Investing > Guide to Forex Regulations in the US

Guide to Forex Regulations in the US

If you want to differ between a scammer and a real forex broker, check if they respect forex trading regulations. Let's see how the U.S. regulates forex trading.

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Updated January 12, 2024

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If ever there was a Wild West equivalent for the global trade market (or the Final Frontier if you happen to be a Star Trek fan), it would have to be forex.

Forex is ancient—as in, so ancient it has almost always been. The first forex trades were made back when B.C. was the order of the day and the invention of “coins” revolutionized the currency exchange marketplace. The first forex traders were money changers who worked the temples, feast days and bartering stalls, pocketing commissions as they went along.

They weren’t necessarily popular but they were always in demand. As it turns out, not much has changed. To this day, forex is widely viewed as out there (read: fringe). Forex is intensely speculative. Forex is perhaps the one place in the civilized stratosphere where decentralization is almost never considered a dirty word.

And—at risk of overstating the wildly obvious—forex trading is not for the risk-averse. It is largely perceived as perhaps the most fluid, liquid, speculative and speedy trading arena in the world today—a marketplace recently dubbed a “boundaryless space.”

Should you get involved? Are you already involved and wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into? Are you trying to get un-involved? Have you had some preliminary success and are seeking to benchmark off these early gains to find forex trading best practices going forward?

Regardless of the reason why you landed here if you are a United States citizen and you are now actively trading on the forex marketplace or plan to do so in the future, there is one foreign currency exchange lesson you cannot afford to skip over, and that is Forex Regulations in the U.S.

What you’ll learn
  • Two United States Forex Regulatory Agencies
  • U.S. Regulations and Forex Brokerage Accounts
  • NFA Regulates Forex Trading
  • U.S. Regulated Forex Brokers
  • Strict Forex Regulations
  • Key Provisions of U.S. Regulations
  • Your CFTC/NFA Forex Vocabulary
  • CFTC Risk Disclosures and Standards
  • The CFTC and NFA Are On Your Side
  • Get Started with a Forex Broker

Meet the Two United States Forex Regulatory Agencies 🇺🇸

If you have been interested in forex trading for longer than five minutes, you have probably run across an article or few focusing on forex broker scam activities. It just goes with the territory when you have an enormous financial marketplace that remains largely unregulated.

Depending on how confident and successful you have been in your forex activities to date, you may be more or less thrilled to learn that the United States is one of the countries that at least attempts to regulate the forex trading marketplace.

In the United States, two main agencies have been tasked with the challenging job of regulating forex trading.

These two agencies are the Commodities Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA).

Let’s take a closer look at each agency, its mission, goals and activities.

Commodities Futures Trade Commission (CFTC) 📑

The CFTC has been jokingly referred to as “Big Brother” by some forex traders.

It’s not very flattering, but if the shoe fits…

The agency first opened its doors in 1974. The CFTC’s over-arching mission and objective is to regulate the futures and commodities marketplace. Forex falls under the umbrella of futures and commodities and thus gets wrapped in.

CFTC logo
Since 1975, CFTC has aimed to regulate the futures and commodities marketplace.

Here are the highlights of who, what, when, where and how the CFTC gets involved in forex trading.

Who: The President of the United States appoints five commissioners who oversee four all of the agency’s activities.

What: The CFTC.

When: All the time online and during normal business hours otherwise.

Where: The CFTC operates four offices in Washington D.C., Chicago, New York and Kansas City—all places where futures exchanges are also located. They also have a website.

How: Every Tuesday, the CFTC publishes a report called the Commitment of Traders Report, or COTR, which details movements of major forex, futures and commodities traders—this report is designed to help everyone else consider their trading activities in light of what the major players are doing. The CFTC also takes complaints and reports of suspicious doings online, by phone and through their brick-and-mortar offices.

Protecting Traders 🛡️

The CTFC may not be the most popular attendees at the local fintech happy hours, but they really are in place to protect traders from the unscrupulous amongst us.

