IG Group sees the positive in French watchdog push back, shortly after UK clamps down on spreadbetting market

Hayley Kirton
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The French watchdog is not the only one to take a closer look at the spreadbetting market (Source: Getty)

IG Group today offered its support to the French watchdog's latest efforts to clampdown on the spreadbetting market.

In a statement, the spreadbetting firm said the latest raft of rules from Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF) "will provide substantial protection for consumers and greatly improve standards in the sector".

AMF recently confirmed new restrictions on electronic marketing of contract for difference (CFD) products to French retail clients as well as banning electronic marketing for foreign exchange and binaries products. IG also noted the changes would have little material impact on its current business in the country.

Watchdogs across Europe are currently clamping down on the spreadbetting market, particularly focusing on limiting the risk of consumers unwittingly racking up losses on their accounts greater than their deposits.

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Last month, the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced plans were in the pipeline to impose stricter rules on CFDs, adding that it was worried consumers did not fully understand the risks involved.

Just days after the FCA's announcement, Bafin, Germany's financial overseer, proposed new rules to prevent marketing, distribution and sales of CFDs to retail clients who are losing more than the value of their account.

December's string of announcements sent shares for spreadbetting firms on a downhill slide, with IG's shares closing down over 40 per cent for that week. Although they have since regained some ground, shares are still over 30 per cent lower compared with the 787p closing price the day before the announcement was made.

In December, IG Group chief executive Peter Hetherington expressed his disappointed at the way the FCA's announcement, which came with little to no warning to the market, was handled.

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Hetherington told The Sunday Telegraph:

It would have been perfectly possible for them to say a couple of months ago, 'We're doing an in-depth review; we're planning on publishing our results in the beginning of December – watch this space'

The FCA is running a consultation on CFDs, which will close on 7 March, and IG is understood to be working closely with the regulator during the consultation period.

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