Currency banned: what will the ban on access to Forex

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22 Feb. The Central Bank of Russia again raised the issue of banning the game in the Forex market for ordinary investors. Officially, about 10 thousand investors are registered in Russia, but operating through offshore much more.

The Central Bank offers to close access to the currency exchange market at free prices (Forex) for unskilled investors. According to the Bank of Russia, most clients of Forex dealers do not realize the risks of playing in such a market.

The Bank of Russia raised a similar issue in 2016 and then in 2017. Now this proposal was made in connection with the discussion of the state Duma on a new gradation of qualified and unskilled investors and on tightening the criteria for obtaining the status of "qualified investor".

The Central Bank has proposed two options for restrictions:

  1. Restrictions for unqualified investors will apply only to new market participants, without affecting those who gained access to the market before the adoption of the law;
  2. The restrictions will affect all market participants regardless of when they registered.

This was announced by Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia Vladimir Chistyukhin in an interview with TASS.

In addition, the Central Bank proposes to reduce the leverage for qualified investors from 1:50 to 1:30 (the ratio of Deposit to lot).

How many investors will be affected by this initiative

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According to official data, there are about 9-10 thousand Russian clients of Forex dealers, without taking into account those who play in this market through foreign companies. Such clients are about 15-20 times more, that is, their number is 150-200 thousand people, of which only 0.2 – 0.3% are qualified - such figures were announced by the partner of the law company "Rustam Kurmaev and partners" Dmitry Gorbunov.

The last large-scale study of the Forex market was conducted in 2015. According to the received by "Interfax-CEA" data, about 460 thousand people used the services of Forex dealers, total monthly turnover was about $330 billion the share of the largest at that time Forex dealers ("Forex Club", and "Alpari Forex" "Broker Group") accounted for 60% of active clients and 57% of the total turnover. The main volume of operations in the market accounted for foreign companies.

What the Central Bank does not like Forex

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The share of investors who actually earn in the Forex market is less than 30%, the rest lose their capital on average for 9 months. The Bank of Russia has long been "not happy with this business", as the first Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Sergey Shvetsov said. But previous initiatives of the Central Bank did not reach further discussions.

At the same time, in December 2018, the Central Bank canceled licenses from 5 Russian Forex dealers.  The right to work in this segment remained only at:

  • "Alfa-Forex»;
  • "VTB Forex»;
  • "Finam Forex»;
  • "PSB Forex".

As explained in the Central Bank, companies that have revoked licenses, worked in the Russian market only as a platform to attract customers to foreign jurisdictions. "The license was used as a cover or as an advertisement," said Valery Lyakh, head of the relevant Department of the Central Bank. The main expenses of such companies were advertising costs.

Aggressive advertising Forex dealers attracted people to the market, "sincerely believing that there can be good money. At the same time, people did not understand that the probability of earning is much less than the probability of losing everything," Shvetsov explained then.

Currently, there is no division into qualified and unqualified investors in the Forex market. This is due to the fact that this market is not subject to the provisions of the regime establishing these concepts.

Who will benefit from tougher conditions

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Experts of "Finam Forex" believe that such a decision of the Central Bank will lead to the elimination of the legal Forex market in Russia. "This decision will benefit offshore brokers and representatives of related industries, such as bookmakers. The interests of ordinary citizens are more likely to suffer. At least, they will not be able to invest in the foreign exchange market in the Russian legal field, " the company believes.

Unqualified or qualified investor

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According to the current categorization of investors, an investor who meets at least one of the criteria is considered qualified.

Individuals are recognized as qualified investors if:

  • The value of assets and / or liabilities under derivatives contracts-not less than 6 million rubles
  • Experience(3) in the organization of securities and derivatives-at least 2-3 years (depending on the status of the organization);
  • Carried out transactions in financial instruments - in the last 4 sq: frequency of:

 - an average of at least 10 times / sq.,

- but at least 1 time / month

- in the amount of not less than 6 million rubles.

  • Requirements for education or qualification certificate:

- certificate of higher education economic education,

- or certificate of FFMS of any series,

- or auditor's qualification certificate,

- or the qualification certificate of the insurance actuary,

- or CFA, or CHA, or FRM.

Legal entities are recognized as qualified investors if:

  • The company's equity capital - not less than 200 million rubles.;
  • Carried out transactions in financial instruments over the past 4 kV with a frequency of:

- an average of at least 5 times / sq.,

- but at least 1 time / month

- in the amount of not less than 50 million rubles.

  • Revenues under RAS and IFRS for the most recently completed (the period for reporting has expired, or it is composed prior to its expiration) of the reporting year - not less than RUB 2 billion.;
  • The amount of assets under RAS and IFRS for the most recently completed (the period for reporting has expired, or it is composed prior to its expiration) of the reporting year - not less than RUB 2 billion..

Now it is planned to change this system. In December 2018, a draft law was introduced in the state Duma, which provides for a four-level gradation of investors depending on their assets. The assessment of the investor's qualification will be carried out by the employees of the broker, Forex dealer and other professional market participants. In the current version of the bill, the threshold for the lower categories of qualified investors set at the level of 400 thousand RUB, the Central Bank plans to raise this threshold up to 1.4 million rubles.

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If the bill is adopted, the following categories of investors will appear:

  • Highly protected unqualified investors-by default, all investors will fall into this group: professional players will be able to invest the funds of this group of investors in simple and least risky instruments. This group is planned to be allowed to invest independently only in securities of the first and second quotation list (except for commercial bonds), in precious metals, currency and investment Fund units.
  • Simple unqualified investors will have capital of more than 400 thousand rubles. or pass a special exam. This group will have access to more complex instruments – margin transactions and derivative financial instruments (for example, futures contracts). Derivative instruments will be available only after passing the testing at the broker.
  • Ordinary qualified investors - should dispose of funds in excess of 10 million rubles. this group of investors will be able to conduct any transactions with securities and derivative financial instruments, provided that the broker will regularly remind them of the risks of such instruments.
  • Professional investors – should dispose of the funds in the amount of 50 million rubles For this group of investors restrictions are practically non-existent.

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