Belize’s financial services regulator – the International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) raised the required minimum capital for registering new derivatives brokers to $500 000. The increase concerns brokers of forex, options, futures, contracts for differences (CFDs), shares, stocks and interest rates. Previously, the minimum required capital was $100 000.
Meanwhile, the IFSC also increases the application fee for trading in financial and commodity-based derivative instruments and other securities (e.g. futures, options, interest rates, foreign exchange instruments, shares, stock, contracts for differences, etc.) from $500 to $1000. The annual license fee for those activities is also raised – from $5000 to $25 000.
The amendment to the International Financial Services Commission Act, Chapter 272, was approved by Belize’s Minister responsible for International Financial Services Dean O. Barrow on December 30, 2015 and was published in Belize’s state gazette in mid-January 2016. The new fees come into effect on April 1, 2016. The companies who already have a registration with the IFSC will have a grace period of two years to increase their capital in accordance with the new requirements.
In comparison, other regulatory bodies, such as UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Cyprus’ Securities and Exchange Commission (CYSEC), the Australian Securities and Investments Regulation (ASIC) and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) have stricter rules and higher capital requirements for the same types of activities. FCA, for example requires a minimum capital of 730 000 euro. CYSEC has two types of licenses: the full license requires a capital of 1 million euro, while the limited: 200 000 euro. Australia’s financial watchdog issues licenses to companies with a minimum capital of $1 million and in Switzerland the requirement is for at least 20 million Swiss Franks.