CySEC License – What is a CIF and what are the application requirements?


 

Updated July 2021 – Since allFX-Consult started offering complete Forex Brokerage Solutions, one of the main questions we’ve been receiving regarding licensing, relates to the requirements necessary to submit a CySEC license application for a CIF.

Depending on your structure, whether you are an already established brokerage, a forex IB or white label, a CySEC license is one of the most reputable forex licenses to have. Not only for the protection it provides to traders but also for your banking structures, for maintaining top organisational setups, for the EU passport and the possibilities it opens up for further development.

A full license is of course the way to go, but there may be more options to consider that allow for manageable operational costs and a viable future, always taking into consideration your current setup.

If you’re uncertain on what your next steps should be, make sure you contact us for a thorough discussion with a member of our team.

For the past decade, allFX-Consult has been supporting small, medium and large brokerages enter the EU area the right way, many times by suggesting compromises (where necessary) to reach milestones that a brokerage can sustain towards the larger goal of obtaining a full CySEC license.

 

What is a Cyprus Investment Firm (CIF)?

 

  • A registered, regulated and supervised firm, reporting in regular intervals to the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
  • CIFs must be licensed by the Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission, which is the relevant regulatory and supervisory authority.
  • A CySEC license application is necessary to be submitted, with the Investment and ancillary services the CIF is planning to provide (Please see below all services).

Find out which brokers are licensed in Cyprus today as well as the country’s latest economic data.

 

How do I get a CySEC License?

 

Once you decide that entering the EU market is your next step, you will need to appoint an application promoter for your CySEC License. You will discuss all options and decide on the type of license most suitable to your business model. The two main business models relate to either your brokerage being the middle-man (Straight Through Process to a Liquidity Provider – STP) or your brokerage “making the market” – MM – being itself the Liquidity Provider and deciding on the Risk accordingly). In either of the two models, a set of Investment and Ancillary Services will be requested from CySEC for authorization, accompanied by information on the company, its Directors and its UBO(s).

 

Following the decision making process above, here are the 4 major tasks you will undertake to get a CySEC License:

 

  1. Internal assessment to verify the viability of the project (source of funds to be used as capital and people who will effectively direct the business).
  2. Register and incorporate a new company for the purposes of the CIF. We will find and appoint the 2 Executive Directors (4 eyes) and the 2 Non-Executive Directors who will comprise your BoD.
  3. Complete the application form, gather necessary documentation, submit application, respond to inquiries from the regulator and provide additional documentation if and when required.
  4. Activate your license after authorization is granted. Setup office, hire key employees, finalize technology/equipment and pass the final CySEC inspection.

 

CySEC License – Investment Services

 

  • Reception and transmission of orders in relation to one or more financial instruments;
  • Execution of orders on behalf of investors/clients;
  • Dealing in financial instruments on own account;
  • Portfolio management;
  • Investment advice;
  • Underwriting of financial instruments and/or placing of financial instruments on a firm commitment basis;
  • Placing of financial instruments without a firm commitment basis;
  • Operation of Multilateral Trading Facility (MTF);
  • Operation of Organized Trading Facility (OTF).

 

CySEC license – Non-Core – Ancillary Services

 

  • Safekeeping and administration of financial instruments for the account of clients (includes custodianship and related services such as cash-collateral management);
  • Granting credits or loans to an investor (to allow investors to carry out a transaction in one or more financial instruments, where the firm granting the credit or loan is involved in the transaction);
  • Advice to undertakings (relating to capital structure, industrial strategy and related matters and consulting, and services in relation to mergers and the purchase of undertakings);
  • Foreign Exchange services (in cases when they are connected to investment services);
  • Investment research and financial analysis (relating to transactions in financial instruments);
  • Services relating to underwriting.

 

The CySEC license application requires the following documents:

 

  • Completed application form as provided by the CySEC (recent)
  • Proof of existence and origin of funds to be used as capital
  • Company legal documents (certificate of incorporation, Memorandum and Articles of Association)
  • Certificates of the registered office in Cyprus
  • Certificates by the Republic of Cyprus confirming the Directors & Secretary of the Company
  • Information about the directors, managerial staff and shareholders with special participation (CVs, completed forms/questionnaires, academic qualifications, statements of honour)
  • Clean criminal records and Certificates of Good Standing of the shareholders with special participation, the Board of Directors and employees of the Company
  • Group structure
  • Organisational structure
  • Together with the above document bundle, a three year business plan, the internal procedures/operations manual (IPM or IOM) and anti-money-laundering (AML)and know-your-client (KYC) procedures must be filed with the application.
  • Company policies bundle for best execution practices, conflicts of interest, governance and more

 

Application fees for Investment Firms, payable to CySEC

 

The official document outlining CySEC fees can be found in the following link:

https://www.cysec.gov.cy/en-GB/cysec/fees/Investment-Firms-Fees/

Note (a): For faster application process, CySEC’s fast track scheme can be requested for an additional fee of Euro 25,000, payable to the regulator.

Note (b): The Investor Compensation Fund (ICF) is payable after license is granted and prior to its activation and its contribution starts from Euro 37,000 (including one (1) investment service and the ancillary service of safekeeping and administration.

