About the CFTC

About the CFTC

CFTC Mission

The mission of the CFTC is to protect market users and the public from fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices related to the sale of commodity futures and options and to foster open, competitive, and financially sound commodity futures and option markets.

Background

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was created by Congress in 1974 as an independent agency with the mandate to regulate commodity futures and option markets in the United States.  The agency's mandate was renewed and expanded by legislation enacted in 1978, 1982, and 1986, and 1992.  The CFTC Reauthorization Act of 1995 reauthorized the Commission through FY 2000.  The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA), signed by President Clinton in December 2000, repealed the ban on single-stock futures and implemented a regulatory framework for them based upon the agreement between the CFTC and SEC described in the preceding paragraph; enacted the principal provisions of the Commission's new regulatory framework; brought legal certainty to bilateral and multilateral trading in OTC financial markets; confirmed the CFTC's jurisdiction over certain aspects of the retail market in foreign exchange trading; and gave the CFTC authority to regulate clearing organizations. The CFMA also reauthorized the Commission for five years.

Today, the CFTC is responsible for ensuring the economic utility of futures markets by encouraging their competitiveness and efficiency, ensuring their integrity, and protecting market participants against manipulation, abusive trade practices, and fraud.  Through effective oversight regulation, the CFTC enables the commodity futures markets to serve better their important function in the nation’s economy of providing a mechanism for price discovery and a means of offsetting price risk.

Futures contracts for agricultural commodities have been traded in the U.S. for more than 150 years and have been under Federal regulation since the 1920's.  In recent years, futures trading has expanded rapidly into many new markets, beyond the domain of traditional physical and agricultural commodities.  Futures and option contracts are now offered on a vast array of financial instruments, including foreign currencies, U.S. and foreign government securities and U.S. and foreign stock indices.  During FY 2000, 580,414,437 futures and option contracts were traded on U.S. futures exchanges.

Commission Goals and Objectives

The mission of the CFTC is accomplished through three strategic goals, each focusing on a vital area of regulatory responsibility.  The CFTC’s goals are (1) to protect the economic functions of the commodity futures and option markets; (2) to protect market users and the public; and (3) to foster open, competitive, and financially sound markets.

The focus of goal one is the marketplace.  If the United States commodity futures markets are protected from and are free of abusive practices and influences, they will better operate to fulfill their vital role in the U.S. market economy and the global economy, accurately reflecting the forces of supply and demand and serving market users by fulfilling an economic need.

The focus of the second goal is protection of the firms and individuals (market users) that come to the marketplace to fulfill their business and trading needs.  Market users must be protected from possible wrongdoing on the part of the firms and commodity professionals with whom they deal to access the marketplace, and they must be assured that the marketplace is free of fraud, manipulation, and abusive trading practices.

The third goal focuses on several important outcomes: effective industry self-regulation; firms and financial intermediaries with sound business, financial, and sales practices; and responsive and flexible regulatory oversight.

Organization

Based in Washington, D.C., the CFTC maintains regional offices in Chicago and New York and has smaller offices in Kansas City, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.  The Commission consists of five Commissioners who are appointed by the President to serve staggered five-year terms.  One of the Commissioners is designated by the President, with the consent of the Senate, to serve as Chairman. No more than three commissioners at any one time may be from the same political party.  Additional information about the Commission and its activities can be obtained from the Commission's Office of Public Affairs or through the CFTC's website, www.cftc.gov.

Commission Members

Current and previous Commission members and their terms of office appear below:

William J. Rainer (Chairman)

1999-

William E. Seale

1983-1988

Thomas J. Erickson

1999-

Fowler C. West

1982-1993

James E. Newsome

1998-

Kalo A. Hineman

1982-1991

David D. Spears

1996-

Susan M. Phillips (Chairman)

1981-1987

Barbara P. Holum

1993-

Philip McBride Johnson (Chairman)

1981-1983

Brooksley Born (Chairperson)

1996-1999

James M. Stone (Chairman)

1979-1983

Mary L. Schapiro (Chairman)

1994-1996

David G. Gartner

1978-1982

John E. Tull, Jr.

1993-1999

Robert L. Martin

1975-1981

Joseph B. Dial

1991-1997

John V. Rainbolt (Vice Chairman)

1975-1978

Sheila C. Bair

1991-1995

Read P. Dunn, Jr.

1975-1980

William P. Albrecht

1988-1993

Gary L. Seevers

1975-1979

Wendy L. Gramm (Chairman)

1988-1993

William T. Bagley (Chairman)

1975-1978

Robert R. Davis

1984-1990