Italian Commission Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) recently shut down four new websites in the country. This has raised the number of blocked websites in the country to 349.
Ongoing clampdown against operators
The Italian financial watchdog is working on an ongoing crackdown against firms promoting financial products in the country illegally. The watchdog is looking to protect retail investors from operators making illegal financial offerings. The recent crackdown is targeting illicit firms as well as firms holding licenses in foreign jurisdictions.
The strict actions come after several unauthorized firms cropped in the market to capture the online trading business in Italy. In the latest list of crackdowns, Consob has talked to Italian internet service providers and requested them to block access to ADV-Investment, Kiqiwk Holdings Intl Limited, and Investoomatic Limited. Consob received the power to blackout websites in July 2019. Since then, it has blocked 349 websites of operators it deems unregulated.
Working with improved scrutiny
Consob has refined its process for the identification of non-compliant companies operating in the country. It has become the only regulator in the EU that can block access to websites it deems unauthorized. The regulator recently cracked down on some brokers licensed with the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and asked them to cease operations in Italy. They ordered the intermediaries to stop soliciting customers and break off ongoing relationships with existing clients.
Consob made the decision under article 86 of Mifid2 and article 7-quarter, paragraph 4 of the Consolidated Law on Finance (TUF). The legislations allow the regulator to prevent any firm licensed in another EU member state to cease operations in its jurisdictions after informing its peer in the concerned state.
The regulator is finding its powers from the Growth Decree that gave it teeth to fight against the rampant presence of unauthorized firms in the forex and online trading space.