COVID-19/Coronavirus

NFA continues to closely monitor the latest developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its significant impacts on NFA Members and the derivatives industry. NFA is committed to providing timely information and guidance for its Members. New information will be posted on this page as it becomes available.

To provide Members with information on NFA's current operations, regulatory approach and relief issued, as well as answer questions, NFA held a webinar on Wednesday, May 27, 2020.

Due to concerns with the spread of Coronavirus, most NFA staff are working remotely. NFA remains fully operational and continues to fulfill its regulatory responsibilities. For NFA contact information, click here.
Due to concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic, a number of states and localities issued workplace restrictions in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease. FINRA provides a list of state orders on its website, as well as identifies which states and localities are beginning to lift these “Shelter-in-Place” or “Stay-at-Home” orders.
 
Many of the orders list financial institutions as essential businesses and permit critical on site functions to continue, subject to limitations.
 
Several state orders, or guidance and FAQs issued in connection with state orders, refer to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) Memorandum Version 3.0 issued on April 17, 2020. (Note: This document supersedes the CISA Memorandum Version 1.0 published on March 19, 2020 and the CISA Memorandum Version 2.0 published on March 28, 2020.) The guidance identifies financial services workers as essential to continued infrastructure viability during the Coronavirus pandemic. On March 24, 2020, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin issued a statement supporting CISA's guidance identifying financial services sector workers as essential.

Below are links to NFA's latest Coronavirus-related Notices to Members, along with brief summaries of each. Members should be sure to click and read each Notice in its entirety for full details, rather than relying on the Notice summaries on this page.

July 20, 2020 | I-20-29: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update—Extension to Relief from Fingerprinting Requirements
NFA issued similar relief from NFA requirements as the CFTC's July 17, 2020 no-action letter to registrants and applicants for registration listing a principal, and for applicants for associated person (AP) registration. This relief from fingerprinting requirements extends through the earlier of September 30, 2020 or the date on which NFA notifies the public that it has resumed processing fingerprints.

June 12, 2020 | I-20-24: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update—Extension to Certain Regulatory Relief for FCMs, RFEDs, FDMs, IBs and SDs
NFA issued similar relief from NFA requirements as the CFTC's June 9, 2020 no-action letter to FCMs, RFEDs (i.e., FDMs), IBs and SDs. This relief extends through September 30, 2020 certain no-action relief issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

April 27, 2020 | I-20-20: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update— Relief from Fingerprinting Requirements
NFA issued similar relief from NFA requirements as the CFTC's April 24, 2020 no-action letter regarding fingerprinting requirements. The temporary relief releases registrants and applicants for registration who satisfy the requirements of the CFTC's no-action letter from fingerprinting requirements until within thirty days of NFA announcing the resumption of fingerprint processing.

April 23, 2020 | I-20-19: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update—Regulatory Relief for FCMs and IBs
NFA issued similar relief from NFA requirements as the CFTC's April 23, 2020 no-action relief letters to FCMs and IBs. The relief permits any FCM or IB that receives a Paycheck Protection Program-covered loan to add back to its capital the eligible forgivable expense amount under the PPP when computing adjusted net capital under CFTC Regulation 1.17.

April 8, 2020 | I-20-17: FCM and IB Members—FinCEN Issues a Special Notice in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Updates List of FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies
NFA encourages FCM and IB Members to review the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) recent Notice which provides information about complying with Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Member FCMs and IBs should review FinCEN's recently-updated list of FATF-identified jurisdictions with AML/CFT deficiencies.

March 26, 2020 | I-20-16: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update—Regulatory Relief for IBs
NFA issued automatic relief for all independent IB Members by providing a 30 calendar day extension for filing certified financial reports for fiscal years ending in December 2019 through March 2020. NFA is also providing all independent IB Members with a 10 business day extension for filing the semi-annual, quarterly or monthly reports for reporting periods ending February through April 2020.

March 23, 2020 | I-20-15: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update—Regulatory Relief for CPOs and CTAs
NFA issued similar relief from NFA requirements as the CFTC's March 20, 2020 no-action relief letter to CPOs. The relief extends deadlines for upcoming CPO Form PQR filings, pool annual reports and periodic account statements for pool participants. NFA also extended deadlines for CTA Form PR filings due on or before April 30, 2020.

March 18, 2020 | I-20-13: Coronavirus Update—Regulatory Relief
NFA issued similar relief from NFA requirements as the CFTC 's March 17, 2020 no-action relief letters to FCMs, IBs, SDs and FDMs that are designed to facilitate the separation of personnel in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NFA also provided FDMs a 30-day extension to the filing deadline for Chief Compliance Officer Annual Reports.

March 13, 2020 | I-20-12: Coronavirus Update—NFA Branch Office Requirements
Provided Members implement alternative supervisory methods to adequately supervise APs' activities and meet recordkeeping requirements, NFA will not pursue a disciplinary action against a Member that permits APs to temporarily work from locations not listed as a branch office and without a branch manager. Members should ensure these procedures are documented. NFA expects these APs will return to the Member's main office or listed branch office location once a Member firm is no longer operating under contingencies pursuant to its Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

March 12, 2020 | I-20-11: Information on CFTC Regulatory Reporting Requirements
Market volatility and the spread of the Coronavirus is an increasing reminder to SD Members of their regulatory reporting obligations, including notifying the CFTC if a SD implements a teleworking plan or activates its BCP where such implementation or activation is for purposes other than testing. NFA and CFTC regulatory coordination has increased during this pandemic.

