Regulations for Forex broker license in Cyprus

The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), established under the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission Law, passed in 2001, functions as the regulatory and supervisory body for finance-related entities in Cyprus. Its objectives include:

  • Promoting Cyprus as a secure investment destination to enhance its competitiveness in the global financial market.
  • Regulating and supervising the securities market, ensuring transparency and lawful operations among market participants.
  • Enforcing compliance with financial regulations, setting and implementing rules to protect market integrity.
  • Issuing and revoking licenses for financial entities to operate within Cyprus, ensuring they meet regulatory standards.
  • Protecting investors by safeguarding their interests and maintaining a compensation fund for potential losses.
  • Collaborating with international regulatory bodies to combat cross-border financial crimes and enhance regulatory frameworks.

Taxation of forex companies in Cyprus

  • Corporate income tax is set at a competitive rate of 12.5% (one of the lowest in Europe)
  • Dividends are not subject to withholding tax

Types of Forex licensing in Cyprus

Forex activityDescription of activity
Reception and transmission of orders in relation to one or more financial instruments / Investment AdviceReceiving client orders and transmitting them to another entity for execution / Providing personal recommendations on financial instruments.
Reception and transmission of orders in relation to one or more financial instrumentsReceiving and forwarding client orders for one or more financial instruments like shares, bonds, derivatives.
Execution of orders on behalf of clientsExecuting orders for clients such as buying or selling financial instruments as per the client’s instructions.
Dealing on own accountEngaging in position-taking, trading with the firm’s own money for its own profit, rather than on behalf of a client.
Portfolio managementManaging portfolios of investments according to the clients’ objectives and mandates, including discretionary management.
Investment adviceProviding personalized recommendations to clients on financial instruments, investment strategies.
Underwriting of financial instruments and/or placing of financial instruments on a firm commitment basisCommitting to underwrite or place financial instruments on a firm commitment basis, typically involving initial public offerings or additional issuance.
Placing of financial instruments without a firm commitment basisPlacing financial instruments without taking them onto the firm’s own books, acting instead as an intermediary between the issuer and the investor.
Operation of Multilateral Trading Facilities (MTFs)Operating facilities or systems that bring together multiple third-party buying and selling interests in financial instruments.

Overview of requirements to obtain forex license in Cyprus

  • Incorporate under the Cyprus Companies Act for legal operation
  • Appoint at least eight team members, ensuring department heads are Cyprus residents
  • Have at least four board members, including two independent non-executive and two executive directors, with a majority being Cyprus residents
  • Secure a minimum paid-up capital of EUR 75,000
  • Ensure all team members meet high standards of integrity and professional conduct
  • Establish a physical presence in Cyprus for essential operations
  • Contribute to the Investor Compensation Fund (ICF) as required for Cyprus Investment Firms (CIFs)

Estimated time frames to obtain forex license in Cyprus

Company formation

7-14 days

Documents preparation

4 weeks

License application and approval:

1) Fast track procedure

12-14 weeks*

2) Normal procedure

6-9 months*

* The timeline also depends on the workload of CySEC and any clarifications and queries that CySEC may request in relation to the application.

Legal services for obtaining Forex broker license in Cyprus

Basic Package

50,000EUR initial set up

  • Name reservation
  • Company Incorporation
  • Legal address for 1 year
  • Assistance with share capital contribution
  • Corporate documents
  • AML/KYC policies and other internal documents
  • HR services for appointing required local employees (Director, MLRO, Compliance)
  • Search for business premises for rent
  • Applying for the license and ongoing monitoring

Registration of the Forex Dealer licensed company under the minimum regulatory requirements

Additional services on request

  • Individual business plan
  • Adaptation of prepared documents
  • Accounting services
  • Legal opinion
  • Assistance in opening bank account
  • Setting up KYC/KYT provider
  • Apostilled corporate documents
  • Legal support

Ready-Made solution

available on request

  • Registered company
  • Legal address for 1 year
  • No debts, no liabilities – clean company
  • Registered share capital
  • Active license
  • Corporate documents
  • Assistance with transfer of ownership

Jegor Kupratsevits

Head of Finance Projects

Requirements for Forex licensing in Cyprus

List of required documents

  • CVs: Submission of CVs for shareholders and team members, showcasing their professional backgrounds and expertise.
  • Internal Operations and AML Manuals: Documentation in line with EU regulations to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering and operational standards.
  • Business Plan: A comprehensive plan detailing the business’s strategy, service offerings, target markets, financial forecasts, and organizational structure.
  • Proof and Source of Funds: Applicants must provide Proof of Funds as evidence of their financial capacity. This document should showcase the presence of sufficient capital and operational liquidity that meets the minimum requirements in order to obtain forex license in Cyprus.
  • Product Governance and Target Market Assessment: Analysis to ensure products meet the needs of identified target markets and adhere to governance standards.
  • ICAAP: Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process documents demonstrating the firm’s capital management and risk preparedness.
  • CVs of Key Personnel: Resumes of all individuals in significant roles, such as directors and the AML officer, highlighting their qualifications and experience in the financial sector.
  • Insurance Quotation: Proof of risk management measures through an appropriate insurance coverage.
  • Fit and Proper Assessment: Evaluation according to EU standards to confirm the integrity and competence of all key individuals.
  • Business Address Approval: Verification of the company’s physical presence in Cyprus, including proof of a principal business location.
  • Questionnaires: Detailed questionnaires for shareholders, directors, and senior management to assess suitability and compliance.

