The Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974 established the U.S. federal agency known as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC is responsible for regulating the options as well as futures markets. Its mission is to promote effective and fair competition within futures markets. It also is responsible for assuring investors are not victims of abusive trade practices as well as fraud, manipulation of the market and more.
Investors traded agricultural commodities futures contracts for over 149 years. Since the 1970s, futures contracts have expanded in the volume of their trades. This type of trading moved beyond the traditional agricultural commodities. It grew to encompass many other types of investments including U.S. foreign stock, foreign currencies, U.S. as well as foreign government securities and more. The CFTC was designed to be an independent federal agency given the authority necessary to regulate option markets and commodity futures in the United States.
There are five different committees that are operated by the CFTC. Each of them is run by a commissioner. Each CFTC commissioner must be appointed to their position by the president of the United State and then approved by the U.S. Senate. The different committees each have specialties such as technology, agriculture, environmental markets, global markets. It also has a committee dedicated to maintaining positive cooperation between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the CFTC.
Financial Market Regulation
The CFTC is an essential part of financial markets regulation. Should the CFTC not be in place, market participants would be susceptible to fraud by unscrupulous market investors. This could cause honest investors not to have faith in the capital markets of the United States. Should this happen, capital markets in the United States would be viewed by investors around the world as unable to effectively and properly provide financial resources in a fair and impartial way. All this would hurt honest investors who are essential for the success of the financial markets in the United States.
*The Division of Clearing and Risk (DCR) is responsible for the proper operation of derivatives clearing organizations (DCO) as well as others involved in the process of clearing.
*Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) monitors the compliance as well as registration of any futures’ industry self-regulatory organization (SRO) and any intermediaries. The DSIO under Dodd-Frank legislation also oversees and develops regulation compliance.
*Division of Enforcement (DOE) is responsible for conducting investigations and prosecuting all proven violations associated with the Commodity Exchange Act as well as any Commission regulations. These violations include abuses associated with derivatives and swaps as well as market manipulation, fraud and more.
*Division of Market Oversight (DMO) makes certain the markets are fair, open as well as competitive. This is accomplished by monitoring swap data repositories and derivative platforms. New applications for designated contract markets and more are carefully reviewed by the DMO. This organization makes certain there is compliance with basic market principals and all regulatory requirements are met and the system safeguards in place are effective.
*Chief Economist (OCE) conducts research on policy issues involving the CFTC as well as train and educated CFTC staff.
*Whistleblower Officer (WBO) distributes funds to individuals as part of an incentive for people who report any and all possible Commodity Exchange Act violations. These funds are only paid when a successful enforcement action is taken.
*Office of Data and Technology (ODT) provides essential data and technology management and support for the CFTC. It also monitors all financial transactions. The ODT provides legal support, market surveillance and more.
*Office of Public Affairs (OPA) functions as a liaison between the news media and the public. This OPA provides all necessary media alerts as well as press releases. It maintains the CFTC’s social media presence as well as the CFTC website and more.
*Office of Executive Director (OED) makes certain the CFTC can adapt to the changes in the markets. It also allocates as well as directs the resources of the CFTC. The OED develops and implements administrative and management policy and more. It also monitors the Office of Customer Education and Outreach.
*Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) is responsible for the CFTC’s programs of equal employment, inclusion, diversity and more.
*Office of General Counsel (OGC) provides legal support and services for the CFTC and all the programs it provides.
*Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is responsible for detecting any types of fraud, abuse waste and more. It is an independent organizational unit of the CFTC.
*Office of Legislative Affairs (OLA) is the CFTC’s liaison with Congress. It provides informational material, reports briefings and more.
*Office of International Affairs (OIA) advises the CFTC about international regulatory initiatives as well as provide essential information on international trading and more.
The CFTC plays a crucial role in the financial markets in the United States and around the world. Swaps and futures markets are essential to the United States economy. Commercial companies and pension funds, as well as ranchers, farmers, municipalities, and more, depend on these investment markets. It is the CFTS that makes certain all those who participate in these markets can do so with the utmost confidence.