To do this, they require basically everyone who trades on behalf of others (aka “intermediaries”) to register with their database. Then they collect tips and complaints from anyone who wants to submit these. They also impose additional requirements on certain entities based on what kind of trading they do and how they operate.

One of the most helpful things they do is evaluate whether a forex operator is legit or not. To do this, they work closely with the National Futures Association.

The CTFC database includes all of the following entities involved in the forex, futures and commodities trading marketplaces:

  • ☑️ Associated persons (APs)
  • ☑️ Commodities trading advisors (CTAs)
  • ☑️ Commodities pool operators (CPOs)
  • ☑️ Floor traders (FTs)
  • ☑️ Floor brokers (FBs)
  • ☑️ Principals
  • ☑️ Introducing brokers (IBs)
  • ☑️ Swap dealers (SDs)
  • ☑️ Retail foreign exchange dealers (RFEDs)

This is really handy information if you are considering whether to engage in forex trading with a particular entity or company.

Finding Legitimate Brokerages 👮

The CFTC stipulates that even those entities who are exempt from the requirement to register should appear somewhere in the combined database: either with the CFTC or with the NFA. Those entities that are exempt should appear in the NFA database with an explanation of the nature of the exemption.

If you ever run across an entity that is not listed in either database, the next step is always to ask them why they are not listed. This is a red flag!

However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not legitimate. It may be that they are listed somewhere else. But how (if) they respond and what kind of information you receive in response to your query will tell you a lot about whether they deserve your business and your trust… or not.

Another very helpful thing the CFTC offers is a running list of warning signs for current major known scams and schemes. For example, the CFTC is currently warning traders to especially watch out for these four types of warning signs:

  • ☑️ Limited time offers
  • ☑️ “Easy money” claims or promises
  • ☑️ Complicated, complex or obscure products, services or strategies
  • ☑️ “Extraordinary” expert claims (in a word, verify, verify, verify)

Legitimate Currency ⚖️

The CFTC website can also help you check the legitimacy or otherwise of digital (online, virtual) currencies marketplaces and exchanges.

Virtual currency marketplaces are not currently required to register with the CFTC. However, these operators are required by the U.S. Treasury Department to register as MSBs (money service businesses) with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Many are also required to register with each individual state in which they operate.

There are two online databases you can use to check the registration status of a virtual entity. These databases are not managed through the CFTC—they are independently managed.

  1. MSB Registration Search (federal listing)
  2. Nationwide Multi-state Licensing System (state listing)

There is one additional place where you can check the status of a brick-and-mortar or virtual entity before you decide to do business with them. This is the RED List, otherwise known as the Registration Deficient List.

The RED List listings are largely compiled via consumer tips, which lead to CFTC reviews, which then lead to RED listings. Each listing includes only the name of the entity and the date the review was completed.

Now let’s take a closer look at the CFTC’s partner in (stopping) crime, the National Futures Association.

National Futures Association (NFA) 📜

The National Futures Association came along eight years after the CFTC was founded. This organization is not a top-down federally commissioned organization like the CFTC (although it is overseen by the CFTC).

But there is one important difference: the NFA is self-funded through membership dues. This makes the NFA largely self-sustaining. Membership in the NFA is considered a big white mark of legitimacy in a field literally loaded with frauds and scams.

Before an entity can become a member of the NFA, they have to first go through a screening process and verify that they will comply with NFA rules, regulations and standards.

One really neat thing about the NFA—for you, the trader, and not for the fraudsters they are trying to catch—is that, since 2004, the NFA has worked with the FBI to screen potential members using digital fingerprint images. This helps with faster new member on-boarding and also provides an extra incentive for applicants to not be criminals.

National Futures Association
NFA is an industry-wide, self-regulatory organization for the U.S. derivatives market.

There are two major categories of registrants that the NFA requires: individuals and firms.

The NFA prohibits members from doing business with most non-members. It also arbitrates disputes between investors and entities (individuals or firms).

The NFA also serves investors by providing online educational tools and resource guides, a quarterly investor newsletter, webinars and, of course, a complaint form (online).

