Large Position / Large Trader Reports

Overview

The CFTC operates a comprehensive system for collecting information on large positions involving futures and swaps called the Large Trader Reporting System. The system was set up pursuant to CEA Section 4i, which makes it unlawful to hold a "reportable" futures position (i.e., a position which equals or exceeds the quantities specified in the CFTC Rules) unless such person has filed position reports as required by the CFTC; and CEA Section 4t, which authorizes the CFTC to establish a large trader reporting system for certain swaps, including those that are economically equivalent to futures.

The rules governing large trading reporting are set out in Parts 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, and 21 of the CFTC’s regulations. Under these provisions, the CFTC collects market data and position information on large trading positions from exchanges, clearing members, FCMs, foreign brokers, and traders. In particular:

  • Quantitative levels at which positions become reportable are spelled out in CFTC Rule 15.03 for futures contracts on certain commodities, and Part 20 for certain swaps.
  • CFTC Rules Part 15 requires reporting by [FCMs to the CFTC and NFA] as to “special accounts.” A “special account” is defined as any account that contains a reportable position and is therefore subject to receipt of a special call.
  • Under Part 16 of the CFTC’s rules, exchanges must provide the CFTC with confidential information on the aggregate positions and trading activity for each of their clearing members.
  • Under Part 17, clearing members, FCMs, and foreign brokers (collectively called “reporting firms”) file reports with the CFTC showing futures and option positions of traders with positions at or above specific reporting levels as set by the CFTC.
  • Under Part 18, each trader who "holds or controls" a "reportable" futures or option position must file with the CFTC a "Statement of Reporting Trader" (Form 40) upon receiving a special call from the CFTC.
  • In markets with Federal speculative position limits (e.g., grains, the soy complex, and cotton), hedgers that hold positions in excess of those limits must file a monthly report with the CFTC under Part 19 of its rules.
  • As noted above, large trader reporting requirements for swaps are governed by Part 20 of the CFTC rules.
  • Finally, Part 21 of the CFTC rules governs “special calls” by the Commission, which, under CFTC Rule 21.03, allows the CFTC to make a special call for information on any trader (including a foreign trader), whether or not such trader has a reportable position in any futures contract if the CFTC believes that such information would be relevant to an investigation involving market manipulation.
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