This page deals with the issue of whether an entity may be required to register as a commodity pool operator ("CPO") or a commodity trading advisor ("CTA"). For each case, that will first depend upon whether the entity fits within the statutory or regulatory definition of the term, including, in the case of a CPO, whether it is operating a vehicle that fits within the definition of the term "commodity pool," and, in the case of a CTA, whether its advice is "solely incidental" to some other activity. Generally speaking, the major legal questions are: (i) as noted, whether there is a "pool" to be operated as such term is defined in CEA Section 1a(10) and CFTC Rule 4.10(d), (ii) the regulatory exclusion from registration provided by CFTC Rule 4.5 and CFTC Rule 4.6, and (iii) the exemptions provided by CFTC Rule 4.13 and CFTC Rule 4.14. Even entities that are exempt from registration are often required to file notices, as per the NFA Notices on this page.
In the case of CPO registration, even assuming that there is some entity that is required to register, the question often arises as to which specific entity. This issue has been primarily addressed by CFTC no-action letters.
A separate page deals with the registration exemption that is available to entities that operate outside the United States. In addition, there are separate pages that describe the CPO and CTA registration process and the limited regulatory requirements that are available under CFTC Rule 4.7.