About U.S. Regulations and Forex Brokerage Accounts 👥

Foreign currency marketplaces are considered “over-the-counter” marketplaces. What is the opposite of an over the counter or OTC marketplace? It is a formal exchange, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). There are currently 12 such formal or centralized exchanges in the United States. But none of these exchanges offer forex trading.

To trade in forex, you need to take a different route and work through a broker-dealer. There are currently more than 3,700 such broker-dealers registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

There are likely many more who are not registered through FINRA or anywhere else, which is just the way they would like to keep it (and most of them end up receiving prison sentences).

The biggest broker-dealers operating in the United States are nearly household names: Fidelity, Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab and the like.

There are two main types of broker-dealers: wirehouses and independents. The former sells products of its own to investors. The latter sells outside products to investors.

Of course, brokers are involved on both the buying and the selling end. As “dealers,” they transact on behalf of themselves or the entity they have chosen to affiliate with. As “brokers,” they support investors who wish to buy or sell securities they represent (in-house or outside).

Why would forex trade on the over the counter market versus on the main centralized exchanges? Reasons range from money (it can be incredibly expensive just to pay the listing fee for the big exchanges) to qualifications (stringent in many cases) to a full-on desire to fly under the radar.

Marketplace Requirements 📋

But here, it is important to know that many of the over the counter marketplaces also have requirements. This makes it a smart move to restrict yourself to involvement with those that are well known and verified versus the obvious alternative.

Here are the three best-known over-the-counter networks you have likely at least heard of:

  • ☑️ Pink Sheets
  • ☑️ Over the Counter Bulletin Board (a.k.a. OTCBB)
  • ☑️ OTC Networks: runs the Pink Open Market, Venture Market and Best Market

The majority of known fraud, scams and price manipulation is found via the Pink Sheets, since the entities participating in these networks are not willing or able to adhere to the regulation set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

However, this does not apply to the forex market since the SEC doesn’t consider pairs of currencies (the defining characteristic of a forex transaction) to be “securities.”

Even so, it goes without saying you should exercise extreme caution when using any of these over the counter networks, but especially when transacting forex trades via the Pink Sheets marketplaces.

How the National Futures Association Regulates Forex Trading 📖

The National Futures Association (NFA) is tasked with the enormous task of regulating forex trading in the United States. As you might imagine, they have a very difficult job.

The NFA’s basic responsibilities are as follows:

  • ☑️ Fight fraud, deceptive trade practices and scams.
  • ☑️ Enforce their own policies, rules and regulations.
  • ☑️ Vet applicants for membership
  • ☑️ Issue forex trade licenses to eligible new members.
  • ☑️ Ensure required data is submitted in accordance with NFA’s reporting and record-keeping rules.

The BASIC Database 📊

To make its job ever so slightly easier, the NFA maintains yet another database called BASIC (this acronym stands for Background Status Affiliation Information Center).

Screenshot of NFA website with BASIC page selected.
NFA BASIC stores data on all the individuals and entities who applied for the NFA membership.

The BASIC database contains the results of the NFA’s due diligence in regards to individuals and entities (pools) that have applied for membership. When you visit BASIC, you can learn whether an individual or pool has been screened and verified for regulatory compliance.

The Commodity Exchange Act of 1936 📈

Every action the NFA undertakes to carry out its responsibilities is ultimately governed by a little document called the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA). First passed all the way back in 1936, the CEA gets periodic updates as changing market trends may dictate.

The Frank-Dodd Act of 2010 📉

Similarly, the 2010 Frank-Dodd Act governs how forex trading can be carried out in the United States. The Frank-Dodd Act was passed in response to the economic meltdown of 2008.

If you have been interested and/or involved in forex for some time, or at least since before 2010, you may have noticed what appeared to be a mass exodus of forex entities from the U.S. marketplace. You can thank the Frank-Dodd Act for that.

There are fewer forex entities active in the United States than in almost any other part of the world for this same reason. In fact, only seven main U.S. regulated forex brokers are still active in the United States as of time of publication.

