On 25 January, 2024, multiple Divisions of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a Request for Comment (RFC) on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in CFTC-regulated derivatives markets. The RFC seeks information on the current and potential uses of AI as well as the risks associated with using it. The RFC is intended to complement the Biden Administration’s Executive Order urging federal agencies to promote the safe, secure, and trustworthy development of AI. The CFTC staff views the RFC as an opportunity to “identify the highest priorities and return-on-investment projects with AI use cases” and enhance the CFTC’s data-driven approach to policy, surveillance, and enforcement.Read More
On 22 January 2024, industry groups representing private investment fund sponsors, including the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), National Association of Private Fund Managers, and Managed Funds Association, filed their first reply to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) response in the groups’ ongoing petition against the new private fund adviser rules (PFAR) adopted by the SEC on 23 August 2023.Read More
On 23 January 2024, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) published its findings from a 2022 targeted exam sweep, which may serve as a warning to broker-dealers offering crypto asset products. FINRA conducted a sweep reviewing communications made between 1 July 2022 and 30 September 2022 by member firms in connection with crypto assets and crypto-related products and services, focusing on compliance with FINRA Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public). The exam focused not only on written material, but also on communications made via websites, podcasts, advertisements, social media, and other public channels.Read More
The Irish Department of Finance has published a Progress Update on their ongoing review of the funds sector in Ireland. The review, under interlinked themes of open markets, resilient markets and developing markets, is seeking to ensure that the Irish funds sector is resilient, future-proofed, supportive of macro-prudential stability, and continues to meet international best-practice standards.Read More
This past Friday, the SEC staff issued a set of responses to FAQs on the Tailored Shareholder Reports (TSRs) Rule. While these responses only represent the views of the staff of the Division of Investment Management and have no legal force or effect, they provide welcome clarity and guidance on certain elements of the Rule that had been the subject of discussion across the industry.Read More
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is making 2024 a significant year for exchange-traded products (ETPs) by declaring effective the registration statements of ten Bitcoin ETPs, and approving their listing on one of the major stock exchanges. This is a monumental step to bringing access to Bitcoin to a broader retail market in the US For over a decade, the staff of the SEC (Staff) had denied or otherwise blocked applications to list spot Bitcoin ETPs, claiming, in part, that there were insufficient protections against market manipulation in the underlying Bitcoin market. The approvals issued this week unlock – although do not widely open – a previously dead bolted door to registered products offering direct exposure to Bitcoin, providing an opportunity for retail investors to have easier access to exposure to Bitcoin in a regulated product.Read More
Happy New Year! As we kick off 2024, we note that the National Futures Association (NFA) published its annual Notice to Members with guidance on the annual affirmation requirement for certain exempt commodity pool operators (CPOs) and commodity trading advisors (CTAs). If you rely on an exemption or exclusion from CPO registration under CFTC Regulation 4.13(a)(1), 4.13(a)(2), 4.13(a)(3), 4.13(a)(5) or 4.5, or an exemption from CTA registration under 4.14(a)(8), you must file an annual affirmation in the NFA’s Exemptions System by 29 February 2024, and a multi-factor authentication is now required for access. Failure to make this affirmation will result in your registration exemption being withdrawn on 1 March 2024.
In addition, the NFA also issued a Notice to Members regarding the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) final rule implementing the Corporate Transparency Act beneficial ownership information (BOI) reporting requirements. Although CFTC-registered entities (including CPOs and CTAs) are exempt from these requirements (see 31 U.S.C. §5336(a)(11)(B)(xiv)), certain pooled investment vehicles will be required to comply. Commodity pools that are operated or advised by an SEC-registered broker-dealer or investment adviser are generally exempt, but a limited number of other commodity pools will be subject to the new rule.
Accordingly, CPOs with non-exempt commodity pools will need to file BOI reports with FinCEN, including identifying information about individuals who directly or indirectly own or control the commodity pool. FinCEN recently extended the BOI reporting deadline for certain reporting companies, with the relevant compliance dates as follows:
- Commodity pools created or registered before 1 January 2024: file BOI reports by 1 January 2025.
- Commodity pools created or registered in 2024: file BOI reports within 90 calendar days after registration is effective.
- Commodity pools created or registered on or after 1 January 2025: file BOI reports within 30 calendar days after registration is effective.
For commodity pools created or registered after 1 January 2024, a CPO will also need to report information about the “company applicants,” meaning the individual or individuals who directly file the document that creates or registers the commodity pool.
Please feel free to contact the authors of this blog post with any questions.