KNF – Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego (Financial Supervision Authority) is Polish financial regulatory Its responsibilities include supervising of banking, capital markets, insurance, pension scheme and electronic money institutions. Last week it announced changes in law which will be introduced since the end of April. Amendment changes rules about brokerage houses which should make hard for unlicensed brokers to be in Poland. We have sent few questions to KNF about further details of these changes. We have answers from Maciej Kurzajewski, deputy director of Department of Investment Companies and Infrastructure of Capital Market in KNF.
Translated by Joseph Jarzabek from Comparic.com
Comparic: On April 19th KNF published bulletin in which it announced changes in Act on Trading Financial Instruments. These changes will be introduced in the end of April, their goal is to stop brokers without licenses from getting customers. It is surely a step in good direction which should protect us – consumers. However – simply put – what will these changes mean for regular citizen?
Maciej Kurzajewski: Changes in the act should lead to defining who can make brokering marketing actions and solicit clients in Poland. New regulations are strict about it that it is the right only of investment company or its agent. These are regulated and supervised entities. Every other person who will try solicit clients to invest on Forex market, will break the law and will pay fines. I must admit that this is supposed to be an answer to the increasingly serious and disturbing phenomenon of persuading Polish people to invest on Forex market by people who do not have the proper knowledge and skills. Moreover, we identified examples where we had the feeling that future investors were deliberately misled just to invest as much money as possible. There is also a whole area of telephone marketers promoting not regulated services or illegal brokers operating in Poland. These are stories similar to those you can read frequently in the media. We want to protect investors and this is what our initiative is doing.
Comparic: How KNF is going to enforce new law and are people connected with the procedure (these advisors with whom affected clients had direct contact) are afraid of?
Maciej Kurzajewski: I have the impression that some people involved in such activities are unaware of what might happen to them. This type of unlawful contact with investors is a crime. Like any criminal activity, it is the interest of police and prosecutor. We, on our part, make every effort to properly assist the law enforcement agencies in fighting such a crime.
Comparic: So far, contact between investment companies not licensed by KNF and potential customers was made mainly by phone. What about other forms of marketing? Because of new regulations a non-authorized foreign entity will not be able to advertise in Polish newspapers, magazines, TV and websites?
Maciej Kurzajewski: New regulations are aiming primarily the issue of direct marketing. On April 5th we handed over to the Minister of Development and Finance a special proposal for law changes, dedicated to cross-border Internet activity. If our proposed amendments are passed by Parliament, the websites of such companies will be blocked and prosecuting those responsible for this will be easier and will put them at greater risk.
Comparic: What about companies regulated in EU?
Maciej Kurzajewski: Going back to the changes which will be introduced since the end of April – it is really significant for licensed in UE investment companies. We have identified cases where EU companies have notified KNF of brokerage activities without physical presence in Poland. However, they used non-regulated companies or individuals residing in Poland to promote their services and derivatives. Once the rules are changed, investment firms will have to cease such activity or continue to work – to provide their Polish sales representatives with the status of an investment firm. The presence in Poland via the agent is legally recognized for the presence of an investment company in the form of a branch. And this ultimately will cause the company to be under the supervision of the KNF in the area of relations with customers.
Comparic: What can I do as a consumer when I will be contacted by people offering brokerage services, and which will raise my suspicions? What steps should I take before signing a contract with such an entity?
Maciej Kurzajewski: We always repeat to check first who are you dealing with. On our website there are special registers and search engines that allow you to know the status of the company that contacts you. If you fail to find it, we recommend high caution.
It is worth to remember that in the case when the KNF has notified the activities of a foreign investment company without a branch, the direct supervisory role of us is marginal. All supervision belongs to the home supervisor. It is worth taking into consideration when deciding whether to use such services.