Meet the U.S. Regulated Forex Brokers—All Seven of Them 💰

These seven U.S.-regulated forex brokers share the singular (and quite rare) honor of having survived Frank-Dodd’s passage. They are listed in purely alphabetical order.

  1. Ally Invest
  2. ATC Brokers
  4. Interactive Brokers
  5. Oanda
  6. TD Ameritrade
  7. thinkorswim (by TD Ameritrade)

⚔️ Safety Note: As a reminder, you can visit NFA’s BASIC database at any time to verify that these or other forex brokers are legitimately licensed to do business in the United States.

Why are there so few authorized forex brokers available to U.S. investors? Read on to find out.

Why Are the United States Forex Regulations so Strict? 💰

Clearly, it takes experiencing a total financial meltdown to take the magnifying glass to outside forex brokers wanting to do business within U.S. borders.

Today, forex brokers who participate in U.S. markets must adhere to the strictest standards in the world.

Here is an example:

In most other places in the world, forex traders have access to available leverage of up to 1000:1.

In the U.S., however, forex regulations stipulate that traders’ available leverage is cut off at 50:1.

What does this mean?

To fully understand the impact, especially if you are new to forex trading, it might help to revert to basics just for a moment.

A margin account is necessary to apply for leverage. A margin account is a type of brokerage account an investor uses to borrow funds from the brokerage. You can think of a margin account like a loan for trading forex.

50:1 Leverage ✅

A 50:1 leverage maximum means that the investor (you) is required to have at least 0.02 percent, or 1/50th, of the total amount to be borrowed (traded on the forex market) in their margin account.

Let’s say you want to make $200 in forex trades. You live in the U.S. and are a U.S. citizen (obviously), so any brokerage you trade with is required to provide you with no more than a 50/1 leverage.

This means that for every $200 of forex trades you place, you must have at least $4 in your margin account.

It’s still not a lot, right? But now let’s look at what happens when much greater leverage is permitted.

1000:1 Leverage ✅

A 1000:1 leverage maximum means that the investor (you) is required to have at least 0.001 percent, or 1/1000th, of the total amount to be traded in their margin account.

Once again, let’s say you want to place $200 in forex trades. You live somewhere else and are not a U.S. citizen. So you have access to up to 1000:1 leverage.

This means that for every $200 of forex trades you place, you must have at least $1 in your margin account.

You are probably getting a really good picture of the kind of risk an investor takes on when permitted to take on more debt to trade the forex market.

Should the U.S. be permitted to tell an investor how much risk they can or cannot take on? As you might imagine, this is a topic of intense debate that will likely never resolve. But even so, this is the current state of forex trading rules and regulations in the United States at the moment.

U.S. Currency is Traded around the Clock ⏰

Worldwide, a reported $6.6 trillion in currency gets traded daily. This gives the global forex marketplace the unique distinction of being both the most liquid and the largest single marketplace on Earth.

Liquidity, in turn, represents speed. The more liquid an asset is, the faster it can be traded without risk of losing intrinsic value.

The prize for the “most liquid asset” always goes to cash. This quite naturally makes forex—trading in pairs of currencies—a runner up in the same category.

Liquidity Measurements 🌊

There are two important measurements of liquidity: the liquidity of the asset itself and the liquidity of the marketplace within which that asset gets traded. Not only is forex itself (the asset) incredibly liquid, but the forex marketplace is also incredibly liquid.

Liquidity Measurements
When you’re trading major currency pairs, you’re trading a market that is extremely liquid.

If you have ever traded on the major stock exchanges (such as the NYSE mentioned earlier here) you probably remember that there are market “open” hours and market “closed” hours. While it is now possible to receive quotes and even place trade orders after hours (when the market is closed), it is still not possible to actually execute trades until the market re-opens again. There are no such restrictions with the forex marketplace, per se.

This is because there is always a marketplace open somewhere, thanks to differences in time zones and the ensuing overlap. Therefore, forex trades go on 24/7, nights, weekends, holidays, anytime. This makes the forex marketplace the most liquid (or fluid) marketplace in the world.

