, when
this First Supervisory Notice takes effect (and this First Supervisory Notice takes
immediate effect), to publish such information about the matter to which the notice
relates as it considers appropriate.
For more information concerning this matter generally, contact James Alleyne at
the Authority (direct line 020 7066 2686; email email@example.com).
If the Firm has any questions regarding the procedures of the RDC, it should contact
Chair, Regulatory Decisions Committee
RELEVANT STATUTORY PROVISIONS UNDER THE ACT
1. The Authority’s operational objectives established in section 1B of the Act include
securing an appropriate degree of protection for consumers (section 1C).
2. If the Authority is entitled to exercise its power of intervention in respect of an incoming
firm under Part XIII of the Act, it may impose under section 196 of the Act any
requirement in relation to the firm which the Authority could impose if the firm’s
permission was a Part 4A permission and the regulator was entitled to exercise its
power under section 55L(3) of the Act.
3. Section 55L of the Act allows the Authority to impose a new requirement on an
authorised person if it appears to the Authority that it is desirable to exercise the power
in order to advance one or more of the Authority’s operational objectives (section
4. Section 55N of the Act allows a requirement to be imposed under section 55L of the
Act so as to require the person concerned to take specified action (section 55N(1)(a))
or to refrain from taking specified action (section 55N(1)(b)).
5. Section 55P of the Act allows a requirement to be imposed under section 55L of the
Act prohibiting the disposal of, or other dealing with, any of an authorised person’s
assets (whether in the UK or elsewhere), or restricting such disposals or dealings.
6. Section 197(2)) of the Act allows a requirement to take effect immediately (or on a
specified date) only if the Authority, having regard to the ground on which it is
exercising its power of intervention, considers that it is necessary for the requirement
to take effect immediately (or on that date).
Section 391 of the Act provides that:
(5) When a supervisory notice takes effect, the Authority must publish
such information about the matter to which the notice relates as it
(6) But the Authority may not publish information under this section if
in its opinion, publication of the information would, be unfair to the
person with respect to whom the action was taken or proposed to
be taken [or] prejudicial to the interests of consumers or
detrimental to the stability of the UK financial system.
(7) Information is to be published under this section in such manner as
the Authority considers appropriate.”
RELEVANT MiFID STATUTORY PROVISIONS
Article 24 of MiFID concerns general principles and information to clients.
Article 24.1 of MiFID requires that, when providing investment or ancillary services,
investment firms act honestly, fairly and professionally in accordance with the best
interests of their clients.
Article 24.2 of MiFID requires that investment firms assess the compatibility of the
financial instruments with the needs of the clients to whom they provide investment
services and ensure that the financial instruments are offered or recommended
only when this is in the interest of the client.
Article 24.3 of MiFID requires that all information, including marketing
communications, addressed by investment firms to clients or potential clients shall
be “fair, clear and not misleading”. It also requires marketing communications to
be clearly identifiable as such.
Article 24.4 of MiFID requires appropriate information to be provided in good time
to clients or potential clients with regard to the investment firm and its services,
the financial instruments and proposed investment strategies, execution venues
and all costs and related charges.
Article 24.5 of MiFID requires that the information referred to in paragraph 24.4
shall be provided in a comprehensible form in such a manner that clients or
potential clients are reasonably able to understand the nature and risks of the
investment service and of the specific type of financial instrument that is being
offered and, consequently, to take investment decisions on an informed basis.
RELEVANT REGULATORY PROVISIONS
The Enforcement Guide
The Authority's policy in relation to its enforcement powers is set out in the
Enforcement Guide (EG), certain provisions of which are summarised below.
EG 8.7 sets out the Authority’s policy on exercising its power of intervention against
incoming firms under section 196 of the Act.
EG 8.7.1 states that the Authority adopts a similar approach to the exercise of its
power of intervention under section 196 as it does to its own-initiative powers to
vary a Part 4A permission or impose requirements, but with suitable modification
for the differences in the statutory grounds for exercising the powers.
