Tag Archives: hedge fund cpo

CPO Reporting Requirements | Commodity Pool Operator Compliance

CFTC Regulation 4.22 Overview

CFTC registered commodity pool operators have a number of regulatory and compliance issues to be aware of.  In addition to a having a compliance program which addresses the business and regulatory issues applicable to the manager, one of the more important compliance requirements is found in CFTC Regulation 4.22 which provides the reporting framework with respect to (i) periodic reports to investors and (ii) annual reports to investors and the NFA.  While many hedge fund administration firms provide a monthly or quarterly report/statement, generally those reports/statements do not provide the detailed information that is required for commodity pools.  This article provides an overview of the information required to be included in the periodic and annual statements and will also discuss other aspects of the regulation.

Overview of the Statements

Generally CPOs are required to distribute, within 30 days of end of the required period (see below), an account statement to each investor the fund.  The account statement must included an itemized “statement of operations” and “statement of changes in net assets” which is presented and computed in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”).

The statement of operations must separately itemize the following:

  • Realized net gain/loss on commodity interest positions
  • Unrealized net gain/loss on commodity interest positions
  • Total net gain/loss on other transactions (including interest and dividends earned), unless the gain/loss from trading are part of a related trading strategy (see 4.22(e)(3))
  • Total management fees during period
  • Total advisory fees during period (including performance fees/allocations)
  • Total brokerage commissions during period
  • Total of other fees for investment transactions
  • Total of other expenses incurred or accrued by the fund during period

Note: most of the above items must be itemized according to 4.22(e)(1) and special allocations should be noted according to 4.22(e)(2).

The statement of changes in net assets must separately itemize the following:

  • Fund NAV at beginning of period
  • Fund NAV at end of period
  • Total contributions to fund during period
  • Total redemptions (voluntary or involuntary) during period
  • Total fund income/loss during period
  • Total value of investor’s interest in the fund at the end of the period

Monthly or Quarterly Commodity Pool Reporting

For funds which have more than $500,000 of assets, the account statements must be sent to investors on a monthly basis.  The account statement is due to the investor within 30 days of the end of the month.  For funds which have less than $500,000 of assets, the account statements must be sent to investors on (at least) a quarterly basis.  The account statement is due to the investor within 30 days of the end of the quarter.  In both cases, a final report for the year does not need to be sent to fund investors if the CPO’s annual report (described below) is sent to pool participants within 45 calendar days after the end of the fiscal year.

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.*

Annual 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 onve ownership class or series.

In the event that the CPO will not be able to file the annual report with the NFA within the 90 day period, the CPO can file an extension under certain circumstances.  It is very important that the CPO provides the annual report on time or files for the exemption.  If a CPO cannot file the report within the time frame required and does not file for the exemption, the NFA will take action against the CPO see CFTC Fines CPOs For Late Annual Reports.

*Note: if the fund is organized offshore then the CPO may be able to prepare and calculate the annual report in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, please generally see 4.22(d)(2).

Statements Required to be Signed by Principals

Both the account statement and the annual report must contain a signed affirmation (usually provided by a principal or associated person of the CPO) that the information contained in the account statement is accurate and complete.

Such information shall include:

  • Name of individual signing
  • Capacity of individual signing
  • Name of the CPO
  • Name of the fund

Other Items

Regulation 4.22 is intricate and there are many specifics for certain fund managers.  Specifically, if a commodity fund invests in other commodity funds there are certain rules which I have not covered in-depth in this overview.

With regard to the fiscal year, most commodity pools will elect to have their fiscal year be the calendar year.  A fund can elect to have the fiscal year end on a different date under certain circumstances, see generally 4.22(g).

With regard to account statements and annual reports, these can be provided to fund investors electronically (either through email or through a password-protected website).  In the event a fund manager wants to provide statements in this way, the manager will need to make sure the commodity pool’s offering documents specifically discusses this possibility.  Additionally, the manager should make sure the fund’s subscription documents include a specific place for the investor to consent to the electronic delivery of the account statement or annual report.


Regulation 4.22 is detailed and, for some groups, complicated.  The NFA has shown a willingness to send a message to firms which do not follow NFA rules or CFTC regulations.  If you are a CPO and have questions with regard to your account statements or annual reports, please feel free to contact us.


Other related hedge fund law articles include:

Bart Mallon, Esq. of Cole-Frieman & Mallon LLP runs the Hedge Fund Law Blog as well as the forex registration website.  He can be reached directly at 415-868-5345.

Series 3 Exam | Commodities & Futures Exam Topics

Hedge Fund Managers and the Series 3 Exam

Those managers who engage in commodities and futures trading (and who don’t qualify for an exemptions) will need to register as commodity pool operators with the CFTC and become members of the NFA.  In order to do this all owners and “associated persons” of the manager/CPO will need to take and pass the Series 3 exam.  This article provides a brief overview of the Series 3 exam for hedge fund managers.

Commodities and Futures Contracts License

The NFA requires an individual to successfully complete the Series 3 in order to become qualified to sell commodities or futures contracts.  The exam is designed for anyone who is going to act as an Associated Person, Commodity Trading Advisor, Commodity Pool Operator, Introducing Broker, or Futures Commission Merchant.  [Note: under the forex registration rules, those managers who trade in the spot forex markets will soon also need to take the Series 3 and a new exam called the Series 34 exam.]  The Series 3 is also a prerequisite to the Series 30 Futures Branch Manager exam.