As well, the demand for currency internationally is ceaseless. With the doing away of the gold standard in 1971, the perpetual nature of international currency float drives the forex marketplace ever forward.

Most Traded Currency 💱

And guess which currency shows up in a reported 88 percent of all forex trades?

If you guessed “the U.S. dollar,” you now understand exactly why the global ripple effect from the U.S. move to restrict forex currency trading is still being felt—and resented—today.

To date, just 17 percent of forex trades originate from the United States, which is essentially an inverse proportion to the United States dollar’s importance and impact in the forex marketplace itself.

If you are curious, the most traded forex currency pairs are as follows—complete with current nicknames:

  • ☑️ USD/JPY (U.S. dollar / Japanese yen) or “ninja.”
  • ☑️ USD/GBP (U.S. dollar / United Kingdom pound) or “cable.”
  • ☑️ USD/CHF (U.S. dollar / Swiss franc) or “dollar swissy.”
  • ☑️ USD/CAD (U.S. dollar / Canadian dollar) or dollar loonie.”
  • ☑️ AUD/USD (Australian dollar / U.S. dollar) or “aussie dollar.”
  • ☑️ NZD/USD (New Zealand dollar / U.S. dollar) or “kiwi dollar.”
  • ☑️ EUR/USD (Euro / U.S. dollar) or “fibre.”

Key Provisions of U.S. Regulations 💳

Now let’s take a much closer look at the United States forex trading regulations as are currently outlined by the CFTC and the NFA.

To refresh, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, is a federal commission appointed by the President of the United States that has oversight and jurisdiction for all off-exchange, aka forex and futures and commodities, conducted in the United States.

The CFTC, in turn, works with the National Futures Association, or NFA, to regulate, register and review off-exchange trader partners (individuals and firms) and trading activities.

The CFTC/NFA oversight extends to both USD pairs and some leveraged foreign currency forex pairs that are offered to U.S. investors.

This is a big, big job, but it is one the CFTC and its partner the NFA tackle admirably, as you are about to see.

Your CFTC/NFA Forex Vocabulary 📚

The first thing to know about how U.S. forex regulations work is who and what is what. Be prepared for lots of acronyms in this section!

Customer (Investor)

Participant in forex trading who has combined assets of less than $10 million and is not an eligible contract participant (ECP). A customer/investor can be an individual or an entity, such as a small business.

Eligible Contract Participant (ECP)

ECPs are larger entities with assets of more than $10 million who are legally permitted to participate in forex trades that are not open to customers/investors. The most common ECPs are corporations, brokerages, trusts or even high-value individual investors.

Forex Transaction

A leveraged transaction that is made off-exchange on behalf of a customer/investor.


An authorized entity that engages in a forex transaction with a customer/investor. The most common authorized counterparties are U.S. financial institutions and banks, financial holding companies, futures commission merchants (FCMs) and real foreign exchange dealers (RFEDs).

Associated Persons (AP)

An authorized representative of a member forex firm or entity.

Introducing Entities/Brokers (IB)

Customer/investor representative who delegates the work of trade executions to others.

Account Managers/Commodity Trading Advisors (CTA)

Individual or entity who provides financial advice in exchange for compensation.

Commodity Pool Operators (CPO)

Individual or entity who manages pooled funds traded on the forex or futures market.

Who Has to Comply with U.S. Forex Trading Rules? 📓

The rules and regulations set out by the CFTC and the NFA apply to counterparties and are designed to provide protection to customers/investors.

In addition, individuals or entities that take part in forex transactions and yet are not counterparties have to abide by even more stringent rules and regulations under certain sets of circumstances.

For example, these individuals and entities are further required to provide customers/investors with disclosure documents prepared according to CFTC standards and submitted to CFTC in advance.

