Before You Trade

Understand the Basics

Before you trade in commodities or futures, educate yourself on the basics of trading.

Check Out Your Financial Provider

Verify your financial provider's registration status and disciplinary history before you invest. Revalidate their credentials at least annually.

  • Check to be sure your financial professionals are properly registered and in good standing.
  • Check the CFTC RED List (Registration Deficient). You should avoid the entities on this list. They have been identified as acting in a capacity that appears to require registration, but they are not appropriately registered.
  • Check registration status and disciplinary history at National Futures Association or call NFA at 800-676-4632
  • Check online for disciplinary history with the CFTC or call us at 866-366-2382
  • Contact your state’s securities commissioner
  • Contact your state Attorney General’s Office and state banking, insurance, and securities regulators (which often have their own websites)
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau
  • Contact the National Fraud Information Center
  • Find out if your firm and any parties involved with the trade are registered or regulated institutions or entities that are outside the CFTC's jurisdiction. Check the following websites (note that some institutions outside the CFTC's jurisdiction do not appear on any of these lists or in any other readily-available places):

Ask Questions

Before you invest, ask your financial provider the following questions. Legitimate firms will not have any trouble providing you this information.

  • How are you qualified to provide me this service?
  • How does this product meet my financial needs?
  • How are you paid for your service?
  • What fees and commissions do you charge?
  • What state and federal agencies are you regulated by and are you registered? Be sure to verify their response.