The Securities and Exchange Commission in the Philippines has issued an advisory against online trading platform eToro, saying it is not authorized to sell or offer securities in the country.

The financial regulator issued the advisory in March, which was posted publicly on April 4, informing the public that the online investment trading platform eToro is “not authorized to sell or offer securities to the public in the Philippines.”

“ETORO’s operations allow Filipinos to create user accounts on their platform for the purpose of investing and trading unregistered investment products,” the SEC wrote in its advisory.

Screenshot from SEC advisory. Source: Philippines SEC

It said the firm is not registered as a corporation in the Philippines and does not have the necessary licenses or authority required under the Securities Regulation Code to sell securities, operate as a broker-dealer, or run an exchange for trading securities in the country.

EToro is a multinational trading company founded in 2007 that is popular with Millennials. The multiasset investment firm has over 33 million registered users worldwide, according to Statista. The platform is available in 140 countries and was valued at $3.5 billion in 2023.

Despite being a multinational company, the Philippine finance regulator advised the public “to exercise caution before investing in these kinds of unregistered online investment platforms and their representatives.”

The bulletin added that anyone acting as salespeople, promoters, influencers, endorsers or agents for eToro in the Philippines could face penalties of up to $88,300 (5 million Philippines pesos) in fines or 21 years imprisonment for violating securities laws.

The eToro company website currently lists the Philippines as a supported country.

Cointelegraph reached out to eToro for clarification but did not receive an immediate response.

Related: Philippine gov’t blocks unlicensed crypto exchange sites

In November 2023, the SEC issued a similar advisory stating that crypto exchange Binance was not authorized to sell or offer securities to the public.

In March, the Philippines National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) began blocking crypto company websites without the necessary licenses.

Later that month, Cointelegraph reported that the SEC instructed the national internet provider to block access to Binance’s website.

“The SEC has identified the aforementioned platform and concluded that the public’s continued access to these websites/apps poses a threat to the security of the funds of investing Filipinos,” stated SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino at the time.

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