New CFTC Rule Will Require CPO Registration for Many Fund Managers
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has adopted a new rule that will require many fund managers to register as commodity pool operators. Rather than offering a complete exemption, advisers to funds that invest in futures, options, and swaps will only be exempt from CPO registration if they use such instruments solely for “bona fide hedging purposes” or they limit purchases such that aggregate margin and premiums do not exceed 5% of the fund’s liquidation value (or if the net notional value does not exceed 100 percent of the liquidation value of the fund’s portfolio). The CFTC did not exempt broad-based stock index futures or index products, as many in the industry requested. To stay within the exemption, funds will have to represent that they are not marketed as a commodity pool or as a vehicle for trading futures, options or swaps. The earliest compliance date is December 31, 2012. The CFTC is also working through harmonization of compliance requirements with SEC rules.