Information on Filing Annual Report with NFA
Commodity Pool Operators (“CPOs”) are required to distribute an Annual Report, certified by an independent public accountant, to each participant in each pool it operates (i.e. the investors in the commodity/futures hedge fund) within 90 days after the pool’s fiscal year-end (normally December 31). CPOs are also required under the Commodity Exchange Act and commission regulations to file this report electronically with the National Futures Association (“NFA”) through the NFA’s EasyFile system. Alternate due dates exist for pools that are operated as a “fund of funds“. CPOs can monitor their filings and review their due dates for each pool in the EasyFile system. We have included an overview of the requirements and process below and Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP would be able to help CPOs to make this filing as well.
- Who – all CPOs must file the annual financial report unless they are exempt under the CFTC Regulation 4.13.
- What – a certified financial statement (PDF of the exact statement distributed to the pools limited partners) from an auditor needs to be filed with the NFA. (Please note that CPOs who are exempt under the CFTC Regulation 4.7 does not need to have their statements audited.)
- When – commodity pool annual reports must be distributed to pool participants and filed with the NFA within 90 calendar days of the pool’s fiscal year end. (Mallon P.C. can also check the due date by logging into the EasyFile system on the Filing Index page.)
- How – CPOs must submit annual reports to NFA electronically in accordance with NFA’s EasyFile electronic filing system and procedures.
NFA EasyFile System
Pool operators should have their NFA login and password to access the EasyFile system. Submitting pool financial statements using EasyFile involves a three step process:
- The CPO (or compliance group) will upload a PDF of the identical pool financial statement provided to the pool’s limited partners, including the balance sheet, income statement, schedule of investments, footnotes, and the Independent Auditor’s Opinion, if applicable.
- The CPO (or compliance group) will then enter approximately 30 key financial balances into an electronic schedule. These balances will be pulled directly from the balance sheet, income statement and statement of changes in net asset value included in the pool’s PDF filing.
- The CPO (or compliance group) will finally submit the electronic filing, the system will run some basic edit checks. It will also prompt the CPO to read and agree to an electronic oath or affirmation. This oath or affirmation will apply to the information included in the PDF, as well as, the information entered into the schedule of key financial balances.
A common pitfall with this process include miscalculations with the key financial balances. In order to prevent this from occurring, the CPO should make sure the values/balances input into the system correspond with the PDF certified financial statement. After submission, the CPO should ensure the updated status of the filing becomes “Received” by logging into Pool Index page the in the EasyFile system. This status should show up within a few days after the filing has been submitted.
In addition to the various yearly compliance measures, such as the NFA Self-Examination Checklist, CPOs should be aware that they need to file their audited reports with the NFA. This is especially important because the NFA has fined large firms for failing to file on time (see previous NFA Action). If you need help with filing your annual financials, please contact Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP for further information on our commodities and futures compliance services.
Other related NFA compliance articles include:
- CFTC Provides Annual Guidance to CPOs
- CFTC Amends CPO Reporting Requirements
- CTA Regulatory and Compliance Discussion
- CTA and CPO Registration and Compliance Guide
- Series 3 Exam
Bart Mallon, Esq. runs the Hedge Fund Law Blog and provides hedge fund information and manager registration services through Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP. He can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.