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Commodity Pool Operator (CPO)

A CPO is an individual or organization which operates a commodity pool and solicits funds for that commodity pool. A commodity pool is an enterprise in which funds contributed by a number of persons are combined for the purpose of trading futures contracts, options on futures, retail off-exchange forex contracts or swaps, or to invest in another commodity pool.

In general, registration is required unless the CPO qualifies for one of the exemptions from registration outlined in CFTC Regulations 4.5 or 4.13. Examples of entities or individuals that may be exempt include the following:

  • Those otherwise regulated, such as a bank, insurance company, or a registered investment company (With respect to registered investment companies, this only includes those CPOs of RICs that commit no more than a deminimus portion of their assets to commodity trading that do not fall within the definition of bona fide hedging and do not market themselves as a commodity pool or other commodity investment.),
  • Those who operate one or more small pool(s) that has received less than $400,000 in aggregate capital contributions and that have no more than 15 participants in any one pool, or
  • Those who operate only one pool at any time that does not advertise or receive any type of compensation.

For more details on the exemptions available, please refer to this summary.

Click here to access Part 4 of the CFTC Regulations, including Rules 4.5 and 4.13 and other rules particularly relevant to CPOs.

You may access specific guidance regarding the application of Rules 4.5 (also see corrections to Rule 4.5) and 4.13.

If a CPO is qualified for an exemption from registration, the pool operator must electronically file a notice of exemption from CPO registration through NFA's Electronic Exemption Filing System.

All registered CPOs must be Members of NFA in order to conduct futures or swaps business with the public.

A CPO is required to file the following:

  • A completed online Form 7-R (includes NFA membership sections)
  • A non-refundable application fee of $200.00
  • Annual Questionnaire
  • CPO Membership Dues of $750.00            

A CPO is required to file applications for its Principals and Associated Persons

Additionally, all registered CPOs engaged in retail off-exchange forex activities are required to:

  • Apply to become a forex firm by completing online Form 7-R
  • Have at least one principal that is also an approved Forex Associated Person
  • Submit payment of CPO Forex Firm membership dues of $2,500 (or surcharge of $1,750 if applicant is already an
    NFA Member)

Additionally, all registered CPOs engaged in swap transactions are required to:

  • Apply to become a swap firm by completing online Form 7-R
  • Have at least one principal that is also an approved Swap Associated Person

*An application fee is not required if the individual is currently registered with the CFTC in any capacity or is listed as a principal of a current CFTC registrant.  In addition, only one application fee is required if the individual is filing an application as both an Associated Person and Principal.      

Click here if you do not already have access to the Online Registration System.

Featured Information

NFA publishes several guides to help CPOs meet their regulatory requirements. Visit NFA's publication library for a complete list.

Special Messages

CPOs are required to file their disclosure documents with NFA electronically using NFA's DDoc System. Click here for more information.


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