The Series 3 exam is required of individuals who conduct business with the public on the U.S. futures exchanges and:

  • offer or solicit business in futures or options on futures at a futures commission merchant (FCM) or introducing broker (IB) or who supervise any such person.
  • are associated with a commodity trading advisor (CTA) who solicits discretionary accounts or who supervises persons so engaged.
  • are associated with a commodity pool operator (CPO) who solicits funds for participation in a commodity pool or who supervises such persons.

Registration Process

The NFA Series 3 Exam is administered by FINRA. There is a two-step process that a candidate must complete to be able to take the Series 3 Exam.

Step 1 – The individual must apply with FINRA to take the exam by completing and submitting an application form and payment, or by submitting the application online. The testing application form can be downloaded from the FINRA’s web site. Effective January 2, 2009, the fee for an individual to take the Series 3 National Commodity Futures Examination will be $105.

Step 2 – Once the U10 registration has been approved and processed by FINRA, a Notice of Enrollment will be emailed to the candidate. FINRA will assign a 120-day window during which the exam can be scheduled and taken. The candidate may then contact their local test center to schedule an appointment to sit for the exam. Due to the many sessions administered at testing centers, the candidate should schedule test-taking as far in advance as possible to secure an appointment on the desired date.

Testing Locations

The exam is delivered via a computer system specifically designed for the administration and delivery of computer-based testing and training. Exams are given at conveniently located test centers worldwide and an appointment to take your exam can be scheduled online or by calling your local center. For a list of test centers in your area (U.S. and International) click here.

Series 3 Exam Overview

The Series 3 Exam for commodity futures brokers is divided into two parts – futures trading theory and market regulations. Each part must be passed with a score of at least 70 percent. There are 120 total multiple choice and true/false questions, and exam takers are provided 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete the exam. The Series 3 Exam also contains 5 additional experimental questions that do not count towards the exam taker’s score, and additional time is built into the exam to accommodate for these questions.

The Series 3 exam is divided into ten topics and is graded in two main parts: Market Knowledge and Rules/Regulations. The Market Knowledge part covers the first nine of the following topics, and  consists of 85 questions. The Rules/Regulations part covers category ten, and consists of 35 questions. You must achieve a 70% on each part in order to pass the exam.

Part 1: Market Knowledge – The first part of the Series 3 exam covers the basics of the futures markets. Exam takers will need to understand futures contracts, hedging, speculating, futures terminology, futures options, margin requirements, types of orders, basic fundamental analysis, basic technical analysis and spread trading.

Part 2: Rules/Regulations – The second part of the Series 3 exam consists of market regulations. Exam takers must familiarize themselves with relevant NASD rules and regulations for this part of the exam.

Exam Topics

  1. Futures Trading Theory
  2. Margins, Limits, Settlements
  3. Orders, Accounts, Analysis
  4. Basic Hedging
  5. Financial Hedging
  6. Spreads
  7. General Speculation
  8. Financial Speculation
  9. Options
  10. Regulations

Useful Terms to Know for the Series 3 Exam

Exam takers are expected to be familiar with the following terms and definitions prior to taking the Series 3 exam. The definitions presented below have been extracted from  Investopedia.

Bucketing: A situation where, in an attempt to make a short-term profit, a broker confirms an order to a client without actually executing it. A brokerage which engages in unscrupulous activities, such as bucketing, is often referred to as a bucket shop.

Delta: The ratio comparing the change in the price of the underlying asset to the corresponding change in the price of a derivative. Sometimes referred to as the “hedge ratio”.

Double Top: A term used in technical analysis to describe the rise of a stock, a drop, another rise to the same level as the original rise, and finally another drop.

First Notice Day: The first day that a notice of intent to deliver a commodity can be made by a clearinghouse to a buyer in fulfillment of a given month’s futures contract.

Intrinsic Value: 1. The actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value. Value investors use a variety of analytical techniques in order to estimate the intrinsic value of securities in hopes of finding investments where the true value of the investment exceeds its current market value. 2. For call options, this is the difference between the underlying stock’s price and the strike price. For put options, it is the difference between the strike price and the underlying stock’s price. In the case of both puts and calls, if the respective difference value is negative, the intrinsic value is given as zero.

Inverted Market: In the context of options and futures, this is when the current (or short-term) contract prices are higher than the long-term contracts.

Long Hedge: A transaction that commodities investors undertake to hedge against possible increases in the prices of the actuals underlying the futures contracts.

Offset: 1. To liquidate a futures position by entering an equivalent, but opposite, transaction which eliminates the delivery obligation.2. To reduce an investor’s net position in an investment to zero, so that no further gains or losses will be experienced from that position.

Scalpers: A person trading in the equities or options and futures market who holds a position for a very short period of time, attempting to make money off of the bid-ask spread.

Straddle: An options strategy with which the investor holds a position in both a call and put with the same strike price and expiration date.


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like information on how to start a hedge fund.  Other related hedge fund law articles include: