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Introduction to the Performance Section

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Photo showing the General Counsel heading a staff meeting.

This section details the Commission’s efforts to meet its strategic and performance goals. The Commission scrutinizes performance measures to ensure that the metrics adequately challenge the programs to reach the desired results and ensure accountability.

Success for CFTC:

Public has confidence in futures markets and markets are open, competitive, and financially healthy.

The Mission: Why we do what we do

Diagram illustrating how the CFTC four goals help to protect the commodity futures markets from excessive speculation, fraud, manipulation, and market disruption.

Most Americans have a direct stake in the trillion dollar futures market through personal investments in securities, mutual funds, or pension funds tied to these markets. All Americans have an indirect stake, since these markets are critical to establishing prices from Wall Street to Main Street.

As the only entity with regulatory oversight across all U.S. commodity futures and option markets, the CFTC is committed to its mission of protecting the integrity of the futures markets.

The Strategy: How we measure what we accomplish

The mission of the CFTC is accomplished through four strategic goals, each focusing on a vital area of regulatory responsibility to: 1) ensure the economic vitality of the commodity futures and option markets; 2) protect market users and the public; 3) ensure market integrity in order to foster open, competitive, and financially sound markets; and 4) facilitate Commission performance through organizational and management excellence, efficient use of resources, and effective mission support.

Under each of these strategic goals, the Commission has identified several desirable outcome objectives. To more accurately assess progress towards these outcome objectives, the Commission sets performance targets for various measures under each desired outcome objective.

Commission staff members perform key business processes and strategies that provide the means for producing the desired outcomes and achieving the Commission’s mission. The following diagram defines specific concepts of the Commission’s strategic planning process:

CFTC Strategic Planning Process
Strategic Goals The Commission’s long-term desired results; each focuses on a vital area of regulatory responsibility. In 2008, the Commission adopted a fourth goal assessing and measuring organizational and management excellence.
Annual Performance Goals The Commission’s short-term level of performance expected of the CFTC programs to accomplish the strategic goals.
Outcome Objectives The intended effect or outcome that results from the CFTC program’s activities and strategies.
Business Processes1 A collection of activities and strategies that the CFTC staff perform to produce the desired outcomes and achieve the strategic goals.
Performance Measures Key indicators, statistics and metrics that the CFTC uses to measure its effectiveness as an oversight regulator.
1Business processes are detailed in the CFTC’s 2007-2012 Strategic Plan available on the Internet at http://www.cftc.gov/reports/strategicplan/2012. (back to text)

Annually, the agency analyzes the performance metrics to determine the measure of success the programs’ activities have achieved in accomplishing the Commission’s overall strategic mission.

Due to the broad economic functions that the Commission oversees, it is not easy to identify detailed objectives and performance metrics that will be accomplished each year. While some measures do reflect specific performance (e.g., the number of days to process a reparations complaint), other measures identify conditions that, if present, are indicators that the Commission’s activities are contributing successfully to the health of the industry it regulates (e.g., the increase in the number of products traded). The metrics that measure the health and dynamics of the markets determine the Commission’s actions or decision-making.

In addition, external influences affect many performance measures so metrics alone cannot fully disclose as to the success of the performance result. The Commission, therefore, further analyzes the progress of each performance metric using a rating tool to help program managers evaluate performance results more effectively.

The analytical tool provides program managers with the ability to apply adjectival ratings to the performance measures, as defined below, and identified in the subsequent performance details:

Summary Outline of Adjectival Ratings
Effective Significantly exceeds the standards of performance and achieves noteworthy results.
Moderately Effective Exceeds the standards of performance; although there may be room for improvement in some elements, better performance in all other elements more than offsets this.
Adequate Meets the standard of performance; deficiencies do not substantially affect performance.
Marginal Below the standard of performance; deficiencies require attention and corrective action.
Unsatisfactory Significantly below the standard of performance; deficiencies are serious, may affect overall results, urgently require senior management attention, and prompt corrective action.
Results Not Demonstrated Data is not available to evaluate the performance