Any non-counterpart engaging in forex trading in the United States in the following ways must also abide by CFTC supervision, ethics and anti-fraud requirements:

  • ☑️ Soliciting U.S. customers/investors
  • ☑️ Introducing U.S. customers/investors to potential counterparties
  • ☑️ Providing account management services to U.S. customers/investors

For trading pools or programs that offer participation in forex must also provide the CFTC with the following documents to customers/investors as noted:

  • ☑️ Periodic account statements on a monthly or quarterly basis
  • ☑️ Annual reports
  • ☑️ Additional disclosures as directed by the CFTC

CFTC Risk Disclosures and Standards ⚡

The CFTC has developed its own in-house set of risk disclosures that it requires members to supply to potential customers/investors. The level of disclosure required varies based on the membership classifications (publicly available information on this is what you just read about previously here).

CFTC Risk Disclosures and Standards
Risk per trade should always be a small percentage of your total capital. A good starting percentage could be 2% of your available trading capital.

However, there are certain disclosure requirements that remain constant across membership categories.

Customers/investors must be required to provide certain introductory information before being permitted to take part in forex trades:

  • ☑️ Full legal name
  • ☑️ Address
  • ☑️ Occupation
  • ☑️ Previous trading experience (futures, forex, investments)
  • ☑️ (Individuals only) net worth and current estimated or previous actual annual income

This information will in turn dictate the exact risk disclosure information that members must provide to the customer/investor. Some of this information is boilerplate and other information is relative to the current and past operations of the member.

Risk Disclosure Information Examples ⚠️

  • ☑️ All risk disclosures provided to customers/investors by CFTC members must include the exact language “past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.”
  • ☑️ All risk disclosures must include the exact language outlined in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) as per CTFC Regulation 5.5(b).
  • ☑️ All risk disclosures must include specific information (as set out in the above 5.5(b) regarding the member’s specific total number of forex customer/investor accounts and the profitability percentage across these accounts in the prior quarter.
  • ☑️ Members must collect and file these signed disclosures from each customer/investor and these disclosures must be updated with each customer if they change.
  • ☑️ If additional risk disclosures are required or make sense for certain customers/investors, each member is at liberty to decide how those are to be determined and addressed.
  • ☑️ For customers/investors who are U.S. citizens and do not want to provide the required information, the member is only required to make a written note in the customer’s file.
  • ☑️ All such documentation must be kept for the proscribed period as outlined by the CFTC under Regulation 1.31.
  • ☑️ At a minimum, customers/investors must be contacted with an opportunity to update their personal data at least once annually.

CFTC members are also held to a high standard when conducting business operations or providing education in the public arena. This includes how hypothetical trading results, fund performance, services provided and other aspects are worded.

All members are required to keep copies of all promotional and marketing materials for a minimum period of five years from the date of issue in case complaints are lodged. If these materials contain any claims or statements, additional documentation of how these were derived must be kept as well.

CFTC requirements are designed to prevent misrepresentation that could lead to fraud, deceit or undue pressure towards any potential customer/investor.

Forex Customer/Investor to Member Relations and Trading Integrity 🏦

To that end, the CFTC is very clear about the nature of permitted customer/investor to member relations, even when these types of potential conflicts of interest seem clear (i.e. self-explanatory).

For instance, no member who will be representing a customer/investor for a forex transaction may also be the counterparty in that same transaction.

For offsetting positions, a member may only offset a customer/investor’s transaction at the customer’s specific request, and the offset must be a same-size match.

Challenges of Forex Trading
Forex refers to the foreign exchange market, which is where investors can buy and sell currencies from around the globe.

There are only two instances in which a member is permitted to make a price adjustment or cancellation for a customer order: to make right the customer’s complaint and to permit a straight-through processing transaction to take place.

If it becomes necessary to adjust order price due to a counterparty’s actions, the customer/investor must be notified—with appropriate documentation—within 15 minutes of the transaction conclusion.

Members must have an authorized party sign off on and document all price adjustments and cancellations and such documentation must be retained for possible later review.

In terms of price slippage, the overarching CFTC mandate is that all price slippage policies must be applied uniformly whether they are in favour of the member or not. The customer/investor must be notified in writing with full disclosure of the member’s price slippage policies.

