France: Interdiction De La Publicité Par Voie Électronique Sur Les Instruments Financiers Hautement Spéculatifs Et Risqués

Etat des lieux

Depuis plusieurs années, l'Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) constate une forte hausse des plaintes d'épargnants ayant investi sur des plateformes internet proposant des instruments financiers hautement spéculatifs et risqués tels que des contrats de différences (CFD) sur le marché des changes, des options binaires sur de nombreux sous-jacents, etc. En cinq ans, le nombre de réclamations déposées auprès de l'Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) a ainsi été multiplié par 18 pour s'élever à plus de 12000 cas. Le Médiateur de l'AMF est d'ailleurs de plus en plus saisi sur ce type d'investissement.

L'AMF avait conduit au cours de l'année 2014 une vaste étude portant sur les quatre plateformes régulées1 proposant des activités de trading CFD et de Forex et avait ainsi pu constater que sur une période de 4 ans, près de 90 % des clients sont perdants, avec une perte moyenne de 10.887€.

Les services de l'AMF ont également pu constater qu'un certain nombre de plateformes agréées en tant que prestataires de service d'investissement dans un autre état membre (par exemple Chypre) proposaient ces mêmes instruments financiers en France dans le cadre de la libre prestation de services. Le Gouvernement note ainsi que ces plateformes peuvent agir « à l'encontre de l'intérêt des clients, par exemple en refusant des retraits de fonds ou en recommandant des investissement inadéquats pour le client2. »

Ces plateformes ont généralement recours à des communications à caractère promotionnel sur internet pour ces instruments financiers. Ces publicités attrayantes font, d'après les plaintes des particuliers, souvent office d'élément déclencheur dans leur premier contact avec les plateformes distribuant ces instruments financiers.

Solutions d'encadrement

Dans la mesure où la surveillance des prestataires de service d'investissement opérant en France en libre prestation de service est de la compétence des autorités de l'Etat membre d'origine3, les moyens dont dispose l'AMF afin de réguler plus strictement les communications réalisées par ces prestataires sont relativement limités. En outre, le contenu des informations à caractère promotionnel transmises par un prestataire de service d'investissement à leurs clients étant encadré par la directive MIFID II4, il s'avérerait difficile pour l'AMF de contraindre ces prestataires à ajouter les précisions souhaitées en matière d'avertissement pour les investisseurs non professionnels.

Pour autant, la directive MIFID II, dans son article 24, paragraphe 12, autorise les états membres, à imposer des exigences supplémentaires en matière de commercialisation d'instruments financiers à condition que ces exigences supplémentaires soient « objectivement justifiées et proportionnées afin de répondre à des risques spécifiques pesant sur la protection des investisseurs ».

Selon le gouvernement5, au regard du nombre de plaintes enregistrées par l'AMF et de leur forte progression, l'adoption de mesures supplémentaires au niveau national est justifiée et permettra d'interdire toutes informations à caractère promotionnel réalisées par voie électronique.

Modifications législatives

A cet égard, le projet de loi Sapin II propose d'insérer un article L. 533-12-1 au sein du Code monétaire et financier qui interdirait toute forme de communication à caractère promotionnel par voie électronique (e-mailings, bannières publicitaires en ligne...) envers les investisseurs non-professionnels portant sur les instruments financiers présentant l'une des caractéristiques suivantes :

  • le risque maximum n'est pas connu au moment de la souscription ;
  • le risque de perte est supérieur au montant de l'apport financier initial ;
  • le risque de perte rapporté aux avantages éventuels correspondants n'est pas raisonnablement compréhensible au regard de la nature particulière du contrat financier proposé.

Si les deux premiers critères ne posent pas de problèmes particuliers, le dernier d'entre eux risque de laisser la place à des interprétations nombreuses et ainsi à des incertitudes sur certains produits bancaire pourtant largement diffusé dans le public. Le projet de loi prévoit logiquement de rendre cette nouvelle disposition applicable aux intermédiaires opérant en France en libre prestation de services et cela par l'intermédiaire d'une modification de l'article L. 532-18 du Code monétaire et financier.

L'Autorité des marchés financiers sera responsable de la mise en oeuvre de la mesure et l'Autorité de régulation des professionnels de la publicité veillera, dans le cadre de ses missions, au bon respect de la mise en oeuvre de cette interdiction par les régies publicitaires.

Pouvoir de contrainte de l'AMF

Le projet de loi Sapin II ne vient pas modifier les différents outils dont dispose l'AMF afin de s'assurer du bon respect de la réglementation applicable. Ainsi, dans le cadre d'un prestataire de service d'investissement opérant en libre établissement ou en libre prestation de service, l'AMF pourra classiquement avoir recours à certains « outils » plus ou moins contraignants tels que :

  • publication d'un communiqué invitant les épargnants ou les investisseurs à faire prevue de vigilance ou listant les sociétés procédant à des campagnes publicitaires en violation de la législation6 ;
  • Emission d'une injonction à l'encontre du prestataire de service d'investissement se livrant aux compagnes publicitaires précitées7 ;
  • En cas d'urgence, suspendre provisoirement d'activité en France le prestataire.

Perspectives

Par ailleurs, au niveau européen, la directive sur les marchés d'instruments financiers applicable à compter du 1er janvier 2018 permettra à chaque superviseur national d'interdire ou restreindre sur son territoire la commercialisation de produits financiers qui poseraient notamment d'importants problèmes de protection des investisseurs8.

Footnotes

1. Voir en sens : Conférence de Presse : « L'AMF se mobilise contre le trading sur le Forex pour les particuliers », 13 oct. 2014

2. Etude d'impact, Projet de loi relatif à la transparence, à la lutte contre la corruption et à la modernisation de la vie économique, 30 mars 2016, p. 107.

3. Directive MIFID, art. 16. Ce texte ne prévoit pas pour la libre prestation de services, de dérogation au principe de la compétence de l'Etat membre d'origine, comme cela est le cas dans le cadre de la liberté d'établissement (voir considérant 32 de cette même directive). Ces dispositions ont été reprises par la Directive MIFID II (art. 21 et considérant 90).

4. Article 24 de la Directive MIFID II

5. Etude d'impact, Projet de loi relatif à la transparence, à la lutte contre la corruption et à la modernisation de la vie économique, 30 mars 2016, p. 108.

6. En ce qui concerne les communiqués de presse de l'AMF, le conseil d'état accepte désormais de juger des recours en annulation contre des actes de droit souples. Il a en effet reconnu que les communiqués de l'AMF pouvaient faire grief et étaient susceptible de faire l'objet d'un recours en excès de pouvoir (CE. 21 mars 2016, Société Fairvesta International GMBH et autres)

7. CMF, art. L. 532-21, L. 621-14 et R. 532-19

8. Directive MIFID, art. 69, Règlement MiFir, art. 42

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