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Bureaux de Change Businesses


On 13 December 2014, the Central Bank of Cyprus (hereinafter to be referred to as “the CBC”), by virtue of the powers vested in it by sections 16(a) and 36 of the Central Bank of Cyprus Laws of 2002 to (No. 3) 2014, issued the Bureaux de Change Businesses Directive of 2014 (hereinafter to be referred to as “the Directive”).

In the said Directive, the following are briefly provided:

The Bureaux de Change Businesses are confined to the provision to members of the public of services that involve buying or selling foreign currency of immediate delivery, without creating any payment account or entering into forward contracts.

This Directive shall not apply to:

  • transactions in foreign currency carried out by a credit institution or any subsidiary of such a credit institution, provided that the subsidiary is included in the supervision on a consolidated basis, that is exercised over a credit institution;
  • transactions in foreign currency carried out by investment firms, only in the case of services connected with the provision of investment services; and
  • the acceptance of foreign currency for the payment of goods and/or services.

A person shall not carry on a Bureau de Change Business in the Republic, unless is a holder of a prior authorisation from the CBC.

An authorisation to operate as a Bureau de Change Business is granted by the CBC only to legal persons which have been incorporated and have their head offices in the Republic.

The criteria and conditions which must be fulfilled for the granting of an authorisation as a Bureau de Change Business are specified in the Directive and include, amongst others, the following:

  1. requirement to maintain a minimum amount of own funds;
  2. a sound organisational framework, appropriate management, accounting and control procedures as well as adequate internal control mechanisms;
  3. maintenance of separate bank accounts for the Bureau de Change Business; and
  4. assumption of measures required in order for the parties involved to be informed about the cost of the transaction (exchange rate and other potential charges), before and after the execution of the transaction.

In relation to the exchange rate fees and the other charges, it is provided that they shall be freely set by the Bureaux de Change Businesses.

To facilitate and expedite the assessment of the applications, the CBC has prepared the Form entitled ‘‘Application for granting authorisation as a Bureau de Change Business’’ (Form “BDC/Q1”) which must be filled in and be submitted to the CBC by persons who wish to be granted an authorisation to operate as a Bureau de Change Business.  The CBC may hand back forms which are insufficiently completed.

By virtue of the provisions of sub-paragraphs (8) and (10) of paragraph 5 of the Directive, the CBC assesses the fitness and probity of direct or indirect qualifying shareholders, members of the management body and senior management of the Bureau de Change Business, mainly on the basis of their responses on the questionnaires which are available on the website of the CBC.  For this purpose, the applicants are advised to fill in and submit to the CBC the following questionnaires:

Questionnaire BDC/Q2 

Applicable for natural persons who:

  1. have or intend to acquire directly or indirectly, qualifying holdings in the share capital of a Bureau de Change Business;
  2. are members of the management body of a Bureau de Change Business or intend to apply for a position in the management body’s membership; and
  3. intend to apply for a position as an operations manager of a Bureau de Change Business.

Questionnaire BDC/Q3

Applicable for legal persons who have or intend to acquire directly or indirectly qualifying holdings in the share capital of a Bureau de Change Business.

 

Public Register of Bureaux de Change Businesses

Bureaux de Change Businesses authorised by the CBC by virtue of the provisions of the Bureaux de Change Businesses Directive of 2014 (R.A.A. 560/2014).