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AMF Ombudsman’s 2023 Report Highlights 60% Surge in Crypto Disputes

AMF Ombudsman's 2023 Report Highlights 60% Surge in Crypto Disputes

The office of the Ombudsman at the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) has released its 2023 annual report, highlighting a rising number of cases in real estate investment companies, crowdfunding, and crypto assets compared to the previous year.

The AMF Ombudsman received 1,922 cases in 2023, compared to 1,900 in 2022. The report indicates a significant drop in admissible cases, leading to fewer solutions proposed by the Ombudsman. Nevertheless, the team managed to handle and close a substantial number of cases, reducing the backlog by nearly 40%.

Sharp Rise in Crypto Cases

Notably, 1,129 admissible cases were reported, which compared to 1,341 in 2022. 2,060 cases were processed and closed, a drop compared to 2,089 in 2022. This resulted in 826 proposed solutions, a decline of 18%.

Share savings plans accounted for 25% of the total referrals, continuing to be the primary source of disputes. Issues often result from delays in transferring plans between institutions. A notable case involved non-compliance with tax regulations due to multiple transfers.

While no longer the main focus, employee savings schemes still constitute 18% of referrals, with early release being the major complaint. Meanwhile, disputes related to stock market orders have decreased significantly, a shift attributed to fewer new investors and a reduced volume of securities operations.

In 2023, the economic climate in 2023 experienced a sharp increase in disputes related to real estate investment companies and crowdfunding. SCPI disputes doubled to 86 cases, primarily concerning delays in redemption requests and unit depreciation. Real estate crowdfunding cases also surged by 110%, necessitating a distinction between market downturn issues and platform-specific malfunctions.

Cryptoasset-related disputes have risen sharply, with 88 cases in 2023 compared to 54 in 2022. This rise correlates with the increasing number of platforms registered by the AMF as digital asset service providers (DASPs). The ongoing application of the MiCA regulation will impact these providers, allowing them to continue operations under existing laws until mid-2026.

Stablecoin Issues

Comparatively, the volatile crypto asset market and the increase in registered DASPs led to a sharp rise in crypto-related complaints in 2022. The number of disputes jumped to 54, with 17 deemed admissible. Issues included problems with stablecoins and the practices of certain market participants exploiting “reverse solicitation” to avoid AMF registration.

Last year, the Ombudsman’s proposals favored applicants 54% of the time, with a high compliance rate of 95%. Among the cases closed, 202 recommendations led to financial proposals, with compensation totaling €864,519.

Personal equity savings plans were the leading cause of disputes, accounting for a significant portion of the referrals. Most issues revolved around delays in transferring PEAs between institutions. This recurrent problem led the AMF Board to form a working group in September, chaired by Jacqueline Eli-Namer, to seek practical solutions.


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