The Commodity Futures Trading Commission Rescinds a Common Family Office Exemption

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The recent implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) requirements has significantly changed the Commodity Exchange Act (the “CEA”). As a result of these changes, family offices that trade in commodities and derivatives should review their compliance with applicable law. During the first quarter of 2012, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) radically overhauled the definitions of Commodity Trading Adviser (“CTA”) and Commodity Pool Operator (“CPO”) and the available exemptions from registration as a CTA and/or CPO for family offices. Unlike the revisions to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “IAA”) made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), the CFTC has not provided any “Family Office Exemption.” As a result of the radical changes in rules and regulations of the CEA, family offices must reaffirm an exemption under the CEA with the National Futures Association (the “NFA”) or seek a no-action letter from the CFTC to ensure compliance. Although wealth industry professionals and family office groups have requested that the CFTC promulgate a new "Family Office Exemption", no such exemption has yet been provided.

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