Consequently, the factors and considerations set out in EG 8.2.1 to 8.4.4 and 8.6.1
to 8.6.8 may also be relevant when the Authority is considering regulatory concerns
about incoming firms.
EG 8.7.2 states that when considering action against an incoming firm, the
Authority will co-operate with the firm’s home state regulator as appropriate,
including notifying and informing the firm’s home state regulator as required by
the relevant section of the Act.
A home state regulator in relation to an EEA firm as defined by paragraph 9 of
Schedule 3 to the Act is the competent authority under the relevant Single Market
Directive of an EEA State (other than the UK) in relation to the EEA firm concerned.
EG 8.2.1 states that when the Authority considers how it should deal with a concern
about a firm, it will have regard to its statutory objectives and the range of
regulatory tools that are available to it. It will also have regard to the principle that
a restriction imposed on a firm should be proportionate to the objectives the
Authority is seeking to achieve (EG 8.2.1(2)).
EG 8.2.3 states that in the course of its supervision and monitoring of a firm or as
part of an enforcement action, the Authority may make it clear that it expects the
firm to take certain steps to meet regulatory requirements. In the vast majority of
cases the Authority will seek to agree with a firm those steps the firm must take to
address the Authority’s concerns. However, where the Authority considers it
appropriate to do so, it will exercise its formal powers under section 55L of the Act
to impose a requirement to ensure such requirements are met. This may include
where, amongst other factors, the Authority “has serious concerns about a firm, or
about the way its business is being or has been conducted” (EG 8.2.3(1)) or “is
concerned that the consequences of a firm not taking the desired steps may be
serious” (EG 8.2.3(2)).
EG 8.3.1 states that the Authority may impose a requirement so that it takes effect
immediately or on a specified date if it reasonably considers it necessary for the
requirement to take effect immediately (or on the date specified), having regard to
the ground on which it is exercising its own-initiative powers.
EG 8.3.2 states that the Authority will consider exercising its own-initiative power
as a matter of urgency where (1) the information available to it indicates serious
concerns about the firm or its business that need to be addressed immediately; and
(2) circumstances indicate that it is appropriate to use statutory powers immediately
to require and/or prohibit certain actions by the firm in order to ensure the firm
addresses these concerns.
EG 8.3.3 states that it is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of the situations
that will give rise to such serious concerns, but they are likely to include one or more
of four listed characteristics, these include: “(1) information indicating significant
loss, risk of loss or other adverse effects for consumers, where action is necessary
to protect their interests”; (2) information indicating that a firm’s conduct has put
it at risk of being used for the purposes of financial crime, or of being otherwise
involved in crime;….
EG 8.3.4 states that the Authority will consider the full circumstances of each case
when it decides whether an imposition of a requirement is appropriate and sets out
a non-exhaustive list of factors the Authority may consider. These include:
The extent of any loss, or risk of loss, or other adverse effect on consumers.
The more serious the loss or potential loss or other adverse effect, the more
it is that [the Authority]’s urgent exercise of its own-initiative powers will be
appropriate, to protect the consumers’ interests.
The extent to which customer assets appear to be at risk. Urgent exercise
of [the Authority]’s own-initiative power may be appropriate where the
information available to [the Authority] suggests that customer assets held
by, or to the order of, the firm may be at risk.
The seriousness of any suspected breach of the requirements of the
legislation or the rules and the steps that need to be taken to correct that
The firm’s conduct. [The Authority] will take into account:
(a) whether the firm identified the issue (and if so whether this was by
chance or as a result of the firm’s normal controls and monitoring);
(b) whether the firm brought the issue promptly to [the Authority]’s
(c) the firm’s past history, management ethos and compliance culture;
(d) steps that the firm has taken or is taking to address the issue.
The impact that use of [the Authority]’s own-initiative powers will have on
the firm’s business and on its customers. [The Authority] will take into
account the (sometimes significant) impact that a variation of permission
may have on a firm’s business and on market confidence. [The Authority]
will need to be satisfied that the impact of any use of the own-initiative
power is likely to be proportionate to the concerns being addressed, in the
context of the overall aim of achieving its statutory objectives.”