Forex trade in Georgia
Hossam Afifi

Hossam Afifi

I'm a lawyer and an overseas entrepreneur who help people to invest overseas, grow their wealth, and reduce their tax.

Should you get a Forex license in Georgia?

Till the beginning of 2018 getting a forex trade license in the country of Georgia was not mandatory, You could just be a forex trader in 24 hours! So If you are wondering about starting a forex business in Georgia Europe, Keep reading this article.

What is Forex?

Forex is an over-the-counter market. Forex trading is a process of converting one currency into another among individuals, banks, and businesses.

The currency market consists of two fundamental elements: the stock market and the external stock exchange market. Most of the Forex operations are held on the external stock exchange market. A forex company, which is not a bank, interests (individuals ,companies etc) by paying them through currency exchange.

Forex trading is considered the largest liquid market in the world. Daily average size of Forex deals in the world is 3 to 7 trillion USD.

How does the Forex market work?

There is no central market for forex trading. Unlike stocks, a forex market trades via a global network of banks, dealers, and brokers. It means forex trading can proceed 24 hours a day, 5 days a week (Saturdays and Sundays excluded).

The main difference between broker and forex companies is in terms of speculative exchange trading. Unlike a broker company, a forex transfers real money into the bank accounts of the clients.

Currency exchange pricing

In Forex, you buy one currency with another. This is why the Forex prices are stated in pairs. Currencies have their own three letter abbreviations. On the left is the base currency(the one you are selling), and the currency it is changed for on the right. For example: exchanging US dollars for Euros will be quoted as USD/EUR

The basis of Forex trading is buying at low cost and selling at high, the simplest trading principle. Your only expectation is that the value of the currency you bought will increase compared to the sold currency.

Foreign exchange prices may be influenced by various factors including:

  • Inflation
  • Government policy
  • Imports and exports demand etc.

Forex market regulations in the country of Georgia

Proper regulations have to be applied on t financial markets and forex trading in the country for its own good. The main goal of regulators is to monitor the forex market, issue licenses to brokerage and investment companies, control them and protect the interests of consumers and investors.

Until 2018 no license was required for providing services on the Georgian Forex market. Recent facts of fraudulent activities as well as the emerging demand for protection of brokerage companies’ rights, Georgian government brought the market under control of licensing.

Ever since, providing any brokerage services without relevant license is prohibited. There are a few legal acts regulating the field and the licensing process itself, including orders of National Bank of Georgia (NBG) as well as Law “On the Securities Market”, Law “On Licenses and Permits”, the Tax Code etc.

Law on forex license and permissions in Georgia

According to the article 6 of the Law on Licenses and Permissions, certain financial activities provided on the territory of the country require licensing, those are:

  • Engaging in banking business;
  • depository services;
  • to carry out brokerage activity;
  • stock exchange;
  • asset management.

What is a Forex License according to Georgian legalization?

According to the law of Georgia on Securities Market article 23, “brokerage license authorizes a brokerage company to engage in operations and services related to equity share, shares, bonds, certificates, bills of exchange, checks and other securities”, holding this kind of license, the company can provide different kinds of financial services such as:

  1.  consulting investors on a subject of investing, including – funds prices, investing in funds, purchase and sale of securities transactions, as well as related foreign currency transactions;
  2. conducting research related to financial instruments and their emitters, and providing dissemination of the research results, as well as recommendations on investment strategy;
  3. consulting the emitters in on a subject of securities issuance and investments attraction;
  4.  preparing and implementing the placement of securities on the non-guaranteed basis;
  5.  receiving and transmitting client orders in related to securities, close transactions with securities in the clients interest;
  6.  managing the clients investment portfolio, including – pension schemes and funds allocated for the securities operations implementation;
  7. implementation of safekeeping of investment funds and (or) customers funds, as well as maintenance of nominal securities holders; open customers cash accounts and securities accounts and perform operations on those accounts;
  8. close transactions with securities on their own resources in their best interest;
  9. preparing and placing the issuer’s securities on the guaranteed basis;
  10. providing and loan customers funds, as well as use own funds to purchase securities for customers, to participate in “short sales” in established by the Agency order;
  11. implementation of the purchase and sale of foreign currency;
  12. performing other transaction with financial instruments, shares of the business community or other authorities, defined by current legislation;

How to get a Forex Licence in Georgia?

The license is issued by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). To get the Forex License the interested party should fill in the registration form and provide all the required documents to the NBG.

