In the United States, trading of futures contracts for agricultural commodities dates back to at least the 1850s. The first Federal regulation aimed at futures trading was proposed in the early 1920s, leading to the passage of the Grain Futures Act in 1922. In 1936, this law was replaced by an amended version named the Commodity Exchange Act. The “commodity trading advisor” was first recognized in legislation in 1974, when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was established under the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act. The name CTA was adopted since the advisors originally operated predominantly within the commodities markets. Later, trading expanded significantly following the introduction of derivatives on other products including financial instruments.
In July 2010, the definition of commodity trading advisor under the Commodity Exchange Act was expanded by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Actto include “persons who provide advice on swap transactions”. Prior to this, swaps were not included in the CTA definition.