National Futures Association

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National Futures Association (NFA)
NFA Logo2.jpg
Founded 1982
Headquarters Chicago
Key People Thomas W. Sexton, President, CEO
Michael C. Dawley, Chairman
Products Registration, Compliance, Enforcement, Trade Practice and Market Surveillance, Dispute Resolution, Education

National Futures Association (NFA) is the self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives industry, including on-exchange traded futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency (forex) and OTC derivatives (swaps). For more than 30 years, NFA has developed and enforced rules, provided programs and offered services that safeguard market integrity, protect investors and help our members meet their regulatory responsibilities.

Membership in NFA is mandatory, assuring that everyone conducting business with the public on U.S. futures exchanges and in the retail forex marketplace must adhere to the same high standards of professional conduct. NFA membership also is mandatory for swap dealers and major swap participants. NFA is a non-profit, independent regulatory organization. NFA does not operate any markets and is not a trade association. NFA operates at no cost to the taxpayer—it is financed exclusively from membership dues and assessment fees.

NFA is headquartered in Chicago, IL, and also maintains an office in New York City.


In 1974 Congress established the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a federal regulatory agency with jurisdiction over futures trading. The same legislation authorized the creation of "registered futures associations," giving the futures industry the opportunity to create a nationwide, self-regulatory organization. NFA began operations in 1982. Congress passed legislation in 2000 and 2008 requiring firms acting as counterparties to retail forex transactions, as well as forex pool operators, trading advisors and introducing brokers to register with the CFTC and become members of NFA.

Similarly, in 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which gave the CFTC rulemaking authority and oversight over swaps, swap dealers and major swap participants. Subsequently, the CFTC passed regulations requiring swap dealers and major swap participants to register with the CFTC and become members of NFA.

In 2014, NFA reduced its transaction assessment fee by 50 percent to .01 cent per contract. The move to a lower fee was facilitated by NFA having the reserves to be sustainable at that time. In 2017, the NFA board of directors agreed to increase the fee back to .02 per contract for futures and options starting January 1, 2018 in order to "fund its operations without compromising the quality of its regulatory programs, and maintain adequate reserves."[1]

Registration & Membership

With certain exceptions, all persons and organizations that intend to do business as futures professionals must register under the Commodity Exchange Act (Act). The primary purposes of registration are to screen an applicant's fitness to engage in business as a futures professional and to identify those individuals and organizations whose activities are subject to federal regulation. In addition, all individuals and firms that wish to conduct futures-related business with the public must apply for NFA Membership or Associate status. Depending on the business activity of your firm registration is required unless the FCM, SD, MSP, RFED, IB, CPO, CTA qualifies for an exemption. If you have any questions as to whether you qualify for a particular exemption from registration, you should seek guidance by referring to the appropriate section of the Commodity Exchange Act and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Regulations or by consulting NFA registration personnel.

All registered FCMs, RFEDs, IBs, CPOs and those registered CTAs who manage or exercise discretion over customer accounts must be Members of NFA in order to conduct futures, swaps or retail off-exchange forex business with the public. Additionally, SDs and MSPs must be Members of NFA. For more information, check out NFA's website.


The board of directors is the principal governing and policy-development body of the NFA. It is composed of both public and NFA Member representatives. The duties of the board of directors include the management of NFA's business, the adoption of NFA's Bylaws, and the fulfillment of NFA's fundamental purposes.

NFA's board also elects individuals for the following committees: Appeals Committee, Audit Committee, Business Conduct Committee, Compensation Committee, Compliance and Risk Committee, Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Hearing Committee, Membership Committee, Nominating Committee


  • News Center: Current information on NFA's activities for Members, investors, other regulators and the media. Here you will find news releases, Notices to Members, speeches and testimony given by NFA staff, Comment Letters, Rule Submissions and Enforcement and Registration Actions.
  • Investor Information: Before participating in the futures or foreign currency markets, investors should learn as much as they can about how the markets work and the firms and individuals they are doing business with. To help investors perform due diligence before making any investment decisions, NFA provides a variety of resources.
  • Market Regulation: NFA has provided regulatory services to designated contract markets ("DCMs") on a contractual basis for more than ten years. Since 2013, NFA has offered similar services to SEFs.

NFA Leadership

Board of Directors


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