The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) released its annual report this past week. As part of the release, Chairman of the AMF Robert Ophèle delivered a speech highlighting important issues and challenges within the financial markets.
During his speech, Ophèle commented on “toxic investments.” While first addressing binary options and highly leveraged CFDs, he said that crypto assets have taken over as the most pressing problem.
“During the first four months of the year, out of the more than 4,000 requests processed by our “Epargne Info-services” center, 700 concerned crypto-assets with nearly 250 claims or reports reporting more than € 9 million in losses.”
France has recently indicated its intent to be a initial coin offering haven of sorts. It is not clear how supportive the AMF is of this policy objective that embraces crypto innovation.
Orphèle also threw some crypto-shade at the Spanish. He referenced a European prohibition on the marketing of dangerous financial products. Under MIFID 2, risky offerings may be prohibited from promoting their services. But Orhphèle said the European approach has been far from consistent wagging a finger at Spanish football (soccer) club Atletico de Madrid.
One of Atletico’s top sponsors is Plus500, an online trading platform that enables investors to trade in the more mundane world of equities, commodities, forex etc. The company has added the ability to trade cryptocurrencies and revenue has rocketed. The French, or at least Orphèle, believes this is not quite right;
“I observe however, by the way, that the approach of these products is far from being homogeneous in Europe since as you could see it last night on the occasion of the retransmission of the football game between Marseille and Madrid, our Spanish friends tolerate the sponsorship of their teams by financial intermediaries specialized in these toxic products. Practice that we were able to eradicate in France and now prohibited by the law Sapin 2.”
And by the way. Madrid won the match against Marseille 3-0 and celebrated with their Plus500 jerseys displayed prominently for all to see.