KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has declared forex trading platforms like OctaFX and Easy Forex illegal in the country and warned citizens that these platforms are regulated neither by the central bank nor the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.

YouTube and other social media websites are awash with ads of such digital platforms, which have also taken on board several so-called influencers to promote their services. As a result, more and more Pakistanis are now relying on such trading platforms as a source of primary or passive income.

The SBP “has noticed that an increasing number of offshore foreign exchange trading websites, mobile applications and platforms such as OctaFX, Easy Forex, etc. are offering their products and services to residents of Pakistan”, the SBP said in a statement on Wednesday. “These digital platforms lure people through social media advertisements to buy and invest in their products or services.”

“Examples of such products include but are not limited to foreign exchange trading, margin trading, contract for differences, etc,” it said. “It is clarified for the interest of the public that buying products and services being offered by the aforementioned platforms by any person resident in Pakistan is prohibited and against the laws of the land.”

People buying products or services from such offshore platforms and remitting foreign exchange directly or indirectly to them through any payment channel would be prosecuted under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act of 1947 (FERA).

The central bank also advised authorised dealers to comply with FERA and take all necessary measures to stop payments to all such trading platforms by their customers through any payment channel.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2022

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