Anyone who has browsed a number of Forex comparison sites may have noticed that there are significant number of Forex brokers based in Cyprus. Today we are going to explain the reasons behind why so many Forex brokers choose the small island of Cyprus as a base for operations.
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Being based in Cyprus has a number of benefits; one of the most obvious benefits is the low rate of corporation. The Cyprus boasts the European Union’s lowest rate of corporation tax. The rate of corporation tax on the island is currently a flat 10%. The only other European Union country to charge such a low rate of corporation tax is Bulgaria, which itself has seen a small influx of Foreign exchange brokerages in recent years. This makes Cyprus a very attractive destination for those who looking to open a brokerage, as company can reduce its overall tax bill significantly.
European Union Membership and MiFID
MiFID stands for the Markets In Financial Instruments Directive and is a European law that harmonises investment regulation throughout the 30 states of the European Economic Area. Essentially MiFID sets out a minimum regulatory framework which must be adopted and followed by all the countries in the European Economic Area. MiFID also maintained the passport principle introduced by previous European Union law, this principle means that a firm regulated in a MiFID country can offer its services to citizens and residents of other European Economic Area countries. Cyprus is a member of European Economic Area and the European Union, meaning that Cypriot based brokerages can offer their services to citizens of any other EEA country. While MiFID ensures a minimum standard of financial regulation, regulation does vary in each jurisdiction. For instance, Cyprus insures retail customer funds up to the amount of 20,000 Euros, while in Britain funds are insured up to £70,000 pounds should a regulated investment happen to collapse.
Large Financial Sector and Skilled Workforce
It is not only low taxes and European Union membership which attracts many retail brokers to Cyprus, the island also boasts a large financial sector. Low tax rates and a solid business saw Cyprus grow to be one of Europe’s larger financial hubs, with the financial services sector growing rapidly after the breakup of the USSR in 1991. This means that brokerages are able to recruit all the staff they need without too much hassle. A large retail FX brokerage requires a number of specialist staff including traders, risk managers and compliance staff. These specific needs leads to brokerages being drawn towards jurisdictions which have a strong financial services sector.
Internet & Telecoms Infrastructure
In addition to the other factors mentioned above, Cyprus already has a strong telecommunications infrastructure in place. While Cyprus doesn’t have Europe’s strongest internet infrastructure, in recent years Cyprus has vastly improved its telecoms infrastructure. The nation is currently in the process of making fibre-optic broadband available nationwide and fibre optic broadband is readily available in a number of urban locations including Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol. One can easily imagine how important a strong telecoms infrastructure would be in running a serious Foreign exchange brokerage.
It has been suggested that the recent economic crisis in Cyprus might dent the islands reputation and lead to a flock of brokerages to move elsewhere, however this hasn’t been the case. This is mainly due to the fact that the crisis didn’t see any clients losing any of their deposited funds. The draw of Cyprus as a destination for Foreign exchange brokerages has been confirmed in recent months with a number of new brokers applying for licences. As long as Cyprus continues to offer competitive rates of corporation tax and remains a member of the European Union, the island is likely to be favoured by many Forex brokers.