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CFTC Organization, Programs and Functions

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The Commission consists of five Commissioners, one of which serves as Chairman. The President appoints and the Senate confirms the CFTC Commissioners to serve staggered five-year terms. No more than three sitting Commissioners may be from the same political party. With the advice and consent of the Senate, the President designates one of the Commissioners to serve as Chairman.

The Office of the Chairman oversees the Commission’s principal divisions and offices that administer and enforce the CEA and the regulations, policies, and guidance thereunder.

The Commission is organized largely along programmatic and functional lines. The three programmatic Divisions—the Division of Market Oversight (DMO), the Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight (DCIO), and the Division of Enforcement (DOE)—are partnered with and supported by a number of offices, including the Office of the General Counsel (OGC), the Office of the Chief Economist (OCE), the Office of International Affairs (OIA), and the Office of the Executive Director (OED).

Following are brief descriptions of the organizational programs within the CFTC. These descriptions reflect the current pre-Dodd-Frank Act structure. Aspects of this structure will change once the Commission fully understands and implements the oversight requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The Commission

The Office of the Chairman and the Commissioners provide executive direction and leadership to the Commission, particularly on policies that implement and enforce the CEA. The Offices of the Chairman include: Public Affairs, Legislative Affairs, the Inspector General, and Equal Employment Opportunity.

Division of Market Oversight

The DMO program fosters markets that accurately reflect the forces of supply and demand for the underlying commodities, and are free of disruptive activity. To achieve this goal, program staff oversee trade execution facilities and perform market and trade practice surveillance, review new and existing exchanges to ensure their compliance with the core principles, evaluate new products to ensure they are not susceptible to manipulation, and review exchange rules and actions to ensure compliance with the CEA and CFTC regulations.

Division of Clearing and Intermediary Oversight

The DCIO program oversees the compliance activities of DCOs, intermediaries, and the futures industry SROs, which include the U.S. derivatives exchanges and the NFA. Program staff develop regulations concerning registration, fitness, financial adequacy, sales practices, protection of customer funds, clearance and settlement activities, cross-border transactions, systemic risk and anti-money laundering programs, as well as policies for coordination with foreign market authorities and emergency procedures to address market-related events.

Division of Enforcement

The DOE program investigates and prosecutes alleged violations of the CEA and Commission regulations. Possible violations involve commodity derivatives trading on U.S. exchanges, or the improper marketing and sales of commodity derivatives products to the general public.

Office of the General Counsel

The OGC serves the Commission as its legal advisor representing the Commission in appellate litigation and certain trial-level cases, including bankruptcy proceedings involving futures industry professionals, and advises the Commission on the application and interpretation of the CEA and other administrative statutes.

Office of the Chief Economist

The OCE provides economic support and advice to the Commission, conducts research on policy issues facing the Commission, and provides education and training for Commission staff.

Office of International Affairs

The OIA advises the Commission regarding international regulatory initiatives; provides guidance regarding international issues raised in Commission matters; represents the Commission in international organizations, such as IOSCO; coordinates Commission policy as it relates to international initiatives of the G20, Financial Stability Board, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury; and provides technical assistance to foreign market authorities.

Office of the Executive Director

The Executive Director, by delegation of the Chairman, serves as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) directing the effective and efficient allocation and use of resources and developing the management and administrative policy and programs of the Commission. The OED includes Secretariat, Human Resources, Financial Management, Information and Technology Services, Management Operations, Proceedings (reparations), and the Library. The OED also ensures program performance is measured and improved effectively.

Many functions and activities occur across Divisions and Offices, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of CFTC staff.

Attorneys across the Commission’s Divisions and Offices represent the Commission in administrative and civil proceedings; assist U.S. Attorneys in criminal proceedings involving violations of the CEA; develop regulations and policies governing clearinghouses, exchanges, and intermediaries; and monitor compliance with applicable rules. In response to the globalization of the derivatives markets, attorneys represent the CFTC internationally in multilateral regulatory organizations and in bilateral initiatives with individual foreign regulators. Commission attorneys also participate in country dialogues organized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Much of the Commission’s legal work involves complex and novel issues.

Auditors, risk analysts, trade practice analysts, and attorneys examine records and operations of derivatives exchanges, clearinghouses, and intermediaries for compliance with the provisions of the CEA and the Commission’s regulations. Derivatives trading investigators and specialists perform regulatory and compliance oversight to detect potential fraud, market manipulations, and trade practice violations. Risk analysts also perform analyses, which include stress testing, to evaluate financial risks at the trader, firm, and clearinghouse levels.

Economists and analysts monitor trading activity and price relationships in derivatives markets to detect and deter price manipulation and other potential market disruptions. These analysts also monitor compliance with speculative position limits. Economists and analysts evaluate filings for new derivatives contracts and amendments to existing contracts to ensure that they meet the Commission’s statutory and regulatory standards. Economists also analyze the economic effect of various Commission and industry actions and events, evaluate policy issues, and advise the Commission accordingly.

The CFTC is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Regional offices are located in Chicago, Kansas City, and New York.

Additional information about the Commission and its history can be obtained from the Commission’s Office of Public Affairs or through its Web site,


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