Obtaining brokerage license in Cyprus | Law&Trust International

Brokerage license in Cyprus

The process of obtaining brokerage license in Cyprus can not be cosidered as simple one. Legal support in obtaining license (including the licenses of Forex STP and Market Maker) is necessary to ensure that the applicant's documents package complies with the requirements of the legislation of Cyprus, and the company's activities are in accordance with the existing restrictions.

Since 2001, licensing of financial activities in Cyprus is carried out by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (hereinafter CySEC).

Since 2004, Cyprus is a member of the European Union, which allows the company that obtained brokerage license in Cyprus to carry out passportization (activities in the territory of the Member State of the EU after notification) of its services in the EU, as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. In 2012, the CySEC became the first authority regulating binary options as financial instrument.

The advantages of obtaining brokerage license in Cyprus:

1. Cyprus is the member of the EU. Obtaining license allows to conduct financial activities in all the territories of the European Economic Area (in accordance with Markets in Financial Instruments Directive of 2004 (MIFID));
2. One of the lowest income taxes in the EU that is 10% (Cyprus transactions) and 0% (transactions outside the country).
3. Legislation of Cyprus concerning regulation of financial activities is harmonized in accordance with the EU directives and contains specific criteria for persons tending to obtain licenses. Binary options and Forex are legislatively settled;
4. There is no income tax for foreign employees;
5. Relatively fast and inexpensive procedure for obtaining license of  Forex broker.

Legislation regulating brokerage activities in Cyprus is as follows: Markets in Financial Instruments Directive of 2004 (MIFID), Cyprus Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Markets Law of 2007.

Procedure of licensing brokerage activity

in Cyprus

  • The applicant should submit the package of documents to the CySEC. The applicant company shall meet the following requirements:

    • The office of the investment company should be located in Cyprus. The main activity should be conducted in Cyprus;
    • The company paid the required contribution through the Central Bank of Cyprus. The amount depends on the range of services provided by the company and on the type of activity. The fee for membership in the Association of Cyprus International Investment Firms (ACIIF) should be paid;
    • The person opened bank account without the right to withdraw money for the term of validity of the license. The CySEC should be assured that you have the authorized capital. Depending on the type of activity, the amount of the authorized capital is as follows:
    • If you are consultant - 80 thousand euros;
    • If you are broker-agent - 125 thousand euros;
    • If you are market maker - 725 thousand euros.
    • In order to obtain brokerage license in Cyprus, it is necessary to provide statement from the bank confirming the availability of this account among other documents;
    • For the company, it is necessary to have a specialist in combating fraud and money laundering (the Compliance officer), a risk manager, an internal auditor in the company's personnel. In addition, the company should have a Board of Directors, a secretary, an accountant, head executives of the brokerage, financial and IT departments, and traders. It is allowed to combine some of the positions, and qualification requirements for persons on the position of the director are imposed;
    • Business plan of the company;
    • Financial plan for three years;
    • Anti-fraud and combating money-laundering policy, as well as the KYC (Know Your Client) policy should be prepared in the organization;
    • Personnel arrangements;
    • Certificate on no record of convictions for each employee;
    • Information about the absence of bankruptcy status for each employee of the company.
  • Failure to comply with at least one of the foregoing items means that the organization will not obtain license from the CySEC. The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission should render its decision within 6 months after receiving the application. The process most often lasts 4 months.

The cost of obtaining brokerage license in Cyprus

  • Law&Trust International provides full legal support in obtaining brokerage license in Cyprus, including company registration, preparation, translation and certification of the package of documents for the applicant, negotiating with the specialists of the CySEC, and consulting the client.

    The cost of the company's services depends on the planned types of activities of the client and is specified during consultation with the specialist.

Obtain Forex license in Cyprus

  • Forex has recently gained popularity in a number of countries, especially in the CIS countries. If you are planning to become a European forex broker, we recommend obtaining a license in Cyprus.

    This jurisdiction specializes in the issuance of brokerage licenses, and profile financial departments with qualified personnel work there.

    In addition, the practice of issuing forex licenses for companies that are aimed at working in the territory of the EU has been developed.

Let's consider the main stages of obtaining license:

Registration of the company

  • The Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF) must be registered in accordance with the Investment Services and Activities and Regulated Market Law, L. 144 (I) 2007. Such a company must have an authorization and a license from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec) .

    Cyprus Investment Company (CIF) is a Cypriot organization specializing in providing investment services and carrying out investment activities. Legislation of Cyprus includes, in part, the activity of brokers and dealers on the securities market, trust management of portfolio investments, investment consulting, etc. to this category.

    This activity is regulated by the relevant legislation and is controlled by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Commission, CySec). Banking and insurance activities, as well as the activity of investment funds, do not belong to this category and are regulated by other laws. "Cyprus investment firm" can be referred to as the analogue of such Russian concept as "professional participant of the securities market".

