Commodity Trading Advisor
A Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) is an individual or organization that, for compensation or profit, advises others as to the value or advisability of buying or selling futures contracts or commodity options.
Providing advice indirectly includes exercising trading authority over a customer's account, as well as giving advice through written publications or other media.
In general, NFA registration is required unless the CTA qualifies for one of the exemptions from registration outlined in CFTC Regulations 4.5 or 4.14, chiefly:
- That the offering of commodity trading advice is merely "incidental" to the advisor's business
- The person is not "otherwise holding itself out" as a commodity trading advisor. 
CTAs and the Dodd-Frank Act
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is proposing rules to specify the reporting requirements applicable to advisers to private funds that are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as investment advisers and with the CFTC as commodity pool operators (CPOs) or commodity trading advisors (CTAs). This is a joint rulemaking with the SEC. The CFTC is separately proposing amendments to the compliance obligations of CPOs and CTAs that include a requirement for CPOs and CTAs that are registered solely with the CFTC to file similar reports, as well as several other changes. Specifically, all CTAs that are "dual registrants"" -- those that file with both the CFTC and SEC --will be required to file a new form, Form PF. CTAs managing more than $150 million will be required to file Section 1 of Form PF; for CTAs managing more than $1 billion, an extended Section 2 will also be required. Reports would include material such as the amount of assets under management, use of leverage, counterparty credit risk exposure, and trading and investment positions for each fund receiving advice.
Both proposals were unanimously approved at the CFTC Open Meeting, Jan. 26, 2011. After the proposal is entered into the Federal Register, the period for public comment will be open for 60 days.
- CFTC Part 4 Exemption Easy Reference Guide - NFA
- Commodity Trading Advisors - NFA
- Disclosure Documents: A Guide for CPOs and CTAs - NFA
- User's Guide to NFA's Electronic Disclosure Document System - NFA