Category Archives: compliance

NFA Member Annual Update Reminder

Annual Update Information for CPOs, CTAs, IBs, and FCMs

We are a little behind getting this update out this year. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like help with any updates.


NFA members (including commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisers, introducing brokers, futures commission merchants, and retail foreign exchange dealers) are reminded that every year, in order to maintain their registration and/or NFA membership, they must do the following by the anniversary date of their registration:

  1. complete the electronic Annual Registration Update;
  2. pay the annual registration records maintenance fee of $100 for each category of registration;
  3. complete the electronic Annual Questionnaire, which includes firm and disaster recovery information as well as a questionnaire for each category of registration; and
  4. pay annual membership dues. Information about dues is available here.

The NFA will send an email to the member, along with a letter detailing the annual filing requirements along with an invoice for fees due. If all of the annual filing requirements are not completed within 30 days following the annual due date, the NFA will treat it as a request to withdraw from registration and/or NFA membership. That status will be reflected on the NFA’s Online Registration System (ORS).

Annual Registration Update

To complete the Annual Registration Update, the firm should log into ORS and select the Update/Withdraw Registration Information tab. At the bottom of the screen, below the Annual Filings heading, the firm should click on the Annual Registration Update link to access the Annual Registration Update filing.

Annual Questionnaire

As indicated above, once a year, members must complete an Annual Questionnaire. The questionnaire provides the NFA with information about the firm and allows the NFA to better understand the composition of its membership as a whole. Additionally, the information provided allows the NFA to tailor its regulatory programs to better serve its members. Members are encouraged to update their questionnaire data on a regular basis, but must, at a minimum, complete the Annual Questionnaire on the anniversary of their NFA membership date.

To complete the Annual Questionnaire, the firm should log into ORS and select the Update/Withdraw Registration Information tab. At the bottom of the screen, below the Annual Filings heading, the firm should click on the Annual Questionnaire link to access the Annual Questionnaire.

Other Regulatory Reminders

Once a year, members should also be sure to complete the following items to remain in compliance with CFTC and NFA rules and regulations:

  • Send the firm’s privacy policy to every client, customer, or investor in a pool.
  • Test the firm’s disaster recovery plan and address any issues in the plan.
  • Provide ethics training as outlined in the firm’s compliance materials.
  • Supervise the operations of any branch offices, including conducting an annual onsite inspection.
  • Commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors soliciting new investors or clients should update and file their disclosure documents with the NFA. A disclosure document used to solicit investors or clients cannot be more than 9 months old.

There are additional requirements specific to commodity pool operators, commodity trading advisers, introducing brokers, futures commission merchants, and retail foreign exchange dealers. More information about these requirements is available on the NFA website here.


Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides managed futures legal services and other support to hedge fund managers. Bart can be reached directly at [email protected] or 415-868-5345.


Karl Cole-Frieman Speaking at Fund Compliance Event

On December 1st and 2nd Private Equity International (PEI) will be hosting a Fund Compliance Forum in San Francisco.   The forum will be focused on providing private equity firms with information on various Dodd-Frank compliance requirements, including the investment adviser registration requirement.  Karl Cole-Frieman, a partner with Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP, will a panelist and will be discussing the compliance issues associated with marketing materials.  The overview of the session by Karl can be found here.

Information on the event is posted below and can be found on the PEI website by clicking here.


PEI Private Fund Compliance Forum: San Francisco

An enormous collective sigh of relief was felt around the private equity world when the SEC announced that the deadline to register was moved to March 30, 2012. This extension has given private equity firms more time to designate a chief compliance officer, implement a compliance program, and file all necessary forms with the SEC.

The PEI Private Fund Compliance Forum: San Francisco provides private equity and venture capital firms an opportunity to gain a more complete understanding of what newly registered private funds should expect post-registration and how to implement and manage an effective compliance program.

This one and a half day event, divided into panel discussions and in-depth workshop sessions, is tailored to firms that are in the process of registering with the SEC, those firms that are seeking more information about the scope of what is entailed in registration as well as those who are already operating as RIAs that are looking to enhance their compliance functions.


Panel: Effective and appropriate marketing materials

10:40 – 11:45

• Interpreting rules governing marketing and advertising

• Making sure that presentations are reviewed by compliance

• Making sure your web sites are in compliance

• Guidelines regarding talking to the press


Janis Kerns, Editor, ACA Insight

Panel Members:

Karl A. Cole-Frieman, Partner, Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP

Jennifer Keese-Powell, Marketing Manager, Hall Capital Partners LLC

Lois Towers, Compliance Officer, Pantheon Ventures (US)


Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides a variety of services including: hedge fund formation, advisor registration and counterparty documentation, CFTC and NFA matters, seed deals, internal investigations, operational compliance, regulatory risk management, hedge fund due diligence, marketing and investor relations, employment and compensation matters, and routine business matters. For more information please visit us at:

Form PF Filings to be Submitted via FINRA

SEC Mandates FINRA to Receive Form PF Filings

SEC has chosen FINRA to accept Form PF filings on its behalf when and if Form PF is adopted.  As background, on January 26, 2011 the SEC issued a proposed Rule 204(b)-1 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 which would require SEC registered investment advisers to file a new Form PF with the SEC on either a quarterly or annual basis.  Although the rest of the proposed rule is still under consideration, the SEC has determined that if Form PF is adopted, investment advisers would file Form PF electronically through FINRA.  FINRA currently is the operator of IARD, the system through which investment advisers electronically file their Form ADV and make necessary notice filings to states.  If the rule is passed, FINRA will develop and maintain the filing system for Form PF as well.

The SEC initially anticipated that the proposed rule implementing Form PF would have an initial compliance date of December 15, 2011 – this appears less likely as we get closer to that date and plan to provide updates as appropriate.

Form PF Filing Process and Filing Fees

Because the filing system for Form PF will likely be an extension of the current IARD filing system, we expect the process will be substantially similar to the current process of filing Form ADV.  Investment advisers filing Form PF will likely have to go through the entitlement process and then fund their accounts with the fees necessary to submit the filing through the system.  Managers will have to make quarterly annual filing based on their assets under management. Regardless of assets under management, the filing fees shall be as the same for each filing:

  • $150 for each Form PF annual update
  • $150 for each Form PF quarterly update


FINRA is the logical choice to accept and manage the filing of Form PF because, as the current operator of the IARD system, they are uniquely situated to develop and deploy the Form PF filing system in a timely manner.  The SEC believes that having FINRA expand its existing platform to accommodate this additional filing would be result in greater efficiency for both the advisers and the SEC.  However, managers should be wary of the continued consolidation of filing platforms as FINRA continues to move towards becoming the SRO for hedge fund managers and other investment advisers.

The text of FINRA’s letter regarding Form PF can be found here: FINRA Form PF Letter

The text of SEC’s notice of intent to have Form PF filed through FINRA can be found here: SEC Form PF Announcement – IA-3297


Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides comprehensive registration and compliance services to hedge fund managers, including help with filing Form PF.  Bart Mallon can be contacted directly at 415-868-5345.

States to Begin Proposing Rules on Expert Networks

Massachusetts Proposes Compliance Rules for Using Expert Networks

Expert networks have been a major topic over the last few months and we are seeing the states, in addition to the SEC, focus on this area as a compliance issue for investment advisers.  Massachusetts recently revoked the state investment adviser license of a manager who was using expert networks to gain inside information and then trade on that information.  Massachusetts is now proposing regulations which would require state registered managers to develop certain policies with respect to use of expert


The proposed regulation provides generally that investment advisers may not use expert network services unless the adviser receives a signed certification from the consultant (sourced by the expert network firm) that:

  • describes the confidential restrictions the consultant has regarding confidential information and
  • the consultant affirmatively states that he will not provide any confidential information to the adviser

In addition to this new compliance requirement, the proposal codifies the general prohibition against trading on inside information.

The full text of the proposed regulation is printed below and can be found here.  The Massachussets Securities Division will hold a public hearing on these and other proposed regulations on June 23 and will accept written comments until June 24.


