The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced on February 9 the adoption of final rules that significantly curtail the ability of registered investment companies to claim relief under CFTC Rule 4.5 as well as the rescission of the exemption from commodity pool operator (CPO) registration contained in Rule 4.13(a)(4), which is relied on by a substantial portion of the hedge fund industry. The CFTC did not, as it had proposed, rescind the exemption from CPO registration under Rule 4.13(a)(3) for hedge funds that conduct a de minimis amount of trading in futures, commodity options, swaps, and other commodity interests.
The Final Rules will require full CPO registration by investment advisers operating registered investment companies and private funds that conduct more than a de minimis amount of speculative trading in futures, commodity options, and other commodity interests. Those investment advisers required to register as CPOs as a result of changes in Rule 4.5 must become registered by the later of December 31, 2012 or 60 days after the effective date of the final rulemaking by the CFTC defining the term “swap.” Once an investment adviser is registered as a CPO for a registered investment company, it will not be required to comply with the CFTC’s recordkeeping, reporting, and disclosure requirements until 60 days after the adoption of final rules implementing certain proposed exemptions from these requirements for registered investment companies. Investment advisers operating private funds that are currently relying on the Rule 4.13(a)(4) exemption will be required to register as CPOs by December 31, 2012, unless they are able to avail themselves of another exemption.
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