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NFA keeps choking the forex industry – aggressively raises member fees

NFA is doing an amazingly effective job at spitting in the well it drinks from. In fact NFA behaves not as a regulator but as a controlling shareholder of its members - as it basically does whatever it wants when it comes to requirements and 'membership' fees. NFA just declared a new 'dividend' for itself by aggressively raising membership fees which for some strange reason will now be in the region of 2% of forex broker's gross (!) revenue instead of being a flat yearly fee like up until now. To the best of my knowledge NFA is the only forex dictator regulator charging percentage of volume and/or revenue instead of just charging same membership fee from everyone.
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NFA is doing an amazingly effective job at spitting in the well it drinks from. In fact NFA behaves not as a regulator but as a controlling shareholder of its members – as it basically does whatever it wants when it comes to requirements and ‘membership’ fees. NFA just declared a new ‘dividend’ for itself by aggressively raising membership fees which for some strange reason will now be in the region of 2% of forex broker’s gross (!) revenue instead of being a flat yearly fee like up until now. To the best of my knowledge NFA is the only forex dictator regulator charging percentage of volume and/or revenue instead of just charging same membership fee from everyone.

Question is why NFA needs so much money? Is that because of the aggressive forex brokers consolidation in the US which led to the decrease of number of NFA members while leading to increase in revenue for the bigger brokers?

Or is it because NFA itself posed amazing number of restrictions and reporting requirements over its members in the past year or so that it itself cannot cope with the scope of work stemming from those requirements?

The whole NFA decision making structure is nontransparent and it’s not clear how those decisions are made. CEOs of major forex brokers reside in various positions in some of NFA’s committees however it’s unclear what power they actually have when it comes to making decisions such as this one. More often than not it was suggested that major brokers are behind these ludicrous requirements as they are trying to oust smaller competitors.

Whatever the case is NFA is acting like a dictator once again instead of acting in the best of interest  of ALL its members – small and big.

Notice to Members I-11-21

November 28, 2011

Effective Date of Amendments to NFA Bylaws 1301 and 1302 Regarding Forex Dues and Assessments and the Interpretive Notice entitled Forex Transactions

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) recently approved amendments to NFA Bylaws 1301 and 1302 and the related Interpretive Notice entitled Forex Transactions. These amendments, which modify the current dues and assessment fee structure applicable to Forex Dealer Members (FDMs) and non-FDM Forex Members, are effective February 1, 2012. In summary, the amendments modify NFA’s current dues and assessment fee structure as follows:

The annual membership dues of non-FDM NFA Members (i.e., IBs, CPOs and CTAs that are designated as a forex firm) will increase from $750 to $2,500.

NFA will assess FDMs a fee of .002 on all order segments1 processed through NFA’s Forex Transaction Reporting Execution Surveillance System (FORTRESS).

NFA will no longer assess FDMs a fee of .0002% on the notional value of each initiating (non-rollover) forex transaction.

The annual membership dues for FDMs for which NFA is not the DSRO will increase from $13,500 to $25,000.

The annual membership dues for FDMs for which NFA is the DSRO will be established pursuant to a graduated schedule based on the FDM’s annual gross revenue for the previous year (as indicated in the firm’s most recent certified financial statement) as follows:

 

FDM Annual Gross Revenue Dues Amount
$5,000,000 or less $125,000
$5,000,000 to $10,000,000 $250,000
$10,000,000 to $25,000,000 $500,000
$25,000,000 to $50,000,000 $750,000
More than $50,000,000 $1,000,000

Application of New Dues and Assessments Structure

Current FDM Members

The application of the newly adopted dues and assessment structure will depend upon each FDM’s annual membership renewal date. If an FDM’s annual membership renewal date is on or after February 1, 2012, then NFA will invoice the FDM the full amount of the new membership dues for the following membership year at least thirty days before the FDM’s renewal date, and the new membership dues amount shall be payable in equal quarterly installments during the course of the FDM’s following membership year. For example, an FDM that has $15,000,000 in gross revenue and a renewal date of April 1, 2012 will owe $500,000 for the membership year from April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013. NFA will invoice the FDM $500,000 at least thirty days before April 1, 2012, and the FDM may elect to pay the balance in full then or in equal quarterly installments of $125,000 on April 1, 2012, July 1, 2012, October 1, 2012, and January 1, 2102.

Since the current dues and fee assessment is effective on February 1, 2012, NFA will apply the new membership dues structure to a current FDM from February 1, 2012 until its next membership renewal date. Specifically, NFA will invoice an FDM with a renewal date after February 1, 2012 the pro rata amount of the dues increase for the remaining months of its current membership year. Recognizing that a portion of the membership dues already paid by an FDM for its current membership year are also for the time period between February 1, 2012 and the FDM’s next renewal date, NFA’s invoice will deduct this respective amount from the pro-rata amount of the additional dues amount owed.

For example, NFA will calculate the dues for the following FDMs as follows:

 An FDM that has $62,000,000 in gross revenue and a renewal date of September 1, 2012 will receive an invoice from NFA for 7/12ths of its new membership dues less 7/12ths of the membership dues already paid on its most recent renewal in September 2011. Therefore, the FDM will owe $510,417 in additional membership dues-$583,333 representing 7/12ths of the new membership dues amount (i.e. $1,000,000) for the FDM’s current membership year minus $72,916, which represents 7/12ths of the dues already paid ($125,000) by the FDM for its current membership year.

