CFTC staff issues written guidance concerning the Commodity Exchange Act and the Commission's regulations, principally in the form of responses to requests for exemptive, no-action, and interpretative letters. Letters published prior to the current year are available in the CFTC Staff Letter Archive.
Persons requesting staff letters must follow the requirements set forth in CFTC Regulation 140.99.
CFTC Regulation 140.99 defines three types of staff letters–exemptive letters, no-action letters, and interpretative letters–that differ in terms of scope and effect. The public and practitioners are cautioned that it is the staff's denomination of a letter as exemptive, no-action, or interpretative that is controlling and how a publication service or other party labels a CFTC staff letter has no legal effect.
A no-action letter is a written statement by the staff of a Division of the Commission or its Office of the General Counsel that such staff will not recommend that the Commission commence enforcement action for failure to comply with a specific provision of the Act or Commission regulations. It binds only the staff of the Division that issued it or the Office of the General Counsel with respect to the specific fact situation and persons addressed by the letter, and third parties may not rely upon it.
An exemptive letter is a written grant by the staff of a Division of the Commission or its Office of the General Counsel, pursuant to delegated authority, of exemption from a specific provision of the Commodity Exchange Act (the "Act") or Commission regulations. It binds the Commission and its staff with respect to the specific fact situation and persons addressed by the letter; third parties may not rely upon it.
An interpretative letter is written advice or guidance by the staff of a Division of the Commission or its Office of the General Counsel. It binds only the staff of the Division that issued it or the Office of the General Counsel, and third-parties may rely upon it as the interpretation of that division staff.
A staff advisory is a public notice by a Division informing interested parties of existing legal obligations under the Act and Commission regulations, as well as, providing additional clarification on an issue that a Division deems appropriate to issue in order to further general understanding of the Act and Commission regulations. Staff advisories may be issued in the form of a "frequently asked questions" document.
Other Written Communication
Letters that don't fall into any of the preceding categories are considered "Other Written Communication." These letters can be found in the grouping of All Letters, or browsed by going to the Letters Archive.
Additional information on the applicability of definitions of exemptive, no-action, and interpretative letters is provided in CFTC Advisory 16-99.