Preamble to Proposed Regulation

Investment Advisers Using Matching or Expert Network Services – Dishonest or Unethical Conduct in the Securities Business

The Division proposes to add a new section under 950 CMR 12.205(9)(c)(16) to the existing list of dishonest and unethical practices. The Division believes this addition is necessary to address the rising use of expert network firms by investment advisers to facilitate paid consultations between investment advisers and industry experts.

As alleged in In the Matter of Risk Reward Capital Management Corp., RRC Management LLC, RRC BioFund LP, and James Silverman, Docket No. E-2010-057, some investment advisers have paid expert networks and consultants to access confidential information about

publicly traded companies. The rise of expert network firms, and the number of abuses which have been addressed by regulators, make it clear that additional measures are required to ensure that confidential information is not being accessed and traded upon. The Division's proposed regulations, while not altering investment advisers' existing duty not to trade on insider information, seek to provide investment advisers with greater clarity as to what is impermissible conduct when paying consultants for information.


Proposed Regulation

Investment Advisers Using Matching or Expert Network Services – Dishonest or Unethical Conduct in the Securities Business

Add the following new subsection (16) to 950 CMR 12.205(9)(c) (non-exclusive list of practices by an investment adviser which shall be deemed “dishonest or unethical conduct or practices in the securities business”):

16. a. To retain consulting services, for compensation that is provided either directly to the consultant or indirectly through a Matching or Expert Network Service, unless the adviser obtains a written certification, signed by the consultant that:

(i) describes all confidentiality restrictions that the consultant has, or reasonably expects to have, regarding Confidential Information; and
(ii) affirmatively states that the consultant will not provide any Confidential Information to the adviser.

b. Notwithstanding section (a) an investment adviser who comes into possession of material Confidential Information through a consultation is precluded from trading any relevant security until such time as the Confidential Information is made public.

c. Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(i) “Confidential Information” means any non-public information, which one is bound by a confidentiality agreement or fiduciary (or similar) duty not to disclose.
(ii) “Matching or Expert Network Service” means a firm that for compensation matches consultants with investment advisers.


Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP is a boutique hedge fund law firm.  In addition to investment adviser registration and compliance, we provide expert network compliance consulting services to SEC and state registered hedge fund managers.  Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.


Compliance Update for California Hedge Funds – Presentation

As part of the Hedge Fund Networking Summit Webcast Series, Bart Mallon of Mallon P.C. led an hour long presentation on compliance matters for California based hedge fund managers.  The presentation covered the following topics:

  • New SEC and CA Hedge Fund Registration Requirements
  • Registration Overview & Major Issues
  • Compliance Overview
  • Discussion of Other Current Regulatory Issues

There were of number of questions asked by the audience regarding many of the new compliance requirements for registered managers.  We have had good experience with the following groups:

If you attended the event and have follow up generic propecia online pharmacy questions, please feel free to contact us and we will try to get back to you as soon as possible.  The full powerpoint can be downloaded here: CAHF Powerpoint (April 2011) Final

Many thanks to Ron Niemaszyk of Patke & Associates for moderating the event.


Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides investment adviser registration & compliance services to hedge fund managers.  For more information, please call Bart Mallon at 415-868-5345.


Massachusetts Proceeds Against Fund Manager Using Expert Networks

Revocation of Investment Adviser License & Disgorgement of Profits

Managers are becoming more aware of the various securities laws and compliance issues involved with the use of expert networks.  While the SEC has recently been active in this area (both in the RR insider trading complaint and the recent expert network action), the states are also becoming more aware of the potential issues involved with expert networks.  Recently the Massachusetts Securities Division instituted an administrative complaint against a Massachusetts state registered fund manager who utilized expert networks to gain inside information.  This post will provide an overview of that compliant.


James Silverman was registered as an investment adviser representative for a Massachusetts registered IA firm which was managing the RRC Bio Fund, LP (“Fund”).  The IA firm was subject to a routine announced examination by the Massachusetts Securities Division (“Division”).  During that routine examination, the examiners found a number of violations of the various state securities laws including the fact that Silverman was trading on inside information obtained from an expert network firm.

