Do You Need to Be a Registered Commodity Pool Operator Now and What Does It Mean If You Do?  (Part One of Two)

In light of recent CFTC rule amendments repealing the exemption from CPO registration most commonly relied upon by managers of private funds (Rule 4.13(a)(4)), now, more than ever before, it is critical for managers who operate or control private funds to understand: (1) if they must become a registered CPO; and (2) what it means for the operation of their firms and their funds if they do.  See “CFTC Adopts Final Rules That Are Likely to Require Many Hedge Fund Managers to Register as Commodity Pool Operators,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 5, No. 7 (Feb. 16, 2012).  In this article – the first of a two-part series – Stephen A. McShea, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Larch Lane Advisors LLC, provides an overview of the current regulatory landscape of Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulation of commodity pool operators (CPOs).  Specifically, McShea discusses: the regulatory framework governing commodity pools and CPOs, and the remaining exemption from CPO registration for managers who operate or control a private fund; the compliance obligations of a registered CPO; and the enforcement mechanisms and penalties for non-compliance.  This article also provides a quick-reference compliance checklist for registered CPOs.  Part two of this series will discuss exemptions available to the funds (i.e., commodity pools) operated by registered CPOs that provide relief from some of the disclosure and periodic reporting obligations to which the funds would otherwise be subject.  For additional insight from McShea, see “What Do Hedge Fund Managers Need to Know to Prepare For, Handle and Survive SEC Examinations?  (Part Two of Three),” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 5 (Feb. 10, 2011).

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