Commodity Pool Operator

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A Commodity Pool Operator [1] is an individual or organization that operates or solicits funds for a commodity pool; that is, an enterprise in which funds contributed by a number of persons are combined for the purpose of trading futures contracts or commodity options, or to invest in another commodity pool.

In general, NFA registration is required unless the CPO qualifies for one of the exemptions from registration outlined in CFTC Regulations 4.5 or 4.13. A CPO does not need to register with the NFA if the pool contributions are less than $400,000 and have no more than 15 pool participants (members of a CPO's immediate family do not count toward the 15 member limit. Each pool participant must be either an "accredited investor," "qualified eligible person," or be a "knowledgable employee" of the pool.[2] For each exemption, the operator is required to file with the NFA explaining the nature of the exemption and send those documents to the pool participants.

CPOs 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 CPOs that are "dual registrants"" -- those that file with both the CFTC and SEC --will be required to file a new form, Form PF. CPOs managing more than $150 million will be required to file Section 1 of Form PF; for CPOs managing more than $1 billion, an extended Section 2 will also be required to be filed quarterly. 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.

Additionally, the CFTC has proposed a rule that would require CPOs not "dual filers" to submit Form CPO-PQR. [3]

Both proposals were unanimously approved at the CFTC Open Meeting, January 26, 2011.

References

  1. www.nfa.futures.org. National Futures Association, CPO Registration.
  2. 4.13 Exemption from registration as a commodity pool operator.. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  3. Factbox: CFTC proposes reports for funds, advisors, pools. Reuters.