The examiners found that Silverman started using the expert network firm after the Fund suffered a long period of losses.  After utilizing the expert network firm, the Fund posted consecutive years of gains in excess of 50%.  During the course of the relationship with the expert network firm, the Fund paid $80,000 a year to the firm so that Silverman could have access to certain consultants in the biotechnology industry.  Many of these consultants were either insiders or otherwise bound to confidentiality agreements with respect to their activities in the industry.  The expert network firm did not monitor their consultants in any way but, pursuant to the firm’s policies, the consultants’ had a duty to identify and avoid any disclosure that would violate a confidentiality agreement.  The agreement that Silverman signed with the expert network fir

m provided that Silverman agreed not to elicit or otherwise obtain any “material nonpublic or otherwise confidential information” from the expert consultants.

In addition to the insider trading, Silverman and the IA firm engaged in either blatantly illegal or egregiously sloppy business practices, especially once the examination began.  For example, the complaint states that Silverman did the following:

  • deleted notes containing study results prior to producing the notes to the Division in response to its subpoena
  • deleted certain documents and correspondence
  • failed to maintain required records
  • made false filings with the Division
  • violated minimum financial requirements
  • violated document retention requirements
  • improperly assessed performance fees
  • left client data vulnerable

The Order

The consequences for breaking the securities laws, whether at the state or federal level, are severe.  The Enforcement Section of the Massachusetts Securities Division sought the following items in its action against Silverman:

  • accounting and disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains as a result of insider trading
  • disgorgement of direct and indirect remuneration from the insider trading
  • revocation of the IA registration for the firm and Silverman
  • enjoining Silverman from performing any investment advisory services for compensation on behalf of any person or entity within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • imposition of a fine

Protecting Your Firm – Developing Compliance Programs

This case and the earlier SEC actions do not mean that fund managers can no longer use expert network firms.  However, managers need to be careful and the best practice is for managers to develop compliance policies for all interaction with expert network firms.  These policies and procedures need to be tailored to the business practices of each manager and need to be followed consistently.


Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP is a boutique hedge fund law firm.  We provide hedge fund compliance and registration services to SEC and state registered hedge fund managers.  Bart Mallon can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.


NFA Annual Compliance Overview 2011

CTA and CPO firms which are registered with the CFTC will need to make sure that they are completing all necessary annual compliance items in accordance with CFTC regulations and NFA rules.

Below we have provided a list of the major items which registered firms should address with respect to annual compliance.  Many registered CTA and CPO firms have compliance manuals which address (or should address) these items.


Rule 2-46 Quarterly Report (CPO only)

  • Due 2/14/2011
  • The following information must be submitted to the NFA:
    • Summary of Itemized Balances
    • Key Relationships
    • NAV
    • Monthly Performance – Rates of Return
    • Schedule of Investments
  • More information:
  • Once the report has been filed, complete and keep the Acknowledgment of Quarterly Report Filed (Rule 2-46) form and any related documents with your books and records.

Quarterly Review of Emails

  • Registered CPO and CTA firms are responsible for supervising employees and should periodically review employee emails.  It is a good idea to complete a quarterly review of employee emails, document the review and keep the documentation as part of the firm’s books and records.

Yearly Review of Email Procedures

  • The firm’s compliance officer should review the effectiveness of the firm’s email review procedures on a yearly basis.  The compliance office should document the review and keep the documentation as part of the firm’s books and records.

Compliance Manual Review

  • The compliance officer should review the firm’s compliance manual on an annual basis.  After the compliance manual has been reviewed and updated as necessary, the compliance officer should have each Principal, Associated Person, and Agent certify that he or she has read and understands the compliance manual and has complied with its requirements.

NFA Self-Examination Checklist

  • The NFA self-examination needs to be completed on a yearly basis.  The compliance office will need to review the firm’s operations using the NFA’s Self-Examination Checklist (, document the self-examination and keep the documentation as part of the firm’s books and records.
  • Mallon P.C. has provided an overview of the NFA Self-Examination process.