  1. Extract from Registry of Entrepreneurs and Non-Entrepreneurial (Non-Commercial) Legal Entities  that the company is registered in Georgia.This document can be easily downloaded from the official web-page. The same applies to the branch of an international brokerage company in Georgia.
  2. Agenda of the company
  3. All the information about the company including personal data of the partners, distribution of shares etc.
  4. List of the activities the firm is going to carry. 
  5. Proof of minimum capital competence. Also the company is required to provide the source of the capital. The minimum amount of the capital is 500 000 Gel
  6. Proof of paying the registration fee (5000 Gerogian lari paid as service fees );
  7. Information about the business model and the strategic plan of the licence’s seeker;

It is worth mentioning that the personal experience and portfolio of the managers of the company plays a huge role. The managers are individually evaluated based on theri background. The terms of evaluating are also described in the order.

The list of documentation is quite long and detailed, unfortunately, the official translation of the NBG’s order, regulating the process is not available yet. It is advised to consult with the local expert.

The application review takes up to 30 days after fully providing the required documents to the authority.

Forex license in Georgia

Who is eligible to apply for a Forex license in Georgia?

Registration of the Forex license for legal entities where the managers/founders are foreign citizens is allowed. So everyone who corresponds with the evaluating requirements are eligible to apply for the license.

Revoking a Forex License in Georgia

The grounds of revoking Forex licence are following:

  • The company’s written concept of revoking the licence,
  • The documents applied for the licence are fraudulent, incomplete or are not in accordance with the requirements.
  • the broker’s activities do not correspond with the Georgian legislation;
  • in case of liquidation of a brokerage company.

The decision on revoking the license is made by the National Bank of Georgia within 30 days.

Status of international financial company

According to the Georgian Tax Code, an international financial company is a financial institution that is being given a status of an international financial services company and therefore specified status certificate, based on the application of its authorized representative.

Obtaining a Forex license gives you the possibility to provide financial services abroad and gain the status of an international financial company. The procedure for granting the status shall be determined by an order of the Minister for Finance of Georgia.

The revenue earned by an international financial company from financial transactions performed and/or financial services delivered from a Georgian source may not exceed 10% of its total revenue However, the status holders receive certain tax benefits. An international financial company is subject to exemption from income tax – income gained from the company’s dividends are not subjected to taxation.

License holder’s obligations

According to the above mentioned order of the National Bank of Georgia, a brokerage company is required to annually submit financial statements with an auditor’s opinion as well as quarterly and ongoing reports.

Forex companies are also required to clarify and mark off the clients’ and company’s financial belongings.

Why to choose Georgia for forex business

In a business friendly environment a forex company can undergo and enlarge. Nowadays, many investors are looking for a best destination to set up or extend their forex business. Georgia might seem an attractive destination compared to other countries around the globe, here are some reasons:

Strategic Location

Among other reasons, The location of Georgia country is one of the key features: located at the confluence of Europe and Asian continents, it gives you a gateway to both European and Asian markets.

Easy business

In the World Bank’s report (2016) Georgia was ranked as 16th in ease of doing business and 8th for starting a business. These rankings mean Georgia is fairly business friendly for investors, domestic or foreign. 

You can open a bank account in one day

Low Corruption

Since the demolition of Soviet Union and then the Rose Revolution in 2003,Georgia has gone through drastic positive changes against corruption.This has made Georgia a good investment destination for international investors.

Low taxation regime

There are no employer or reinvestment taxes in the country. Companies operating on Georgian market are required to pay 20% tax. Besides, in the Georgian legislation, there are some tax exemptions for offshore companies and for the ones set up in tax free zones as well. You are probably heard of Georgia virtual zone where you won’t obliged to pay any tax

No minimum labor wages

Georgian labour laws don’t regulate minimum wage rates for employers like other European countries. As an employer, investor in Georgia are able to maintain a qualified workforce at reasonable rates.

Low Competition

The whole financial market in Georgia is regulated by the National Bank including the forex market and forex brokers. The financial market in Georgia, especially forex, is still not so developed. The number of registered companies is only up to 10. However, there are some companies providing a huge range of financial services. Thus, any other forex firm offering such services is unlicensed in Georgia.

Conclusion

Georgia has one of the fastest growing economies in Eastern Europe with prospectus financial markets. The idea of owning a Forex license and obtaining the certificate of an international financial company is becoming more and more attractive for foreign entrepreneurs. 

However, providing services based on financial instruments involves high risk and requires special knowledge and experience. Even though Georgia is one of the best countries to do ease business, however, to improve the efficiency of your business, you will need the detail oriented guide, especially when the legislation is not that clear. In that case, make sure you book a consultation with us.

Looking for an opportunity in IT industry in Georgia? Read this article: Should you start an IT business in Georgia?

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