Business premises requirements

  • For obtaining forex license in Cyprus is required to have a physical office to facilitate data storage and provide a working space for staff, reinforcing the operational base in Cyprus.

Share Capital and Government Fees

  • Minimum Share Capital: Requirement for share capital depends on activity planned under the forex broker license in Cyprus:
    – Investment Advice and R&T (no safekeeping): €75,000;
    – Brokerage (safekeeping): €150,000;
    – Market Maker / Principal: €730,000.
  • Government Fees: Ranging from €8,000 to €9,000 depending on the type of investment license in Cyprus.
  • Fast Track Option: Fast Track process option available for €25,000 (government fee).

Personnel Requirements

  • Executive Directors: Minimum of two persons required. Responsible for overseeing day-to-day management and operational decisions, ensuring the execution of strategic plans, and achieving organizational objectives.
  • Independent Non-Executive Directors: Minimum of two persons required. Tasked with offering independent oversight and strategic guidance without being directly involved in day-to-day operations.
  • Compliance and AML Officer: Responsible for maintaining regulatory standards and anti-money laundering protocols.
  • Head of Investment Service: Oversees all investment services and operations.
  • Head of Backoffice: Manages back-office operations and support systems.
  • Internal Audit: Conducts internal reviews and audits to ensure compliance and operational integrity.
  • Accounting and Payroll: Manages financial records and payroll systems.
  • External Audit: Engages with external auditors to ensure financial transparency and regulatory compliance.
  • Legal Adviser: Provides legal guidance and ensures compliance with local and international laws.

Not sure about the number of staff you need to employ for your Forex project? Contact Legalaes experts to define the right personnel structure for your business model.

Roadmap of obtaining Forex license in Cyprus

For more detailed road map of the project and commercial offer – get in touch with our Forex professional.

Jegor Kupratsevits

Head of Finance Projects

1

Initial Setup

A company must be incorporated under the Cyprus Companies Act, setting a clear shareholder structure and defining team roles, essential for compliance with local regulations.

2

Documents Prepration

In collaboration with the client, essential documents such as agreements, business plans, and compliance manuals are prepared, all tailored to meet the specific regulations of Cyprus. This comprehensive package is crucial for the successful submission to the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

3

Submission

The complete application pack, along with the necessary fees, is submitted to CySEC, marking the formal request for licensing.

4

Staff HR

Legalaes provides options for hiring experienced local compliance teams who are well-versed with the Cyprus regulatory environment, supporting the recruitment process to ensure all personnel meet CySEC’s requirements.

5

Follow-Up

Regular interactions with CySEC are vital to address any clarifications or additional information requests. CySEC assigns an officer to manage the application process, typically involving 2-4 rounds of questions for clarification.

6

Conditional Approval

Following a thorough review, CySEC may issue conditional approval, requiring the company to meet certain stipulations. The company must then submit evidence of compliance with these conditions to move forward.

7

CySEC Visit

A CySEC representative conducts an onsite visit to verify the company’s adherence to the stipulated conditions, ensuring the operational substance of the office in Cyprus.

8

Final Approval

Upon satisfactory completion of all requirements and verification, CySEC grants final approval, allowing the company to immediately commence providing services under its regulatory framework.

Advantages of registration Forex company in Cyprus

Links for legislation related to Forex business in Cyprus

Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act: Establishes the legal framework to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in Cyprus. This act outlines the responsibilities of financial institutions in identifying, preventing, and reporting activities suspected of being related to financial crimes.

Law 87(I)/2017 (Investment Services Law): Provides the legal foundation for the provision of investment services, the exercise of investment activities, the operation of regulated markets, and other related matters in Cyprus, ensuring compliance with European standards.

Cyprus Companies Act: Governs the incorporation, regulation, and dissolution of companies in Cyprus. This act facilitates ease of doing business and provides a framework for the establishment and operation of both local and international companies.

The Cyprus Stock Exchange Law: Regulates the operations of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, outlining the legal requirements for trading and listing securities to ensure transparent and fair markets.

Directive 2014/65/EU – MiFID II: Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on markets in financial instruments, revising trading processes and enhancing transparency across the EU financial markets.

MiFIR Guidelines: Outlines obligations regarding market data under the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation, ensuring data reporting and transparency requirements are met by all participating entities.

Regulation (EU) No 600/2014 – MiFIR: Complements Directive 2014/65/EU, setting out requirements related to the disclosure of trade data to the public and transaction execution obligations in financial markets.

Cyprus forex license regulatory body CySEC

FAQ about Forex license in Cyprus

1. Why choose Cyprus for setting up your investment firm?

Cyprus is renowned for its CySEC license, which is highly prestigious within the financial community. The license offers EU passporting rights, making it a strategic choice for firms looking to establish a memorable presence and expand into the EU market.

2. Who can apply for a Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF) License?

The ideal candidate for a CIF license is an investment firm with a pristine reputation and extensive experience in the field. Cyprus is known for its stringent licensing requirements, which confer prestige and open up significant opportunities.

3. How long does it take to get licensed by CySEC?

The licensing process in Cyprus can take anywhere from 6 to 14 months, influenced by factors such as your project's dedication, the current workload at CySEC, and whether you opt for the fast-track application process.

4. I have a license in another country; would it be useful?

Yes, having a license from another country is helpful because it shows you meet high standards of regulation. This could make your application process in Cyprus smoother and give your firm an advantage.

5. Should I establish an office in Cyprus?

Yes, establishing a physical office in Cyprus is necessary. It serves as a base for keeping documentation and provides a workplace for your staff, fulfilling regulatory requirements to ensure operational legitimacy.

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