    At the same time, the first concept is particularly wider than the second one: thus, Cyprus investment firms can conduct the activity of a forex dealer, while this activity is not allowed for professional participants in Russia.

    Cyprus investment firms are regulated by the Investment Services and Activities Law and the Regulated Markets Act of 2007 (as amended in 2009), which replaced the older legislation dated 2002.

    According to the foregoing law, "investment services" and "investment activities" in relation to "financial instruments" fall within its scope. The meaning of the above terms is deciphered in separate annexes to the Law (Third Appendix, Parts I and III).

    The Law refers the following to the "financial instruments" (formulations and wording are shortened):

    • transferable securities;
    • instruments of the monetary market;
    • stakes/parts/shares in collective investment enterprises;
    • options, futures, swaps, forwards and other derivatives contracts in respect of securities, currency, interest rates, etc., which can be executed by actual delivery or cash payment;
    • derivatives with respect to exchange commodities, presupposing the execution by monetary payments;
    • derivative contracts with respect to exchange commodities that presuppose the performance by actual delivery, if they are traded in a regulated market;
    • derivatives with respect to exchange commodities, which presuppose the performance by actual delivery, having a non-commercial nature and possessing the characteristics of derivative financial instruments;
    • derivative instruments for the transfer of credit risk;
    • financial contracts for (price) difference; Opening such a kind of company is quite a complicated process that can take 4 months for its registration. You will need to produce a passport and a invoice or a receipt on the payment for utilities as confirmation of your residence address for registration of the company.

Opening a bank account

  • The next stage is opening of a bank account. Opening of the account is necessary for contributing the authorized capital of your company. After registration of the company, it will be necessary to open account with the bank, on which the company's authorized capital must be transferred.

    When the capital will already be stored on the account, it is necessary to obtain a statement confirming the availability of the paid share capital on the account. This statement is included in the package of documents for obtaining license. After that, the entire package of documents can be filed with the CySEC.

    In this paragraph, we ask you to pat your attention to the requirement of your company's capital, since this sum must be deposited on the account without the right to withdraw.

    Minimum amount of the authorized capital is € 125,000 (as an agent broker), and € 725,000 (as the originator or creator of the market).

    In order to work as a financial broker, you need to pay the authorized capital in the amount of € 125,000. The authorized capital must be constantly present on the account in the bank.

    When the CySec finishes considering the application for license, the applicant will need to provide the document from the Cypriot bank, which will confirm placement of the deposit for the indicated amount. This deposit will be frozen for the duration of the license.

Submission of a package of documents for a license in the CySEC

  • Initially, the application for license is submitted to the CySEC. Following the application, it is necessary to provide the following documents: organizational structure of the company, business plan, manual on internal procedures and procedures on combating money laundering in order these documents can meet the requirements of the CySEC.

    In general, the following documents will be required for filing:

    • business plan;
    • financial forecast for three years;
    • operating manual;
    • AML, manual on risk management and compliance manual;
    • questionnaire for each shareholder and director;
    • certificate on the absence of criminal records and statements on the lack of bankruptcy for each shareholder and employee.

    Moreover, it is necessary to designate a number of employees and agree upon their candidatures with the regulator regarding their reputation and competence for holding respective positions to meet the requirements of the CySEC for license:

    • 4 directors, including the managing director, two executive and two non-executive directors, 3 of whom must be residents of Cyprus;
    • The Risk Manager and Compliance Specialist;
    • Internal auditors (residents of Cyprus);
    • External auditors;
    • Legal advisers.

    The CySEC has requirements for the management of the company:

    Management of the Investment Company must be carried out by the Board of Directors, which must include four persons with excellent reputation and relevant work experience. At least two of them must be residents of Cyprus.

    Obligatory requirement is also the organizational structure of the company.

    Investment company that has a Forex license must meet the following requirements:

    • To have adequate procedures and the Company's policies;
    • To maintain effective and administrative procedures to protect clients from possible conflicts of interest;
    • To have a department to manage risks in order to minimize operational risks;
    • To have administrative and accounting procedures, mechanism for internal control;
    • To properly take into account all financial transactions;
    • To apply the client identification procedure;
    • To keep the client’s information safe.

    The applicant company's share capital is subject to full payment on the last stage of submitting application for obtaining license of the Cyprus investment company. The amount of the capital, as discussed earlier, depends on what services the company plans to provide.

Obtaining a license

  • CySec must make a decision within six months from the date of application. If you are interested in obtaining a forex license in Cyprus, contact the lawyers of Law & Trust International. Our experts will provide you with qualified advice and legal support for the entire procedure for obtaining a license. Reaching out to the specialists of the Law & Trust International company, you will receive quality services at the best prices!


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