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As part of a second round of enhancements to NFA's Online Registration System ("ORS"), additional hardcopy filings will be eliminated and the process for firms requesting an exemption from registration in accordance with CFTC Regulation 30.5 will be moved to ORS. The proposed amendments provide for these enhancements.
As the Commission is aware, the exemption under CFTC Regulation 30.5 is available to foreign introducing brokers, commodity pool operators and commodity trading advisors that do business on foreign exchanges for U.S. customers. This regulation requires the firm to file an application for the exemption, irrevocably consent to the jurisdiction of the CFTC and U.S. courts and produce books and records on 72 hours notice from the CFTC or the U.S. Department of Justice. The firm must also file an agreement to appoint a U.S. agent for service of process. This agent may be the U.S. futures commission merchant that the firm does its business through, NFA or an entity that is in the business of acting as an agent.
The proposed rule amendments mirror the existing CFTC Regulation 30.5 with appropriate changes to reflect the electronic filing process. First, the amendments provide that the application will be electronic not hardcopy. The application will require, among other things, the applicant to provide the name of the registered futures commission merchant or the foreign broker that has received confirmation of an exemption from registration pursuant to CFTC Regulation 30.10 with which it will conduct its business. Second, if the firm wishes to appoint NFA as its agent, the agency agreement will be electronic and part of the application process. The proposed amendments also allow a $100 application fee to be charged, and, like all active registered firms, each exempt firm will annually be assessed a $100 records maintenance fee. Although currently no such fees apply to the 30.5 exempt firms, NFA has charged a $100 annual fee to act as agent. NFA will no longer charge that fee since there is no significant additional work involved for NFA whether NFA acts as the firm's agent or not. Finally, there is a technical amendment to Registration Rule 202 and the analogous Bylaw 301 to specify that notices provided electronically are effective upon display in ORS.