New CFTC Rule Extends Bad Actor Bar to Exempt CPOs

A hedge fund that trades in commodity options and futures contracts may be required to register with the CFTC as a commodity pool operator (CPO) – unless it can rely on an exemption. For example, a hedge fund manager that conducts a de minimis amount of trading in commodity interests may rely on an exemption from registration under Rule 4.13(a)(3). The CFTC, however, recently approved a new requirement that may bar some managers from relying on those exemptions. Specifically, the CFTC published a new rule (New Rule) that recently took effect and that generally prohibits persons who have, or whose principals have, in their backgrounds any of the statutory disqualifications listed in Section 8a(2) of the Commodity Exchange Act from claiming a CPO registration exemption under Rule 4.13. The Hedge Fund Law Report spoke to David Slovick, partner at Barnes & Thornburg and former Senior Attorney at the CFTC and SEC, about the requirement of the New Rule, what CPOs need to do to comply with it and the implications for hedge fund managers that are also CPOs. For additional insights from Slovick, see “Supreme Court Scales Back SEC’s Disgorgement Remedy in Liu v. SEC” (Jul. 16, 2020).

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