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SPECIAL SECTION: NFA's Online Registration System

System Overview
In June, NFA will replace NFA's mainframe-based registration system with its new Online Registration System (ORS). With only a couple of minor exceptions, applicants and registrants will no longer file paper registration forms. Instead, they will file all of their registration forms electronically in ORS. The only hard copy forms that NFA will continue to accept are Notice Form 7-R; Forms 7-R, 8-R, 3-R, 7-W and 8-T for Agricultural Trade Merchants and their affiliated individuals; and Form 8-W. Because ORS is a web-based system, all that will be needed to electronically file forms in ORS is a computer with Internet access (see Systems Requirements section for more information).

One benefit of electronic filing is that firms and individuals will no longer be required to keep copies of registration forms and many other registration-related documents. For example, NFA electronic notices will replace many of the letters that NFA now sends to notify firms about registrations being granted or withdrawn. And there won't be an annual update process, just an electronic reminder that firms should review their registration information in ORS. All of this means potential cost savings related to storage and retrieval of the hard copy records. If hard copies are needed, firms can print hardcopy versions of their electronic filings and the electronic filings of their APs and principals.

Another advantage is that the registration process will be easier and quicker. If an applicant has applied or been registered before, the electronic application will already contain all of the applicant's existing information. Instead of writing it all down again on a paper form, the applicant will simply review what appears and update any inaccurate or outdated information. If the applicant is already registered and wants to add another registration class (for example, a principal who wants to also be an AP), only the information that isn't already in ORS, like proficiency requirements, will need to be provided. No new fee or fingerprint cards will be required.

The ORS will issue temporary licenses to eligible applicants as soon as the application is filed, and already registered APs can obtain new AP registrations with additional sponsors in just one day. In most cases, Floor Brokers and Floor Traders will get temporary licenses as soon as the exchange notifies NFA that they have received trading privileges. Floor Brokers with a temporary license will be able to act as Floor Brokers, not just trade for their own account. The ORS will automatically allow FCMs to perform the registration work for the IBs that it guarantees. Other firms also can be authorized by their affiliates to conduct registration activities for them.

While each firm will be able to see its own, its APs' and its principals' registration records, every authorized ORS user will be able to view any information about other firms and individuals that is considered public under applicable laws. This mainly consists of information provided on registration forms. It does not include personal information like home and e-mail addresses (unless these are listed as a business address), social security numbers and birth dates and supporting documentation for answers to disciplinary questions.

What type of system requirements and settings do I need?
NFA's Online Registration System has been designed to be user friendly. If you can transact business with Amazon.com, you should be able to use NFA's Online Registration System. NFA's web-based applications require a currently supported version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.01 and higher and either Netscape 4.7 or 6.2. NFA applications also require cookies and Java Script to be enabled. NFA recommends keeping browser levels and maintenance current as an overall best practice. Contact your network administrator, use the Help function of the System or visit the web sites listed below to determine if your system can support these settings.

Internet Explorer updates are available from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie. Netscape browers may be downloaded from http://home.netscape.com/download.

Will NFA provide any user support?
NFA's Information Center will be available to help users between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CST Monday through Friday. The Information Center staff will be trained to diagnose problems and resolve them as expeditiously as possible. Questions relating to security (passwords, set-up, etc.) will be routed to NFA's security section for expedited handling. NFA will also dedicate a specific e-mail address designated solely for ORS inquiries. With the Online Registration System, firms will have most of the information they require at their fingertips through the report features of the system. NFA will also accommodate special requests for information (as long as the information pertains to the firm).

Additionally, NFA has developed training workshops to demonstrate how to use the system. The first workshops were held in New York and New Jersey on April 17 and 18. Two workshops are also scheduled in Chicago on May 8. (You can register to attend the Chicago workshops online at www.nfa.futures.org).

NFA has also developed an online tutorial that takes users step by step through common registration scenarios such as completing a registration, changing registration information and terminating an Associated Person.

Finally, NFA will continue to upgrade the system, using feedback from users, to ensure that it always meets the users' needs.

How Do I Gain Access to ORS?
NFA has designed the ORS to be a very secure site that only authorized users will be able to access. Therefore, the first thing you need to do in order to use NFA's new Online Registration System (ORS) is to designate a Security Manager for your firm by completing an Enrollment Form. Floor Brokers and Floor Traders will be their own Security Managers. If you are a registered firm, your Registration Contact will receive a letter from NFA explaining how to do this. If you don't receive a letter by May 1, please call NFA's Information Center at 1-800-621-3570. If you are not currently registered, the ORS Enrollment Form will be found on NFA's website (www.nfa.futues.org) in June, when ORS is available.

When you submit the Enrollment Form, ORS will display a password for the Security Manager. NFA will mail you a User ID for the Security Manager and, if your firm is applying for registration for the first time, your User ID will be the firm's NFA ID number. The Security Manager can then access ORS with the User ID and password previously provided.

The Security Manager is responsible for designating the firm's ORS users by using forms provided in ORS. The Security Manager will also specify the types of registration activity each user may perform. There are four levels of registration activity and the higher levels include the lower ones:

ORS will generate a User ID and password for each designated user. If a user forgets the password, only the Security Manager can reset it. NFA can only reset a Security Manager's password. For that reason, NFA strongly recommends the Security Manager establish a second Security Manager who can act in his or her absence.

How do I file an application?
Only firms, Floor Brokers and Floor Traders can file their applications. Firms also file applications for their principals and APs. The applications consist of a series of web pages containing questions to answer and information fields to complete. All items marked with an asterisk (*) must be completed before the application can be filed.

When a firm begins an application for a principal or AP, ORS will display a temporary user ID and password for the individual. The individual must use them to electronically sign or verify the information in the application after the firm files it. The firm can also let the individual complete the application by using the temporary user ID and password; however, only the firm can file it.

After the individual's application is filed, the individual must access the application in ORS using the temporary User ID and password and, if the information is complete and accurate, file the verification. If any information is not correct, the individual must bring it to the firm's attention and the firm must file an update to correct it. The individual must access the application again and, if all the information is correct, file the verification. After the verification is filed, the individual will no longer be able to access ORS using the temporary user ID and password.

Firms, Floor Brokers and Traders verify the accuracy of the information when they file their applications. This means that Floor Brokers and Traders cannot designate someone else to file their applications, although they may authorize another person to enter information into the application and to file updates.

APs who receive temporary licenses when the application is filed must file the verification and NFA must receive the registration fee, fingerprint cards and confirmation of proficiency test results within 20 days. If not, the temporary license will be terminated.

Other forms are filed the same way, except that APs and principals don't need to verify the information in updates or withdrawal notices that the firm files for them.

The ORS will be available for applicants and registrants from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. CST from Monday through Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. CST on Saturday. It will not be available on Sundays.

Making the transition to ORS
The "Quiet Period"

Before NFA can make ORS available, all the data in the current mainframe system needs to be moved to ORS. Therefore, NFA has scheduled a "quiet period" to begin May 17, 2002. During the "quiet period" (lasting approximately two weeks), no one will be able to file registration forms, and NFA will not be able to grant or withdraw registrations or temporary licenses.

The length of the "quiet period" depends on several factors. Before moving the data from the mainframe to ORS, NFA must enter all the data from complete filings that it receives before May 17th into the mainframe system. NFA is committed to use all its resources to complete this task within one week, but whether that can be accomplished depends in part on how many filings NFA receives near the May 17th deadline. The earlier that firms can file prior to May 17th, the more likely it will be that NFA can meet the one-week goal.

Incomplete Filings
Incomplete filings cannot be moved to ORS. On May 17, 2002, NFA will withdraw all incomplete applications, and they will have to be re-filed electronically after the "quiet period" ends. To help firms avoid this, beginning April 1, NFA began returning any new applications it receives that are incomplete. NFA is also communicating with firms about incomplete applications that they filed before April. To help firms complete the applications, when NFA returns an application, it is providing a checklist of items that must be filed for an application to be complete.

Special Temporary License and Late Termination Notices
AP applicants receive a "special" temporary license effective upon the mailing of a complete application within 60 days of terminating with a prior sponsor. Similarly, firms must file a Form 8-T within 20 days after the date the individual was terminated or a late fee is charged. Since NFA will not accept hardcopy applications or termination notices after May 17th and firms can't file electronic versions during the "quiet period," the time periods could expire to the detriment of the applicants and firms.

Therefore, NFA has requested that the CFTC grant relief in both situations. NFA has proposed allowing AP applicants to begin work with a new sponsor during the "quiet period" without filing an application if they are eligible for the "special" temporary license. The AP's sponsor would have to provide the AP's name and date of birth and/or social security number to NFA before allowing the AP to begin work. The firm would also have to file an electronic application for the AP within 20 days after ORS becomes available or the temporary license will be withdrawn. NFA has also proposed waiving the late fee for any Form 8-T filed electronically in ORS during the first 20 days after ORS becomes available. NFA will notify Members when the CFTC approves these proposals.

Important ORS Dates To Remember


April 1
NFA begins returning incomplete applications


April 17 & 18
ORS Training Workshops in New York and New Jersey


April 22
Security Manager letter sent to currently registered firms


April 29
Security Manager Enrollment Forms available for currently registered firms


May 8
ORS Training Workshops in Chicago


May 17
Last date NFA will accept hard copy registration filings
All incomplete filings withdrawn
Quiet Period begins at 5:00 p.m. CDT


May 21
User IDs sent to firms that submitted Security Manager Enrollment Forms


June 3 (tentative)
Quiet period ends
Security Manager Enrollment Forms for all firms, floor brokers and floor traders available
ORS available for use

No-Action Relief
NFA is scheduled to introduce its Online Registration System ("ORS") on June 3, after which virtually all registration forms will be filed electronically. To accomplish this, beginning after the close of business on May 17th, there will be a period of about two weeks during which NFA will not accept any applications or termination notices ("quiet period"). This could disadvantage AP applicants who are otherwise eligible for a special temporary license.

An AP who files an application for registration to be registered as an AP of a new sponsor within 60 days of terminating registration as an AP of a prior sponsor is entitled to a special temporary license. Since the sponsor will not be able to file the required application during the quiet period, AP applicants who are otherwise eligible will not receive a special temporary license if the 60-day period expires during the quiet period. NFA requested and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Division of Trading & Markets has issued a no-action letter to rectify this situation.

During the quiet period, NFA is authorized to issue special temporary licenses to otherwise eligible individuals before the individual's sponsor files the required application. NFA will issue a special temporary license upon receipt from the sponsor of the following information:

  • The sponsor's name and NFA ID number;

  • The individual's full name, NFA ID number, date of birth and social security number; and

  • The date the individual will begin acting as an AP.

The sponsor may provide the information to NFA by mail (Registration Department, National Futures Association, 200 W. Madison St., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60606), e-mail (processing@nfa.futures.org) or fax (312-781-1459).

NFA will terminate the temporary license unless the sponsor files an electronic application for the individual to become registered as an AP within 20 days after ORS becomes available.

Please telephone NFA's Information Center at (800) 621-3570 or (312) 781-1410 with any questions.

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