Each member must develop and uniformly apply all such trading standards for pricing, rollovers, slippage, order execution, privacy and security, use of third-party trading software and platforms and fulfillment capacity.

E-Funding for Customer Forex Accounts 👤

Members are prohibited from permitting customer/investors to fund forex accounts on credit. Only direct debits and bank drafts are permitted.

Member Bookkeeping, Record keeping, Reporting and Disclosures 💻

CFTC members are required to maintain up-to-date books, records and reports as per CFTC and NFA requirements, rules and regulations. All members must have at least one active office in a location within the continental United States (including Alaska, Puerto Rico and Hawaii).

All documents must be supervised and maintained by an AP (associated person) who works out of that same designated office. Oversight, as relates to disclosure, can be particularly valuable to potential customers/investors striving to vet the legitimacy of a potential forex broker or platform.

CFTC and NFA members must maintain detailed public disclosure of principals, business activities, pending or resolved complaints, risks, business activities, financial and revenue status and additional documentation.

Member Dues 🔖

Membership dues to participate in the CFTC and NFA start at $125,000 (for entities and individuals with annual revenues of less than $5 million) and also include piecemeal fees based on trades executed as outlined in NFA Bylaw 1301(e).

Self-examination Questionnaire 💡

One particularly interesting control that the NFA has put into place to protect against fraud and deception (even unwitting) is the self-examination questionnaire.

Young Chinese Man Sitting At Desk Using Laptop At Home, learning about the ascending triangle in forex trading.
The forex market is run by a global network of banks, spread across four major FX trading centres.

This questionnaire, which includes four parts, or Appendixes, must be taken annually by certain categories of members. The questionnaire is designed to help members identify potential operations weaknesses or flaws and rectify these. Results must be signed and provided to the NFA to keep the member’s status current.

Compliance, Risk Management, Disaster Recovery, Anti-Money Laundering 🤔

The CFTC and NFA take a surprisingly active role in supporting (requiring) members to conduct internal compliance and risk assessment analyses and put into place protocols to guard against risks, disaster and fraud.

Each member individual or entity must keep written records of all actions taken towards these goals and be able to provide them upon request.

The CFTC and NFA Are On Your Side 🤲

We warned you at the outset that this would not be the most riveting article you would ever read. But it may well be one of the most valuable and protective.

However dry and dull you may have found it to read through the fine print regarding requirements, rules and regulations set out by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA) regarding membership in each organization, it is vital to understand these entities exist for one sole reason: to protect you, the customer/investor.

The resources that each entity provides give you ready access to sound, up-to-date data and records relating to all forex brokers licensed to conduct business in the United States. To date, no other government has gone to such lengths to protect citizens from unscrupulous and downright shady forex trading tactics.

While it is true that forex trading options are severely limited here in the United States when compared with many other countries around the world, it is also worth noting that additional countries are now moving to enact similar protections for their citizens (Europe, China and South Korea are three places where forex trading controls are stricter).

If the entity you are interested in does not appear in any of the databases mentioned here, it is worth a call directly to the oversight organization (likely either the CFTC or NFA, or perhaps FINRA in some cases) to pursue the matter further.

Choosing to conduct forex transactions with individuals or entities for which the organizations mentioned in this article have no record is a dangerous proposition and should be avoided at all costs.

By taking the extra time to do your due diligence and conduct your research, you can use the information compiled here to transact on the forex market with much greater confidence and safety.

Get Started with a Forex Broker

Average spread EUR/USD standard



All-in cost EUR/USD - active



Minimum initial deposit



Total currency pairs



Demo account?
Social / copy trading?
Average spread EUR/USD standard



All-in cost EUR/USD - active



Minimum initial deposit



Total currency pairs



Demo account?
Social / copy trading?

Average spread EUR/USD standard




All-in cost EUR/USD - active




Minimum initial deposit





Total currency pairs




Demo account?

Social / copy trading?

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