Note (c): Promoter’s application fees are separate and not related to any of the above amounts.

 

Share Capital Requirements of a CySEC license

 

As of June 26 (2021), the new Regulations and Directives IFD/IFR came in effect, changing the Investment Firm categorization and Capital Requirements based on the size, type of activities of the IF and inter-connectedness with other market players. More information on IFD/IFR is analysed here.

Note: Initial share capital will be deposited and blocked in an EU bank until CySEC license is granted. After authorization, funds are released accordingly.

 

75,000 Euro (Cannot hold client funds):
  • Reception & Transmission
  • Execution of orders on behalf of clients
  • Portfolio management
  • Investment advice

 

150,000 Euro (Can hold client funds):
  • Reception & Transmission
  • Execution of orders on behalf of clients
  • Portfolio management
  • Investment advice

 

750,000 Euro:
  • Dealing on own account (market maker)
  • Provision of underwriting services in respect of issues of financial instruments

And any of the below:

  • Reception & Transmission
  • Execution of orders on behalf of clients
  • Portfolio management
  • Investment advice

 

Looking to obtain a CySEC License? Contact us to look into the details

 

Employees of the CIF – Managerial positions may require certificates (Basic/Advanced examination)

 

Employed before and during the application process

  • 3 Resident Directors and 1 non-resident (if need be)
    • Two Executive Directors
    • Two Non-Executive Directors

Employed after license is granted and prior to activation

  • Money laundering, risk manager and compliance officer
  • Head of each department
    •    – Dealing Room
    •    – Sales,
    •    – Back Office
    •    – Dealing on own account
    •    – Accounting
  • Internal and External Auditors (outsourced engagements)

 

Costs to run and maintain a CySEC license

 

There are many offices that will sugar-coat the running costs of a CIF. Some will also help you in creating a low cost operation plan. Unfortunately, everyone’s come to realize that these plans have no future. We’ve seen small and large balance sheets, budgets making and breaking brokerages, new setups going on sale 6 months after authorization, new setups growing exponentially in a very short period of time.

A license promoter’s job is to get you through one door. allFX-Consult’s job is to get you through a thousand more. 

An investor targeting a CySEC license that correctly followed the process described above (deciding on whether the EU market is the correct next step, the type of brokerage to setup, all the other possibilities prior to going for a full license), is not an investor that looks for low operational costs. This is an investor that raised the proper capital required for the license, but also the capital to run the business with a 3-5 year plan in place.

If you’re not this investor, let’s get you to that point by setting up a correct structure that within a targeted time frame can make this work. Contact us today.

 

Initial/internal assessment

Before allFX-Consult and/or any of its associates takes on a project, an internal assessment is carried out to determine the validity/viability of an application. The background of the people that will effectively direct the business (primarily shareholders) as well as proof of existence and origin of funds to be used as capital, must be evaluated and assessed prior to any engagements.

Please note that this step is mandatory prior to accepting down payments or on-boarding a project, with no exceptions.

 

Important Notes

The forex license acquisition of already approved licenses (CySEC and offshore) has become very popular in recent years. Although we don’t recommend this due to the costs associated with it (unlike applying for a new CySEC license or partnering as a White Label/Tied Agent), it is definitely a way to avoid bureaucratic delays, especially offshore. If you are looking to buy or sell a forex license, we almost always have a counterpart (buy side & sell side).

It’s important to consider that the above is for information purposes only. The actual requirements will be thoroughly discussed with the application promoter that will handle your CySEC license. Our partners/associates have years of experience to guide you through the requirements.

There is no “guarantee”, no matter what people/companies tell you regarding the time frame to receive a license and/or a successful application outcome. The granting or rejecting of the application as well as the complexity of each application determines the outcome and the CySEC committee is the sole decision maker. allFX-Consult is trusted because of our diligent, fast, targeted approach and attention to detail but also our free of charge initial assessment that mitigates your risk before you even risk it.

CySEC is an independent public supervisory Authority, currently supervising over 500 entities, of which 208 are Cyprus Investment Firms, 155 are Administrative Service Providers, the Cyprus Stock Exchange and 12 issuers registered in foreign markets (information taken from a public document published on CySEC website at the time this article was written).


 

How allFX-Consult can step into this picture:

allFX-Consult is a boutique forex consulting agency, catering to quality rather than quantity. For over a decade, our Directors have been connecting with some of the best individuals/professionals, service providers and brokers the industry has to offer, ensuring we can meet any corporate challenge relative to how to start a forex brokerage.

Because of this, allFX-Consult always has a counterpart/partner for any corporate structure. Before we make any recommendations, we thoroughly examine all possibilities. We’re chosen for being discreet, detail oriented and deadline driven.

Contact us for a private conversation to discuss any forex related topic through the contact form or one of our emails at info@allfx–consult.compartners@allfx-consult.com. We specialise in training sales teams and forex corporate structures for individuals that want to Start a Forex Brokerage.

 

You might also be interested in:

Top EU and Offshore jurisdictions | Including brokers registered there & the country’s economic data 

Comprehensive list of worldwide regulators and supervising bodies

What is a Tied Agent | Definitions and detailed information