Privacy Policy

  • All firms should provide each fund investor or client with a copy of the firm’s Privacy Policy within 30 days of the close of the fiscal year.  If the firm provides monthly or other periodic statements, the firm might want to include the Privacy Policy with such normal communication.

Ethics Training

  • The firm’s compliance officer should review the firm’s ethics training program.  If the program changes, the compliance officer must make sure that all Principals, APs and Agents have completed the appropriate ethics training.  If the policy has not changed, this is a good time to confirm all Principals, APs and Agents have completed all appropriate ethics training.

Annual Report (CPO only)

We have outlined the reporting requirements for CPOs before which include an annual reporting requirement.  The CPO will need to provide, within 90 days after the end of the fund’s fiscal year (or within 90 days of the cessation of trading if the fund closes), an annual report to (i) each investor in the fund and (ii) the NFA.  The annual report must be presented and computed in accordance with GAAP consistently applied and must be audited by an independent public accountant.  [Please note that some CPOs may be able to request a waiver from the annual audit requirement.]

The report must include:

  • Fund NAV for the preceding two fiscal years
  • Total value of investor’s interest in the fund at the end of the preceding two fiscal years
  • Statement of Financial Condition for the fund’s fiscal year and preceding fiscal year
  • “Statement of operations” and “Statement of changes in net assets”
  • Footnotes if required to make statements not misleading (including certain information on underlying funds if the fund invests in other commodity pools)
  • Certain information if there is more than one ownership class or series.

Bunched Orders Allocation (CTA only)

  • CTA firms should periodically review the allocation of bunched orders.  Many firms will have a policy to review these allocations on a quarterly basis.  For more information, please see our post on CTA Bunched Orders.

Other Important Items

  • Annual Questionnaire – the annual questionnaire is due within 1 year of the date of registration.  This form is available through the NFA’s ORS (Online Registration System).  For more information see our post on this topic.
  • Annual Registration Update – the annual registration update is due within 1 year of the date of registration.  This form is available through the NFA’s ORS (Online Registration System).  In general the NFA will send a letter (and email) and invoice for annual fees and dues.
  • Other – some firms have policies regarding their Disaster Recovery Program which may need to be revisited during the annual review process.  Additionally, both CTA and CPO firms should take the opportunity to review their disclosure documents and see if any revisions to those documents should be made.  Other business issues, like bank reconciliations and general bookkeeping matters, should be reviewed in light of the firm’s compliance policies.


The above list is not indended to be exhaustive and each firm has different compliance requirements depending on unique circumstances.  If your firm would like help with developing a compliance program or if you have questions with respect to these topics, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides comprehensive compliance and regulatory support for CTAs and CPOs.  Bart Mallon, Esq. can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

NFA Changes Post CFTC Audit

The results of the CFTC’s audit of the NFA were released a few weeks ago and we have already begun to see a few changes to the way the NFA operates.

Access to BASIC Security Manager

Previously newly formed entities which were registering with the CFTC could start the registration process prior to formally being established.  Now, the NFA must have proof that the entity is in existence prior to granting security manager status.  Accordingly, groups wishing to register must wait until the entity is in existence and then submit the security manager form.  This will usually delay an initial application by about a week. We believe it would be more effective if the NFA made sure that the entity was established prior to submitting a registration application.  Absent such procedures, we believe that the security manager process should be streamlined and that access should be granted next day via email.  There is no good reason to have such a slow process just to access the online registration system.

Client withdrawals from account

Previously it was common for some CTAs to have some sort of lock-up period with respect to a trading program.   Now, the NFA will not allow a CTA to have a lock-up period because the client is always able to go to the FCM and cancel the account.  While from a technical perspective the client always has access to its own account and the CTA can’t control access to the account, many CTAs preferred the implicit protection afforded through the contractual agreement that the account would stay open during the lock-up.   By not allowing the lock-up language, CTAs will potentially be subject to greater and more frequent withdrawals from investors.

Revising Disclosure Documents

Many NFA Member firms will find out about the various new NFA procedures during the disclosure document revision process.  Moving forward, various deficiencies with disclosure documents that have been approved by the NFA in the past will need to be fixed (even though the documents were previously approved) as the managers revise the documents and seek instant filing or regular filing.

Please let us know if you have experienced any other changes with the NFA.


Other related hedge fund law articles:

Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides comprehensive hedge fund start up and regulatory support for commodity pool operators.  Bart Mallon, Esq. can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

Dodd-Frank Establishes New Laws Regarding Spot Commodities and Spot Forex

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Act”) has changed a number of laws in all of the securities acts including the Commodity Exchange Act.  Two specific changes deal with certain transactions in commodities on the spot market.  Specifically, Section 742 of the Act deals with retail commodity transactions.  In this section, the text of the Commodity Exchange Act is amended to include new Section 2(c)(2)(D) (dealing with retail commodity transactions) and new Section 2(c)(2)(E) (prohibiting trading in spot forex with retail investors unless the trader is subject to regulations by a Federal regulatory agency, i.e. CFTC, SEC, etc.).  According to a congressional rulemaking spreadsheet, these are effective 180 days from the date of enactment.

We provide an overview of the new sections and have reprinted them in full below.

New CEA Section 2(c)(2)(D) – Concerning Spot Commodities (Metals)

The central import of new CEA Section 2(c)(2)(D) is to broaden the CFTC’s power with respect to retail commodity transactions.  Essentially any spot commodities transaction (i.e. spot metals) will be subject to CFTC jurisdiction and rulemaking authority.  There is an exemption for commodities which are actually delivered within 28 days.  While the CFTC wanted an exemption in which commodities would need to be delivered within 2 days, various coin collectors were able to lobby congress for a longer delivery period (see here).

It is likely we will see the CFTC propose regulations under this new section and we will keep you updated on any regulatory pronouncements with respect to this new section.

New CEA Section 2(c)(2)(E) – Concerning Spot Forex

The central import of new CEA Section 2(c)(2)(E) is to regulate the spot forex markets.  While the section requires the CFTC to finalize regulations with respect to spot forex (which were proposed earlier in January), it also, interestingly, provides  oversight of the markets to other federal regulatory agencies such as the CFTC.  This means that in the future, different market participants may be subject to different regulatory regimes with respect to trading in same underlying instruments.  A Wall Street Journal article discusses the impact of this with respect to firms which engage in other activities in addition to retail forex transactions.  The CFTC’s proposed rules establish certain compliance parameters for retail forex transactions, requires registration of retail forex managers and requires such managers to pass a new regulatory exam called the Series 34 exam.  We do not yet know whether the other regulatory agencies will adopt rules similar to the CFTC or if they will write rules from scratch.


CEA Section 2(c)(2)(D)


‘‘(i) APPLICABILITY.—Except as provided in clause (ii), this subparagraph shall apply to any agreement, contract, or transaction in any commodity that is—

‘‘(I) entered into with, or offered to (even if not entered into with), a person that is not an eligible contract participant or eligible commercial entity; and

‘‘(II) entered into, or offered (even if not entered into), on a leveraged or margined basis, or financed by the offeror, the counterparty, or a person acting in concert with the offeror or counterparty on a similar basis.

‘‘(ii) EXCEPTIONS.—This subparagraph shall not apply to—

‘‘(I) an agreement, contract, or transaction described in paragraph (1) or subparagraphs (A), (B), or (C), including any agreement, contract, or transaction specifically excluded from subparagraph (A), (B), or (C);

‘‘(II) any security;

‘‘(III) a contract of sale that—

‘‘(aa) results in actual delivery within 28 days or such other longer period as the Commission may determine by rule or regulation based upon the typical commercial practice in cash or spot markets for the commodity involved; or

‘‘(bb) creates an enforceable obligation to deliver between a seller and a buyer that have the ability to deliver and accept delivery, respectively, in connection with the line of business of the seller and buyer; or

‘‘(IV) an agreement, contract, or transaction that is listed on a national securities exchange registered under section 6(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78f(a)); or

‘‘(V) an identified banking product, as defined in section 402(b) of the Legal Certainty for Bank Products Act of 2000 (7 U.S.C.27(b)).

‘‘(iii) ENFORCEMENT.—Sections 4(a), 4(b), and 4b apply to any agreement, contract, or transaction described in clause (i), as if the agreement, contract, or transaction was a contract of sale of a commodity for future delivery.

‘‘(iv) ELIGIBLE COMMERCIAL ENTITY.—For purposes of this subparagraph, an agricultural producer, packer, or handler shall be considered to be an eligible commercial entity for any agreement, contract, or transaction for a commodity in connection with the line of business of the agricultural producer, packer, or handler.’’.


CEA Section 2(c)(2)(E)


‘‘(i) DEFINITION OF FEDERAL REGULATORY AGENCY.—In this subparagraph, the term ‘Federal regulatory agency’ means—

‘‘(I) the Commission;

‘‘(II) the Securities and Exchange Commission;

‘‘(III) an appropriate Federal banking agency;

‘‘(IV) the National Credit Union Association; and

‘‘(V) the Farm Credit Administration.


‘‘(I) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subclause (II), a person described in subparagraph (B)(i)(II) for which there is a Federal regulatory agency shall not offer to, or enter into with, a person that is not an eligible contract participant, any agreement, contract, or transaction in foreign currency described in subparagraph (B)(i)(I) except pursuant to a rule or regulation of a Federal regulatory agency allowing the agreement, contract, or transaction under such terms and conditions as the Federal regulatory agency shall prescribe.

‘‘(II) EFFECTIVE DATE.—With regard to persons described in subparagraph (B)(i)(II) for which a Federal regulatory agency has issued a proposed rule concerning agreements, contracts, or transactions in foreign currency described in subparagraph (B)(i)(I) prior to the date of enactment of this subclause, subclause (I) shall take effect 90 days after the date of enactment of this subclause.


‘‘(I) IN GENERAL.—The rules and regulations described in clause (ii) shall prescribe appropriate requirements with respect to—

‘‘(aa) disclosure;

‘‘(bb) recordkeeping;

‘‘(cc) capital and margin;

‘‘(dd) reporting;

‘‘(ee) business conduct;

‘‘(ff) documentation; and

‘‘(gg) such other standards or requirements as the Federal regulatory agency shall determine to be necessary.

‘‘(II) TREATMENT.—The rules or regulations described in clause (ii) shall treat all agreements, contracts, and transactions in foreign currency described in subparagraph (B)(i)(I), and all agreements, contracts, and transactions in foreign currency that are functionally or economically similar to agreements, contracts, or transactions described in subparagraph (B)(i)(I), similarly.’’.


Other related hedge fund law articles:

Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP provides legal support and forex registration services to forex managers.  Bart Mallon, Esq. can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

Disclosure Document Guidance for CTAs and CPOs

NFA Provides Overview of Manager Background (Bio) Disclosure Requirements

CFTC registered CTAs and CPOs need to have their disclosure documents reviewed by the NFA prior to using those documents to solicit clients or investors.  As any manager who has gone through this NFA review process understands, the NFA will take their time to scrutinize the documents.  One issue which comes up again and again is the background information that must be disclosed for any principals or managers disclosed in the disclosure document.  Managers should take note of the following points:

  1. Each bio must include a complete and detailed business background for the last 5 years (any gaps must be explained);
  2. Business background further back than 5 years does not need to be disclosed; and
  3. If a manager chooses to mention anything that happened in the manager’s business background further back than 5 years, the manager must disclose all subsequent employment.

The third point is really the most important for this discussion.  Let’s say a manager makes a general reference that he has been in the investment management business for 16 years – that means that the manager will need to provide a description of each job, including dates of employment (month and year) over the last 16 years.  Because in practice this would lead to ridiculously long bios (for some managers), it is generally recommended to leave the bio to the last 5 years so that the bio is manageable.

