Reminder to NFA Member Firms
As part of the annual processes and procedures NFA Members will need to make sure that they complete the NFA Annual Questionnaire. As discussed below in the NFA’s most recent notice to members, it is important that NFA Members complete the questionnaire because some of the answers will appear as BASIC entries sometime within the first half of 2010 (for an image of this, please see Notice to Members I-10-02, reprinted in full below). Below we have provided an overview of the major items which are addressed on the questionnaire. NFA Members are urged to complete the NFA’s Self Exam Checklist prior to logging in to complete the questionnaire.
The annual questionnaire actually requires the NFA Member to provide fairly detailed information on the nature of the Member’s business and the extent in which the Member participates in certain aspects of the industry such as trading in the forex markets. Each firm will need to complete a section called “Firm & DR Information” as well as one section (or multiple sections if applicable) devoted to CTA, CPO, IB, or FCM specific questions. Below we’ve outlined the major categories.
The central part of the CTA questionnaire focuses on information related to the trading program. Such information requested includes: nominal AUM, forex account information, number of accounts trading Securities Futures Products (SFPs)*, most recent disclosure document date, whether any exemptions exist, types of investors, etc.
* A securities futures contract is a legally binding agreement between two parties to purchase or sell in the future a specific quantity of shares of a single equity security or narrow-based securities Index (e.g. products traded on One Chicago or NQLX). It does not include broad-based indices such as the S&P 500 or Dow.
The central part of the CPO questionnaire focuses on information related to the commodity pool. Such information requested includes: pool trading information, question on restrictions (if any), forex trading information (if applicable), SFP trading (if applicable), most recent disclosure document date, whether any exemptions exist, etc.
Firm & DR Information
In the Firm & DR Information section you will need to include certain information on the preparer (name, title, phone, email) and you will need to complete firm information and disaster recovery information.
For the firm information there are a number of questions regarding the number of accounts to which the firm is currently providing advice, whether the firm is engaged in forex activities, the extent to which the firm utilizes advertising (tv/radio, print, internet), and/or whether the firm is registered in other capacity. Importantly, there is a question regarding whether the firm has completed the self-exam checklist within the last 12 months.
Disaster Recovery Information
All NFA Member firms are required to have addressed disaster recovery. For the purposes of the questionnaire, Members are required to provide primary and secondary contact information. Specifically, the instructions are as follows:
For purposes of business continuity and disaster recovery, members are required to provide NFA with the name and contact information for one or two persons who NFA can contact during an emergency. Since this information will serve as an alternative contact in the event you are unable to continue doing business at your main location, the contact information that you provide should be different from that of your main location.
Notice to Members I-10-02
January 6, 2010
Reminder to all Members to complete new questions in Annual Questionnaire assessing Member’s futures-related and off-exchange forex business
On November 30, 2009, NFA issued Notice to Members I-09-21 [HFLB Note: reprinted directly below] requesting all Members to complete a series of new questions located in the Annual Questionnaire assessing their futures-related business. Although some NFA Members have complied with this request, many have not. It is critical that Members access and complete questions in the Firm and DR Information section of the Annual Questionnaire as soon as possible. This applies not only to Members trading on-exchange futures products but also Members trading in the off-exchange foreign currency (forex) market.
Beginning in early 2010 NFA’s BASIC system will display information reflecting whether firms are actively engaged in futures-related business activity or not. If the questions are not answered, the answers will default to no activity, which is what will be displayed in BASIC, as illustrated below.
For additional information and instructions on accessing the Annual Questionnaire, click here.
If you have any questions, please contact NFA’s Information Center at 800-621-3570 or 312-781-1410.
November 30, 2009
NFA adds new questions to Annual Questionnaire to assess Member’s futures-related business
NFA has approximately 500 firms that are NFA Members but have represented to NFA via their Annual Questionnaire that they are not doing any business that requires membership (“Inactive firms”). Almost universally, these Members indicate that they maintain their membership because they may do business in the future.
Since 2006, NFA has taken several Member Responsibility Actions against Member firms that had told NFA they were inactive. These actions were taken after NFA obtained information from reviewing the internet, through contacts with other NFA Members, and by receiving customer complaints suggesting that these firms were in fact active.
Due to these disciplinary actions, NFA’s Board of Directors requested that beginning in early 2010 NFA’s BASIC system display information reflecting whether firms are actively engaged in futures-related business activity or not. Presumably, if a Member is identified in BASIC as not conducting futures-related business, this will raise a “red flag” to potential customers who are being solicited by an Inactive Firm.
Specifically, BASIC will contain information regarding whether or not the Member has on-exchange customer accounts, manages customer accounts, operates pools, is engaged in retail off-exchange foreign currency activities and/or is soliciting customer business. This information will be based solely on information that Member firms provide in their responses to the questions in the Firm and DR Information section of the Annual Questionnaire.
NFA has re-designed this portion of the Annual Questionnaire by adding new questions and moving certain questions from other sections. Firms may update the answers in the Firm and DR Information section of the Annual Questionnaire at any time.
It is critical that Members access and complete questions in the Firm and DR Information section of the Annual Questionnaire as soon as possible. If the questions are not answered, the answers will default to no activity, which is what will be displayed in BASIC.
Please follow these instructions to access the Annual Questionnaire and provide the required information.
1. Open the Questionnaire system using this link: https://www.nfa.futures.org/AppEntry/Redirect.aspx?app=SPECIAL_QUESTION
2. Enter your ORS ID and password to logon.
3. From the “Online Questionnaire Index” screen, select “Firm and DR Information” under “Questionnaire Type.” (In addition, if you have not completed your most recent Questionnaire, you should update the previous version at this time.)
4. Update the Preparer Information on the next screen, if necessary, and then click “Next.”
5. To respond to this special request,
a. Answer the questions listed at the top of the screen under the heading “Please address the following questions regarding you firm’s business operations”.
b. After answering the applicable question(s), scroll to the bottom of the screen and click the “Submit Filing” button.
c. The system will then confirm that you submitted the updated Questionnaire to NFA.
If you have any questions about this Notice, please contact NFA’s Information Center at 800.621.3570 or 312.781.1410.
Other articles related to CTAs and CPOs include:
If you are a manager or firm that needs to register as a CTA or CPO, or if you are contemplating registration, please contact Bart Mallon, Esq. of Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP at 415-868-5345.