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November 7, 2012
NFA Improves Transparency for Futures Customers: Public online access to FCM financial information begins today
November 7, Chicago - To increase the amount of information available to futures customers, the National Futures Association (NFA) is launching a new service to assist them in their due diligence review of Futures Commission Merchants (FCM). Beginning today, individuals can view certain financial information of any FCM via an easy-to-read display that appears on each FCM's Background Affiliation Status Information Center (BASIC) system page on NFA's website.
From an FCM's BASIC page, the public will now be able to access general information about an FCM, as well as publicly available disciplinary information and financial information for an FCM. Information on how to access these financial reports is available on the new FCM Financial Information page in the Investor Information section of NFA's website.
"For markets to thrive, customers must have confidence in the institutions with which they do business," says Karen Wuertz, NFA's senior vice president, strategic planning and communications. "NFA is always looking for ways to improve how it helps investors navigate the futures markets. The public display of certain FCM financial information on our website will provide investors with another tool to help them conduct due diligence before choosing an FCM-a key financial decision."
Earlier this year, NFA's Special Committee on the Protection of Customer Segregated Funds recommended that FCM financial information be made publicly available in order to increase FCM transparency as a result of NFA's commitment to strengthen customer protection.
"FIA welcomes NFA's improvements to BASIC as an important step in enhancing customer confidence," says Walt Lukken, president and chief executive officer, Futures Industry Association (FIA). "When FIA announced its transparency initiative this summer, one of the top priorities was creating an 'information portal' that would give customers better visibility into customer funds and the financial condition of FCMs. NFA has now turned that idea into reality, and we encourage all customers to use this important tool."
The financial information included on an FCM's BASIC page will include three reports:
- FCM Capital Report: This report will show the most recent month's information on adjusted net capital, required net capital and excess net capital;
- FCM Customer Segregated Funds Report: This report will show total funds held in segregated accounts, total funds required to be held in segregated accounts, excess segregated funds, the percentage of segregated funds that are held in cash and each of the investments permitted under CFTC Regulation 1.25 and whether the FCM held any funds at a depository that is an affiliate of the FCM during the previous month; and
- FCM Customer Secured Amount Funds Report: Identical to the FCM Customer Segregated Funds Report, this report will show the same information in regard to an FCM's secured funds.
NFA will collect and archive this information. As of today, the first month for which reports are available is September 2012. NFA will update the FCM Capital Report on a monthly basis. The Customer Segregated Funds Report and Customer Secured Amount Funds Report will be updated on a semi-monthly basis. NFA will collect and display these reports until the prior 12 months are available for all report types; going forward NFA will maintain the prior 12 months of reports.