NFA is the self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives industry, including on-exchange traded futures, retail off-exchange foreign currency (forex) and OTC derivatives (swaps). NFA is headquartered in Chicago and maintains an office in New York City. NFA is a non-profit, independent regulatory organization. NFA does not operate any markets and is not a trade association. NFA operates at no cost to the taxpayer—it is financed exclusively from membership dues and assessment fees.
In 1974 Congress established the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), a federal regulatory agency with jurisdiction over futures trading. The same legislation authorized the creation of “registered futures associations,” giving the futures industry the opportunity to create a nationwide, self-regulatory organization. NFA began operations in 1982. Congress passed legislation in 2000 and 2008 requiring firms acting as counterparties to retail forex transactions, as well as forex pool operators, trading advisors and introducing brokers to register with the CFTC and become Members of NFA.
Similarly, in 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which gave the CFTC rulemaking authority and oversight over swaps, swap dealers and major swap participants. Subsequently, the CFTC passed regulations requiring swap dealers and major swap participants to register with the CFTC and become Members of NFA.
Membership in NFA is mandatory, assuring that everyone conducting business with the public on U.S. futures exchanges and in the retail forex marketplace must adhere to the same standards. NFA membership also is mandatory for swap dealers and major swap participants. NFA’s membership currently numbers approximately 4,000 firms and 55,000 associates.
Market Regulation: NFA has provided regulatory services to designated contract markets (“DCMs”) on a contractual basis for more than ten years. Since 2013, NFA has offered similar services to SEFs.