Commodity Futures Trading Commission

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Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Founded 1974
Headquarters Three Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20581

Image: 180 pixels

Products Regulator
Key People Heath Tarbert, Chairman
Twitter @cftc
youtube CFTC
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LinkedIn Profile
Web site

The mission of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to the sale of commodity and financial futures and options, and to foster open, competitive, and financially sound futures and options markets.[1]

Heath Tarbert is the chairman of the CFTC. He started his term in July 2019.


Congress created the CFTC with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Act of 1974 as an independent agency with the mandate to regulate commodity futures and options markets in the United States. (Before that time, futures markets were regulated by the Commodity Exchange Authority (CEA), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture). The CFTC's mandate has been renewed and expanded several times since 1974, most recently by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA).[2] In May of 2008, the U.S. Congress reauthorized the CFTC through the Fiscal Year 2013. On July 21, 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), which expanded the CFTC's jurisdiction and authorities.

William T. Bagley, a lawyer, was appointed by President Gerald Ford as the first chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, serving from 1975-1978. As keynote speaker at a press dinner on the Chicago Board of Trade's trading floor early in his chairmanship, he established one of the CFTC's oversight goals by telling the crowd something along the lines of that if there was anything "Mickey Mouse" going on in the industry, he would cut off Mickey's ears.

Today, the CFTC assures the economic utility of the futures markets by encouraging their competitiveness and efficiency, ensuring their integrity, protecting market participants against manipulation, abusive trading practices, and fraud, and ensuring the financial integrity of the clearing process.

The CFTC introduced a new fintech initiative in May 2017 called LabCFTC, with Daniel Gorfine at the helm.

On December 15, 2017 the CFTC launched a virtual currency resource Web page,, as a repository for commission-produced resources about virtual currency (aka cryptocurrency).[3]

Image: 450 pixels

Regulatory Agreement with the European Commission

The CFTC and the European Commission in February 2016 announced a "common approach" to clearinghouse requirements that would pave the way for European regulators to grant equivalence to U.S. clearinghouses. The agreement would allow European CCPs to do business in the U.S. more easily and U.S. CCPs to continue to provide services to EU companies.[4] The deal will also result in millions of dollars of savings daily in the amount of collateral derivatives dealers are required to post.

The European Commission will propose the adoption of an equivalence decision, which will need to be approved by the Member States of the European Union. That vote is expected on Feb. 24. The Commission expects that U.S. CCPs will be recognized by June 21, the date when the mandatory clearing obligation for interest rate swaps starts to take effect.[5]

The agreement is the culmination of three years of sometimes bitter talks over common standards for the global derivatives markets mandated by world leaders after the 2008 financial crisis.[6]

How the CFTC Is Organized

The Commission consists of five CFTC commissioners appointed by the President to serve staggered five-year terms. The President, with the consent of the Senate, designates one of the commissioners to serve as CFTC chairman. No more than three commissioners at any one time may be from the same political party.

The CFTC chairman's staff has direct responsibility for providing information about the Commission to the public and interacting with other governmental agencies and the Congress, and for the preparation and dissemination of Commission documents. The chairman's staff also ensures that the Commission is responsive to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act. The chairman's staff includes the Office of the Inspector General, which conducts audits of CFTC programs and operations, and the Office of International Affairs, which is the focal point for the Commission's global regulatory coordination efforts.

The chairman's staff is also responsible for liaison with the public, the Congress, and the media. The Office of External Affairs (OEA) is the Commission's liaison with the domestic and foreign news media, producer and market user groups, educational and academic groups and institutions, and the general public. OEA provides timely and relevant information about the Commission's regulatory mandate, the economic role of the futures markets, new market instruments, market regulation, enforcement actions, and customer protection initiatives, actions, and issues. OEA also provides assistance to members of the media and the general public accessing the CFTC's Internet Web site. The Commission serves in an advisory capacity to the Alliance for Investor Education.

The CFTC monitors markets and market participants closely by maintaining, in addition to its headquarters office in Washington, offices in cities that have futures exchanges — New York, Chicago, Kansas City, and Minneapolis.

CFTC Budget & Enforcement Results

CFTC Annual budget

  • 2018: $249 million
  • 2017: $250 million[7]
  • 2016: $250 million[8]
  • 2015: $250 million[9]
  • 2014: $215 million
  • 2013: $215 million[10]
  • 2012: $205.2 million[11]
  • 2011: $169 million[12]
  • 2010: $168.8 million[13]
  • 2009: $146 million[14]
  • 2008: $111 million

Total monetary sanctions for fiscal year

  • 2017: $413 million[15]
  • 2016: $1.29 billion[16]
  • 2015: $3.2 billion[17]
  • 2014: $3.27 billion[18]

Major Operating Units

Clearing and Risk (DCR) The functions of the Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight include oversight of derivatives clearing organizations, financial integrity of registrants, customer fund protection, stock-index margin, registration and fitness of intermediaries, sales practice reviews, National Futures Association activities related to intermediaries, and foreign market access by intermediaries.

