9002 - REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS; BRANCH OFFICES
(Staff, September 6, 1985; revised July 1, 2000; December 9, 2005; and September 30, 2010)
Form 7-R, Branch Offices
Any location, other than the main business address at which an FCM, RFED, IB, CPO or CTA employs persons engaged in activities requiring registration as an AP, is a branch office. This is true even if there is only one person at the location. If the firm has one or more branch offices, NFA's registration records on the firm must include the names of all persons who are branch office managers. Each location must have a branch office manager, and that person's status as a branch office manager should be listed in the Registration Categories section of the person's Form 8-R even if previously listed as a principal in the Registration Categories section of the person's Form 8-R. Each branch office must have a different manager.
The address must also be given for each branch office. A P.O. Box is not sufficient. Anyone with a status as branch office manager must also be currently registered as an AP or have applied for such registration. Whenever a new branch office is established it must be reported, with all the required information, to NFA by filing an update electronically to the firm's Form 7-R. The closing of an existing branch office should also be reported by filing an update electronically to the firm's Form 7-R.
IF YOUR FIRM CURRENTLY HAS PERSONS OPERATING OUT OF LOCATIONS OTHER THAN ITS MAIN BUSINESS ADDRESS, THOSE LOCATIONS MUST IMMEDIATELY BE REPORTED TO NFA BY FILING AN UPDATE ELECTRONICALLY TO THE FIRM'S FORM 7-R AND BY ADDING BRANCH OFFICE MANAGER STATUS ON EACH BRANCH OFFICE MANAGER'S FORM 8-R.
NFA may take disciplinary action against any Member which fails to properly list all of its offices.
An important point to recognize is that a branch office may not itself be a separate corporation or partnership. CFTC Regulation 166.4 requires each branch office to use the name of the firm of which it is a branch for all purposes and to hold itself out to the public under such name. Also, in CFTC Interpretive Letter No. 84-10 (May 29, 1984) it was concluded that a branch office could not maintain a separate identity from the Member. One obvious conclusion to be drawn from this information is that each AP in a branch office must be paid directly by the Member. Payment through any intermediary would lead to the assumption that the intermediary would be required to register as an IB.
The requirement that a branch office hold itself out to the public under the name of the Member is intended to ensure that customers are always aware of the Member with which they are doing business. It is necessary that any branch office AP, even one operating out of a residence or an unrelated place of business, make sure that customers understand who they are doing business with.