March 4, 2020 | I-20-10: Information on Coronavirus/COVID-19
NFA encourages each Member to review its BCP and ensure its effectiveness should it need to be activated. Each Member should ensure its current listing of key employees and contact information is accurate, and its BCP should include appropriate measures that allowing it to operate efficiently during a pandemic.

Although most NFA staff are working remotely, NFA continues to perform day-to-day regulatory oversight of its Members, including conducting exams, financial analysis, disclosure document reviews and investigatory work.

NFA understands that our Member firms' resources are focused on a number of priorities including employee safety, client service and critical operational issues.  If an NFA Member needs an extension or accommodation to an NFA request, please contact the NFA employee making the request to discuss potential alternatives.   

NFA's Arbitration staff continue to process claims as usual. To ensure timely claim processing, file any new NFA arbitration claims online rather than via mail.

NFA's Registration staff is working remotely and effectively processing registration applications. Staff is also providing extensions to deadlines for submitting certain registration materials (e.g., Series 3 and related proficiency requirements, responses to fingerprint card deficiencies). Contact NFA's Information Center with any questions or concerns.

Annual Registration Updates

NFA Members/CFTC registrants may access their annual filing requirements in the Online Registration System (ORS) on the NFA Dashboard under the Periodic Filings Due section. Note that Annual Registration Update letters and invoices will not be mailed.

Fingerprinting Services

Due to concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus, NFA's Chicago office has suspended its applicant fingerprinting service until further notice. Fingerprinting services may be available at police stations, local law enforcement agencies or passport agencies.

NFA has issued temporary relief from fingerprinting requirements for registrants and applicants for registration that satisfy the CFTC's April 24, 2020 no-action letter. A person with authority to bind the registrant or applicant may submit a signed certification in accordance with the no-action letter to PrintcardAlternativeFilings@nfa.futures.org. For more information, see NFA Notice to Members I-20-20 and Notice to Members I-20-29.

Proficiency Examinations

Prometric, the testing services provider that facilitates NFA's proficiency examinations, has temporarily closed some of its locations in the United States and Canada. For a list of open Prometric test centers, as well as anticipated reopening dates for currently closed test centers, visit Prometric's Site Openings page.

Note that NFA's Swaps Proficiency Requirements are administered online and have not been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

March 20, 2020 | I-20-14: Immediate attention required – Financial Requirements Section 12 – Increases in required minimum security deposits for forex transactions
Given market volatility and margin increases implemented by CME and ICE with respect to foreign currency futures, NFA has increased the minimum security deposits required to be collected and maintained by FDMs to 7% for the Norwegian Krone and 10% for the Mexican Peso.

NFA's Treasurer's Office continues to operate remotely. Members may access their daily invoices via the Online Registration System (ORS) Dashboard and should note that the invoices will not be mailed out. NFA encourages Members to check the ORS Dashboard regularly.

Additionally, to ensure timely processing, Members should send all payments to NFA's lockbox address (not to NFA's Chicago office).

NFA
Box 98383
Chicago, IL 60693-0001

The CFTC has created a dedicated webpage to highlight their actions related to COVID-19, as well as useful resources. The page contains a message from CFTC Chairman Heath Tarbert, no-action relief letters and a Customer Advisory message.

Additional Resources

April 17, 2020 – CISA Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during COVID-19 Response Version 3.0 (Note: This document supersedes the CISA Memorandum Version 1.0 published on March 19, 2020 and the CISA Memorandum Version 2.0 published on March 28, 2020.)

March 24, 2020 – Treasury Department Memorandum Regarding Financial Services Sector Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

NFA is committed to providing the investing public with resources related to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

NFA April Investor Newsletter
NFA continues to closely monitor the latest developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and is committed to providing the investing public with resources related to the evolving situation. The resources included in NFA's April Investor Newsletter, among others, include how to file a complaint, how to make an arbitration claim and other important updates aimed at keeping investors informed.

CFTC Customer Advisory: Be on Alert for Frauds Seeking to Profit from Market Volatility Related to COVID-19
Fraudsters commonly use major news events, such as the spread of COVID-19, to add credibility to their cons or manipulate emotions. In this Advisory, the CFTC provides customers with tips for protecting themselves from fraud, as well as information about reporting frauds they encounter.

CFTC Customer Advisory: Beware of Fee Scams Targeting Workers Sidelined by COVID-19
In this Advisory, the CFTC warns customers about recent scams targeting people who have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Customers should be wary of unregistered brokers touting opportunities to earn unrealistically high profits from home.

File a Complaint
If you believe that an NFA Member has treated you improperly or has improper business practices, NFA strongly encourages you to file a complaint. Including as much information as possible when filing a complaint will help NFA identify potential violations. You can use NFA's BASIC system to obtain NFA membership information for firms and individuals.

NFA's Information Center representatives continue to be available to answer Member and investor questions and provide additional information on any NFA-related topic. For NFA contact information, click here.

Last updated: July 22, 2020