Division of Market Oversight (DMO) The Division of Market Oversight has regulatory responsibility for initial recognition and continuing oversight of trade execution facilities, including new registered futures exchanges and derivatives transaction execution facilities. The regulatory functions of the Division include, among other things, market surveillance, trade practice reviews and investigations, rule enforcement reviews, review of product-related and market-related rule amendments, and associated product and market-related studies.

Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight (DSIO) The Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight oversees the registration and compliance of intermediaries and futures industry self-regulatory organizations (SRO's) including U.S. derivatives exchanges and the National Futures Association (NFA). Under Dodd-Frank, DSIO also will be responsible for developing and monitoring compliance with regulations addressing registration, capital adequacy and margin requirements for swap dealers and major swap participants.

Division of Enforcement (DOE) The Division of Enforcement investigates and prosecutes alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC regulations. Violations may involve commodity futures or option trading on domestic commodity exchanges, or the improper marketing of commodity investments. The Division may, at the direction of the Commission, file complaints before the agency's administrative law judges or in the U.S. District Courts. Alleged criminal violations of the Commodity Exchange Act or violations of other Federal laws which involve commodity futures trading may be referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. The Division also provides expert help and technical assistance with case development and trials to U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, other Federal and state regulators and international authorities.

Office of Chief Economist (OCE) The Office of the Chief Economist is an independent office with responsibility for providing expert economic advice to the Commission. Its functions include policy analysis, economic research, expert testimony, education and training.

Office of the General Counsel The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is the Commission's legal advisor. OGC staff represents the Commission in appellate litigation and certain trial-level cases, including bankruptcy proceedings which involve futures industry professionals. As the Commission’s legal advisor, OGC reviews all substantive regulatory, legislative, and administrative matters presented to it and advises the Commission on the application and interpretation of the Commodity Exchange Act and other administrative statutes. OGC also assists the Commission in performing its adjudicatory functions.

Office of the Executive Director The Office of the Executive Director (OED) formulates and implements the management and administrative policies and functions of the agency. OED staff formulate the agency's budget, supervise the allocation and use of agency resources, promote management controls and financial integrity, and develop and maintain the agency's automated information systems. The Office of Proceedings, which is under the administrative direction of OED, provides an inexpensive and expeditious forum for handling customer complaints against people or firms registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) through its reparations program. The Office of Proceedings also hears and decides enforcement cases brought by the Commission.


The CFTC regularly issues various weekly, monthly or annual reports,[19] including Commitments of Traders reports[20], Cotton On-Call[21], Bank Participation in the Futures and Options Markets[22], CUSIPS Delivered for CBOT Treasury Futures Contracts (maintained by Chicago Board of Trade)[23], Futures Industry Registrants by Location[24], and Financial Data of FCMs[25] and others.


