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Unauthorised activity

The exercise of financial activity in Portugal is reserved for the entities authorised by Banco de Portugal.

This means that the exercise of this activity is only allowed for entities that have been the subject of an authorisation or a qualification process (the latter, in the case of financial institutions authorised in other European Union Member States) by Banco de Portugal. In this process, Banco de Portugal checks compliance with a number of requirements ensuring solvency and the capacity to carry out financial activity by both the entity and the members of its main corporate bodies.

The exercise of financial activity by an unauthorised entity may constitute a crime and is a serious breach, punishable by a fine, among other penalties, in accordance with the Legal Framework of Credit Institutions and Financial Companies (Regime Geral das Instituições de Crédito e Sociedades Financeiras).

Consult the online list of authorised entities

Transactions with unauthorised entities may result in serious losses to customers, as these entities are not subject to the reporting requirements and prudential limits that safeguard consumer interests and the stability of the financial system.

Before starting a contractual relationship, customers should verify whether the entity in question is authorised to carry out the type of financial transaction envisaged, by consulting the list of registered entities.

List of activities reserved for authorised entities

Without prejudice to the exceptions enshrined in law, only the entities specifically authorised may carry out, on a professional basis, the following financial activities: 

  • acceptance of deposits or other repayable funds;
  • lending, including the granting of guarantees and other commitments, financial leasing and factoring;
  • payment services (such as transfer of funds) and issuance of electronic money;
  • issuing and administering other means of payment, such as paper cheques, paper travellers’ cheques and bankers’ drafts;
  • trading on own account or on behalf of customers in money market and foreign exchange instruments, financial futures and options, exchange and interest rate instruments, goods and transferable securities;
  • participation in securities issues and placement and provision of related services;
  • money broking;
  • portfolio management and advice, safekeeping and administration of securities;
  • portfolio management in relation to other assets;
  • provision of services and exercise of the following investment activities:
    • receipt and transmission, on behalf of customers, of orders in relation to one or more of the financial instruments herein referred to;
    • execution of orders, on behalf of customers, in relation to one or more financial instruments;
    • dealing on own account in one or more of the financial instruments herein referred to;
    • portfolio management on a discretionary and customer-by-customer basis, in accordance with mandates given by customers, where such portfolios include one or more financial instruments; 
    • investment advice in relation to one or more financial instruments;
    • underwriting of financial instruments and placing of financial instruments, on a firm commitment basis or without a firm commitment basis;
    • management of multilateral trading facilities.


Consult Banco de Portugal’s public warnings on unauthorised financial activity

Banco de Portugal issues public warnings on entities unauthorised to carry out financial activity and on potential fraudulent practices.


Applicable legislation: