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NFA launches Web-based system for IBs to submit financial statements electronically

NFA Member Introducing Brokers (IBs) can now file their 1-FR-IB financial statements with NFA using a new Web-based system called Easy File. IBs should use Easy File to submit all unaudited 1-FR-IB statements beginning with the June 30, 2004 statements, which are due on or before July 26, 2004.

"We developed Easy File as an alternative to the WinJammerTM software that was introduced over two years ago," says Yvonne Downs, senior vice-president of Compliance, "and we are confident IBs will find Easy File to be a more efficient and cost-effective way for them to meet their financial reporting requirements."

In 2001, NFA's Board of Directors approved an initiative that required all Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs) and IBs to submit financial statements electronically via the WinJammerTM software program upon becoming approved Members. The WinJammerTM software program was jointly developed by the Chicago Board of Trade, Chicago Mercantile Exchange and NFA. The requirement to submit financial statements using WinJammerTM went into effect on December 31, 2001. The goal of WinJammerTM is to ensure that financial statements are filed on time and with improved clerical accuracy.

"Although WinJammerTM has been very successful, we have received feedback from independent IBs who were experiencing some difficulties using WinJammerTM due to computer system incompatibility issues," says Ken Haase, senior vice-president of Information Systems. "By developing Easy File as a Web-based system, we have eliminated most of those problems."

Because there is no software to download or install, Easy File is simple to set up and use. Unlike WinJammerTM, there is no Personal Identification Number (PIN) agreement to complete. IBs can access Easy File by using the electronic filings link on the Compliance tab at the top of NFA's Web site home page.

"We use the security features of our Online Registration System (ORS) to manage access to Easy File," says Haase. "That's why it's important for all IBs to make sure that they have a Security Manager designated in ORS and that the Manager's password is current."

Using Easy File, the IBs enter their 1-FR-IB information directly into NFA's database. The information is initially analyzed by evaluating the data with a predetermined set of rules. If the filing fails any of these rules, Easy File will display a list of warnings and/or errors.

"If an error is detected, the IB must correct it before Easy File can accept the filing," says Downs. "Once the filing is successfully submitted, a screen automatically appears, telling the IB that NFA will contact him only if questions arise while analyzing the financial statement."

The Easy File application also provides an extensive help system to assist IBs while they are filing their statements. In addition, IBs can direct their Easy File questions to Compliance Team Manager Erin Mattes at (312) 781-2236.

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