See also CFTC Commissioners

Terms of Service - Current and Former Commissioners

Commissioner Term Available Dates of Service
William T. Bagley, (Chairman 04/15/75 – 11/15/78) 04/15/75 – 04/15/80 04/15/75 – 11/15/78
Read P. Dunn, Jr. 04/15/80 – 04/15/85 04/15/80 – 11/13/81*
Susan M. Phillips, (Acting Chairman 05/28/83 – 11/16/83), (Chairman 11/17/83 – 07/24/87) 04/15/80 – 04/15/85, 04/15/85 – 04/15/90 11/16/81 – 07/24/87
Wendy L. Gramm, (Chairman 02/22/88 – 01/22/93) 04/15/85 – 04/15/90, 04/15/90 – 04/15/95 02/22/88 – 01/22/93
Sheila C. Bair 04/15/90 – 04/15/95 10/05/94 – 06/16/95*
David D. Spears, (Acting Chairman 06/02/99 – 08/10/99) 04/15/95 – 04/15/00 09/03/96 – 12/20/01
Walter L. Lukken, (Acting Chairman 6/27/07- 01/20/09) 04/15/00 – 04/15/05, 04/15/05 – 04/15/10 08/07/02 – 07/10/09
Scott D. O’Malia 04/15/05 – 04/15/10, 04/15/10 – 04/15/15 10/19/09 - 08/08/14
Commissioner Term Available Dates of Service
Gary L. Seevers, (Acting Chairman 12/06/78 – 05/03/79) 04/15/75 – 04/15/79 04/15/75 – 06/01/79
Phillip McBride Johnson, (Chairman 06/08/81 – 05/01/83) 04/15/79 – 04/15/84 06/06/81 – 05/01/83
Robert R. Davis 04/15/84 – 04/15/89 10/03/84 – 04/30/90
Sheila C. Bair, (Acting Chairman 08/21/93 – 12/21/93) 04/15/89 – 04/15/94 05/02/91 – 10/04/94*
Mary L. Schapiro, (Chairman 10/13/94 – 01/26/96) 04/15/94 – 04/15/99 10/13/94 – 01/26/96
Brooksley E. Born, (Chairperson 08/26/96 – 06/01/99) 04/15/94 – 04/15/99 08/26/96 – 06/01/99
William J. Rainer, (Chairman 08/11/99 – 01/19/01) 04/15/99 – 04/13/04 08/11/99 – 01/19/01
Sharon Brown-Hruska, (Acting Chairman 08/24/04 – 07/10/05) 04/13/99 – 04/13/04, 04/13/04 – 04/13/09 08/07/02 – 07/28/06
Jill E. Sommers 04/13/04 – 04/13/09, 04/13/09 – 04/13/14 08/08/07 - 07/08/13
Commissioner Term Available Dates of Service
Read P. Dunn, Jr. 04/15/75 – 04/15/78 04/15/75 – 04/15/80*
James M. Stone, (Chairman 05/04/79 – 06/08/81) 04/15/78 – 04/15/83 05/04/79 – 01/31/83
William E. Seale 04/15/83 – 04/15/88 11/16/83 – 09/01/88
William P. Albrecht, (Acting Chairman 01/22/93 – 08/20/93) 04/15/88 – 04/15/93 11/22/88 – 08/20/93
John E. Tull, Jr., (Acting Chairman 01/27/96 – 08/25/96) 04/15/93 – 04/15/98 11/24/93 – 02/27/99
Thomas J. Erickson 04/15/98 – 04/13/03 06/21/99 – 12/01/02
Frederick W. Hatfield 04/13/03 – 04/13/08 12/06/04 – 12/31/06
Bart Chilton 04/13/03 – 04/13/08, 04/13/08 – 04/13/13 08/08/07 - 03/21/14
Commissioner Term Available Dates of Service
John V. Rainbolt, II 04/15/75 – 04/15/77 04/15/75 – 05/18/78
David G. Gartner 04/15/77 – 04/15/82 05/19/78 – 10/05/82
Fowler C. West 04/15/82 – 04/15/87, 04/15/87 – 04/15/92 10/06/82 – 01/20/93
Barbara P. Holum, (Acting Chairman 12/22/93 – 10/07/94) 04/15/92 – 04/13/97, 04/13/97 – 04/13/02, 04/13/02 – 04/13/07 11/28/93 – 12/09/03
Reuben Jeffery III, (Chairman 07/11/05 – 6/27/07) 04/13/02 – 04/13/07 07/11/05 – 06/27/07
Gary Gensler, (Chairman 05/26/09 - ) 04/13/07 – 04/13/12 05/26/09 - 01/3/14
Commissioner Term Available Dates of Service
Robert L. Martin 06/19/75 – 06/19/76, 06/19/76 – 06/19/81 06/20/75 – 08/31/81
Kalo A. Hineman, (Acting Chairman 07/27/87 – 02/22/88) 06/19/81 – 06/19/86, 06/19/86 – 06/19/91 01/12/82 – 06/19/91
Joseph B. Dial 06/19/91 – 06/19/96 06/20/91 – 11/13/97
James E. Newsome, (Acting Chairman 01/20/01 – 12/27/01), (Chairman 12/27/01 – 07/23/04) 06/19/96 – 06/19/01, 06/19/01 – 06/19/06 08/10/98 – 07/23/04
Michael V. Dunn, (Acting Chairman 01/20/09 – 05/26/09) 06/19/01 – 06/19/06, 06/19/06 – 06/19/11 12/06/04 – 10/24/11
Mark P. Wetjen 06/19/11 – 06/19/16 10/25/11

∗ Held two separate terms of office.


  1. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. CFTC.
  2. Washington Watch. Futures Industry Magazine.
  3. CFTC Launches Virtual Currency Resource Web Page. CFTC.
  4. Joint CFTC and European Commission Statement. Europa.
  5. FIA Welcomes US-EU accord on CCP equivalence. FIA.
  6. EU and US strike derivatives regulation deal. The Financial Times.
  7. Misconduct rife in derivatives - ex-CFTC enforcement chief. Reuters.
  8. SEC, CFTC Funding Unchanged in Congressional Spending Plan. BNA.
  9. SEC and CFTC Gain, IRS Loses in FY 2015 Budget Bill. McEldrew Young.
  10. Budget compromise eases swaps regulations on banks and increases CFTC Budget. Baker McKenzie.
  11. CFTC Gensler asks for 49% increase in budget. Futures.
  12. CFTC Budget Request Is Cut. Wall Street Journal.
  13. Democrats, GOP spar over SEC, CFTC budgets. Marketwatch.
  14. CFTC Addresses 2010 Budget. Hedge Fund Law Blog.
  15. CFTC Releases Annual Enforcement Results for Fiscal Year 2017. U.S. Commodity Futures Commission.
  16. CFTC Releases Annual Enforcement Results for Fiscal Year 2016. U.S. Commodity Futures Commission.
  17. CFTC Releases Annual Enforcement Results for Fiscal Year 2015. U.S. Commodity Futures Commission.
  18. CFTC Releases Annual Enforcement Results for Fiscal Year 2014. U.S. Commodity Futures Commission.
  19. Market Reports. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  20. Commitments of Traders. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  21. Cotton on Call. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  22. Bank Participation in the Futures and Options Markets. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  23. CUSIPS Delivered for CBOT Treasury Futures Contracts. Chicago Board of Trade.
  24. Futures Industry Registrants by Location. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
  25. Financial Data for Futures Commission Merchants. U.S. Commodity Futures Commission.