The mission of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is to protect market participants and the public from fraud, manipulation, abusive practices and systemic risk related to derivatives – both futures and swaps – and to foster transparent, open, competitive and financially sound markets.
In carrying out this mission and to promote market integrity, the Commission polices the derivatives markets for various abuses and works to ensure the protection of customer funds. Further, the agency seeks to lower the risk of the futures and swaps markets to the economy and the public.
To fulfill these roles, the Commission oversees designated contract markets, swap execution facilities, derivatives clearing organizations, swap data repositories, swap dealers, futures commission merchants, commodity pool operators and other intermediaries.
The CFTC’s predecessors in the Department of Agriculture date back to the 1920s, but the Commission was formally created as an independent agency in 1974. The Commission historically has been charged by the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) with regulatory authority over the commodity futures markets. These markets have existed since the 1860s, beginning with agricultural commodities, such as wheat, corn and cotton.
Over time, the markets regulated by the Commission have grown to include contracts on energy and metals commodities, such as crude oil, heating oil, gasoline, copper, gold and silver, and contracts on financial products, such as interest rates, stock indexes and foreign currency.
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis – caused in part by the unregulated swaps market – President Obama and Congress charged the CFTC with reforming this market. The agency now also has regulatory oversight of the over $400 trillion swaps market, which is about a dozen times the size of the futures market.
The futures and swaps markets are essential to our economy and the way that businesses and investors manage risk. Farmers, ranchers, producers, commercial companies, municipalities, pension funds and others use these markets to lock in a price or a rate and focus on what they do best – innovating, producing goods and services for the economy, and creating jobs. The CFTC works to ensure these hedgers and other market participants can use these markets with confidence.
Commodity Exchange Act
For convenience, we provide the following links to the CEA and related documents:
- Access the Commodity Exchange Act on the Cornell University Law School Website
- Commodity Exchange Act-U.S. Code Conversion Chart
The CEA section numbers do not always correspond directly to the sections in the U.S. Code where the CEA is codified. As a research tool, we provide a conversion chart that lists the sections of the CEA and the corresponding sections in the U.S. Code. Section 3 of the CEA, for example, is codified at 7 USC 5. This chart has no legal force and is not intended to substitute for review of the statutes to which it refers.
- Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (PDF)
(Appendix E of P.L.106-554, 114 Stat. 2763) Title XIII of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, PL 110-246, 122 Stat. 2189, which made amendments to the CEA, and the Conference Report
- CFTC regulations are found at Title 17 Chapter I of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and are available at the U.S. GPO Access website.
- Prior to promulgation and inclusion in the CFR, CFTC proposed and final regulations are published in the Federal Register.
- CFTC Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions - Semiannual Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions from Reginfo.gov
- Select "Commodity Futures Trading Commission" in the “Select Agency” box and click “Submit.”
- For background on the Unified Agenda, click on the “About the Unified Agenda” link located above the “Select Agency” box.