The NFA recently released a member notice, reprinted below, discussing this issue and the various questions that arise.  The following NFA Notice can be found here.


Notice I-10-12

May 11, 2010

NFA provides guidance for disclosure of business background information by commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors

In 1997, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) delegated the review of disclosure documents submitted by commodity pool operators (CPO) and commodity trading advisors (CTA) to NFA. The Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight (DCIO) performs periodic oversight of NFA’s implementation of its delegated authority. As part of these reviews, DCIO staff has communicated to NFA its expectations as to the type and breadth of information that must be disclosed regarding the background of CTAs, CPOs, and relevant individuals. NFA is providing the following guidance to clarify the requirements of the applicable regulations regarding the disclosure of business background.

CFTC Regulations 4.24 and 4.34 require that disclosure documents include, for the previous five years from the date of the document, the business backgrounds of the CTA, the CPO, the major CTAs, the CPOs of major investee pools, the pool’s trading manager, and each principal of the foregoing who participates in making trading or operational decisions, or supervises persons so engaged. For each of the persons listed above, the document must include employers, business associations, or ventures (including the starting and ending month and year) for the same five year period, as well as a discussion of the duties performed by the person for each. When disclosing business background information, the discussion must be complete for the entire five year period. Any gaps in time must be explained.

Examples of disclosures within the most recent five year period:

Ms. Smith attended ABC University and graduated in June 2005 with a degree in Economics. In August 2008, she joined XYZ LP as an associated person.

The business background must disclose what Ms. Smith was doing during the period between June 2005 and August 2008. Additionally, if XYZ LP is not the entity for which the disclosure document has been prepared, a description of its main business must be included.

Mr. Jones has been a listed principal of XYZ Company, a commodity trading advisor, since January 2005. In 2007 Mr. Jones began publishing a monthly newsletter entitled “The Trading Corner,” which outlines Jones’ trading research in the energy markets.

The business background must disclose Mr. Jones’ duties at XYZ Company. The month in which Mr. Jones began publishing his newsletter and the name and main business of the employer, if any, for whom the newsletter is being published must also be disclosed.

Mrs. Green was registered as an associated person of LMN LLC, a commodity pool operator from March 2008 until May 2008. In June 2008, she formed PQR Limited Partnership (PQR), a commodity pool operator which became registered on November 1, 2008. Mrs. Green became a registered AP and listed principal of PQR on November 1, 2008.

The business background must be complete for the last five years. Specifically, it must disclose what Mrs. Green was doing prior to March 2008. Mrs. Green’s and PQR’s activities between June 2008 (when she formed PQR) and November 2008 (when she and the firm became registered) must also be disclosed.

As noted above, CFTC Regulations mandate disclosure of business background information for only the last five years from the date of the disclosure document. DCIO has advised NFA, however, that if a CTA or CPO elects to provide business background information beyond the previous five year period it must provide this information in the same level of detail as that required for the last five years. DCIO has further directed that a general reference regarding the length of an entity’s or individual’s experience or involvement in an industry serves to extend the time period for which disclosures must be made.

The following is an example of a disclosure recently submitted to NFA and an explanation as to why it would not comply with the above stated policy:

Example of disclosure beyond the most recent five year period:

Mr. Brown has been in the futures industry since October 1982 or Mr. Brown has over twenty eight years of management experience.

Mr. Brown’s business background must be disclosed from October 1982 to the present. The disclosure must be complete for the entire period including the name and main business of each employer, the nature of the duties performed for each employer, and the starting and ending dates (month and year) of employment, including an explanation of any gaps in employment.

CPOs and CTAs are encouraged to review their existing disclosure documents in light of DCIO’s guidance and make any necessary changes prior to submitting subsequent filings of the document. If you have any questions concerning this notice or disclosure documents generally, please contact Mary McHenry, Senior Manager, Compliance ([email protected] or 312-781-1420) or Kaitlan Chi, Manager, Compliance ([email protected] or 312-781-1219).


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Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP is a hedge fund law firm which provides CTAs and CPOs with comprehensive formation and regulatory support.  Bart Mallon, Esq. can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.