Commodity Pool Operators ('CPOs') and Commodity Trading Advisers ('CTAs')


Many US (and non-US) investment advisers are registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) and regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), by virtue of their trading in futures or options on futures, retail off-exchange forex contracts, or swaps or to invest in another commodity pool. Similar to the SEC, the CFTC is a regulatory body created by Congress, and the NFA is the association the CFTC established to regulate the practices of its members. Although the two entities often are referred to interchangeably, the CFTC is the regulator, whereas the NFA is responsible for rulemaking, registration, and enforcement, subject to CFTC review and approval.

Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) registration with the NFA is most common among AIMA members, though many members also are dually registered as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA). There are exemptions to registration requirements, although changes stemming from the Dodd-Frank Act bought many investment advisers into scope for registration – particularly due to their use of swaps.

Dodd-Frank called for harmonization of CFTC and SEC regulation. This notwithstanding, many dually registered members find themselves subject to similar-but-not-same rules governing practices and reporting, including differing reporting metrics. A notable exception is Form PF, which is shared by both the SEC and CFTC.

AIMA regularly advocates on behalf of its members relative to their CFTC/NFA obligations, as well as for increased harmonization of the SEC and CFTC to reduce redundancies and provide greater clarity on differences in reporting metrics and conduct rules. AIMA also provides its members with a wealth of educational content related to these obligations, whether through workshops, webinars or online resources available on demand.

Members are encouraged to get involved in any of several working groups that focus on these and other issues affecting the investment advisory community at large.