Both the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and National Futures Association (“NFA”) have been releasing guidance about their expectations for how firms grapple with Covid-19.  Turnkey has taken the time to gather this information into one place for our clients. As we become aware of new information impacting CFTC registrants and NFA member firms we’ll add it to this page. All FCMs, IBs, CTAs, and CPOs should bookmark this URL or sign up for our monthly newsletter for the latest updates. We’ll include the latest information pertaining to commodity futures, options, forex, and swap trading on a rolling basis (latest updates first!) with an easy to read summary. Please stay safe! This too shall pass!

September 15, 2020 – Extension to Certain Regulatory Relief for FCMs, RFEDs, IBs and SDs

The CFTC recently issued no-action letter 20-26 extending through January 15, 2021, certain no-action relief issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief, previously set to expire on September 30, 2020, applies exclusively to certain regulatory obligations of FCMs, RFEDs (i.e., FDMs), IBs and SDs. NFA is also extending through January 15, 2021 similar relief for Members that are in compliance with the terms of the CFTC’s no-action relief. Specific relief subject to this extension is detailed in NFA’s Notice to Members I-20-13.

July 21, 2020 – Extension to Relief from Fingerprinting Requirements

The CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) recently issued Staff Letter No. 20-20 extending its temporary relief provided in CFTC Staff Letter No. 20-16. This relief was granted to registrants and applicants for registration listing a principal, and for applicants for associated person (AP) registration from fingerprinting requirements. The temporary relief, originally scheduled to expire on July 23, 2020, now 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 – Extension to Certain Regulatory Relief for FCMs, RFEDs, FDMs, IBs and SDs

The CFTC recently issued a no-action letter extending through September 30, 2020, certain no-action relief issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief, previously set to expire on June 30, 2020, applies to certain regulatory obligations of FCMs, RFEDs (i.e., FDMs), IBs and SDs. NFA is also extending through September 30, 2020 similar relief for Members that are in compliance with the terms of the CFTC’s no-action relief. Specific relief subject to this extension is detailed in NFA’s Notice to Members I-20-13.

May 27, 2020 – State “Shelter-in-Place” and “Stay-at-Home” Order updates

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.

April 27, 2020 –NFA UPDATE — Relief from Fingerprinting Requirements

Due to concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19, NFA temporarily suspended its fingerprinting services in March. NFA understands that this action, along with the measures taken by federal, state and local governments to restrict the movement of, and contact among, individuals, makes it difficult for individuals to obtain fingerprints and comply with both CFTC and NFA fingerprinting requirements. To address this issue, NFA filed a letter with the CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) seeking temporary relief from these requirements.

April 24, 2020 –CFTC Provides Registration Waivers for Series 3 and Fingerprint Cards

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) today announced that, in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, it has issued additional targeted no-action relief to registrants listing new principals and to applicants for registration as associated persons (APs) from the requirement to submit a fingerprint card for any such principal or AP registration applicant.

April 24, 2020 –CFTC/NFA Registrant PPP Guidance

The CFTC issued a no-action letter to futures commission merchants (FCM) and introducing brokers (IB) addressing the net capital treatment of covered loans obtained under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and unpaid FINRA assessment fees. PPP is a component of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act administered by the Small Business Association.  Please contact Turnkey for any assistance you may need recalculating your net capital position due to any government stimulus programs related to Covid-19.

April 17, 2020 –NIBA Makes Request to CFTC for No-Action Position 

NIBA understands this is a trying time for the industry at large and for the participants in and around our markets.  NIBA recently published information regarding the CARES act and how its members can navigate the process should they choose to do so.  Looking a few steps ahead the natural question became – are there compliance and regulatory considerations for firms that apply for and receive relief?

April 9, 2020 –CTAs and CPOs Beware; Required Disclosure Updates

During these unprecedented times many firms are seeing temporary and permanent changes to how they are conducting business. As firms adjust to the Covid-19 pandemic, one area that Turnkey Trading Partners has seen being largely overlooked is Commodity Trading Advisor (“CTA”) and Commodity Pool Operator (“CPO”) obligations to update offering and disclosure documents, as well as, marketing materials for material events.  Within this article we will look at how the pandemic could affect and require a CTA or CPO to update both offering documents as well as marketing materials.  To read more please click here.

April 8, 2020 – FinCEN Issues a Special Notice in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Updates List of FATF-Identified Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies

Summary: 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 – Regulatory Relief for IBs

Summary: Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), a number of independent IB Members have inquired whether NFA would extend the due date for upcoming filings. NFA understands that the current situation may make it difficult for independent IB Members to file their required financial filings within the specified time periods. Therefore, NFA is providing all independent IB Members with 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. This relief is automatic.

March 23, 2020 – Regulatory Relief for CPOs and CTAs

Summary: On March 20, 2020, the CFTC issued a no-action letter to commodity pool operators (CPO) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As discussed below, NFA is issuing similar relief from rules for CPO Members. Additionally, NFA is providing commodity trading advisor (CTA) Members with similar relief for NFA Form PR filings. See notice for exact filing deadline information.

March 20, 2020 – Increases in required forex minimum security deposits

Summary: Given the recent volatility in the currency markets, and the margin increases that CME and ICE have implemented with respect to foreign currency futures involving the Norwegian Krone – 7%, Mexican Peso – 10%. These increases become effective 5:00 p.m. CT on March 22, 2020 and remain in effect until further notice.

March 18, 2020 – Regulatory Relief for FCMs, IBs, SDs and FDMs

Summary: 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 – Coronavirus Update—NFA Branch Office Requirements

Summary: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), a number of Members are considering implementing contingencies pursuant to their business continuity plans that would permit employees, including registered APs, to temporarily work from the employee’s home or other remote locations that have not been listed as a branch office on the Member’s Form 7-R. Moreover, particularly in the situations where an AP is working from his or her home, there would be no designated branch manager at that location. Over the last several days, NFA has received a number of inquiries on whether these contingency plans—providing for APs to temporarily work from a location not listed as a branch office, without a branch manager—violate NFA’s branch office requirements.  NFA understands that the current situation may necessitate alternative work arrangements. NFA will not pursue a disciplinary action against a Member that permits APs to temporarily work from locations not listed as a branch office.

March 12, 2020 – CFTC Regulatory Reporting Requirements

Summary: NFA reminds swap dealer (SD) Members of their regulatory reporting obligations, including those pursuant to CFTC Regulation 23.603. In accordance with such regulatory reporting obligations, CFTC staff expects to be notified if an SD implements a teleworking plan or activates its Business Continuity Plan where such implementation or activation is for purposes other than testing.

March 4, 2020 – Information on Coronavirus/COVID-19

Summary: NFA is aware that Members are developing contingency plans to deal with the potential impact of the Coronavirus on their operations. In light of these preparations, we also understand that Members may have specific concerns regarding their ability to comply fully with CFTC and NFA regulatory requirements, particularly in the event that some or all of their staff are not able to work in Member firms’ offices or backup facilities. We have been coordinating with the various industry trade associations with respect to the potential areas of concern.