An FDM that has $35,000,000 in gross revenue and a renewal date of July 1, 2012 will receive an invoice from NFA for 5/12ths of its new membership dues less 5/12ths of the membership dues already paid on its most recent renewal in July 2011. Therefore, the FDM will owe $260,417 in additional membership dues-$312,500 representing 5/12ths of the new membership dues amount (i.e. $750,000) for the FDM’s current membership year minus $52,083, which represents 5/12ths of the dues already paid ($125,000) by the FDM for its current membership year.

An FDM that has $4,000,000 in gross revenue and a renewal date of May 1, 2012 will receive an invoice from NFA for 3/12ths of its new membership dues less 3/12ths of the membership dues already paid on its most recent renewal in July 2011. Therefore, the FDM will owe $6,250 in additional membership dues-$31,250 representing 3/12ths of the new membership dues amount (i.e. $125,000) for the FDM’s current membership year minus $25,000, which represents 3/12ths of the dues already paid (i.e. $100,000) by the FDM for its current membership year.

At least 30 days before February 1, 2012, NFA will invoice current FDMs the additional dues amount owed for the current membership year, which will be payable on or before February 1, 2012. FDMs will no longer pay a fee of .0002% on the notional value of each initiating (non-rollover) forex transaction for transactions occurring after January 31, 2012. FDMs will, however, be assessed a fee of $.002 on all order segments processed through NFA’s Forex Transaction Reporting Execution Surveillance System (FORTRESS). Beginning on February 1, 2012, NFA will calculate the number of each FDM’s order segments processed through FORTRESS and invoice each FDM for this amount on a monthly basis.

New FDMs Post February 1, 2012

Any FDM becoming a member after February 1, 2012 will be assessed initial dues of $125,000. Any existing Member (in another category) that becomes an FDM after February 1, 2012 will be assessed membership dues of $125,000 less the amount of membership dues already paid by the Member for the current membership year. For subsequent years, the FDM will be invoiced membership dues as described above based on the FDM’s annual gross revenue indicated in its most recent certified financial statement.

Non-FDM Forex Designated Members (i.e., IBs, CPOs, CTAs)

Similar to FDMs, the application of the newly adopted dues structure will depend upon each IB, CPO, and CTA’s annual membership renewal date. If a firm’s annual membership renewal date is on or after February 1, 2012, then NFA will invoice the firm the full amount of the new membership dues for the following membership year at least thirty days before the firm’s renewal date, and the new membership dues amount shall be payable in full on or before the firm’s membership renewal date.

Since the current dues and fee assessment is effective on February 1, 2012, NFA will apply the new membership dues structure to a current forex IB, CPO, and CTA from February 1, 2012 until each firm’s next membership renewal date. Specifically, NFA will invoice a firm with a renewal date after February 1, 2012 the pro rata amount of the dues increase for the remaining months of its current membership year. Recognizing that a portion of the membership dues already paid by the firm for its current membership year are also for the time period between February 1, 2012 and the firm’s next renewal date, NFA’s invoice will deduct this respective amount from the pro-rata amount of the additional dues amount owed.

For example, NFA will calculate the dues as follows-an IB, CPO, or CTA that has a renewal date of July 1, 2012 will receive an invoice from NFA for 5/12ths of its new membership dues less 5/12ths of the membership dues already paid on its most recent renewal in July 2011. Therefore, the IB, CPO or CTA will owe $730 in additional membership dues-$1,042 representing 5/12ths of the new membership dues amount (i.e. $2,500) for the firm’s current membership year minus $312, which represents 5/12ths of the dues already paid (i.e. $750) by the firm for its current membership year.

At least 30 days before February 1, 2012, NFA will invoice currently designated forex IBs, CPOs, and CTAs the additional dues amount owed for the current membership year, which will be payable in full on or before February 1, 2012.

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21 Comments on this post

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  1. Ron Finberg said:

    Seems like the NFA’s action will push to less regulation as more firms may just risk being non-regulated. Or, most likely the NFA really doesn’t care and the decision makers are on the payroll of the non Forex trading firms who want their daytraders back.

    November 29th, 2011 at 4:30 am
  2. Michael Greenberg said:

    who said futures industry lobby?

    November 29th, 2011 at 4:42 am
  3. Andy said:

    NFA charges $0.02 per futures contract tradeded since like forever – this must be way more than what they make with this new fx fee.

    November 29th, 2011 at 6:40 am
  4. Michael Greenberg said:

    they still keep the 0.02 fee

    November 29th, 2011 at 6:54 am
  5. Ima Trader said:

    Isn’t this illegal? How can a membership fee be determined by gross revenue? This is discrimination plain and simple.

    Gross revenue is the worst measure to use, some FDM’s pay upwards of 20-30% of their gross revenue out to their IBs.

    Well, at least the NFA won’t have to do this math for many since more firms are continuing to leave the US.

    This is all part of the NFA’s Master Plan. Watch what comes out next.

    November 29th, 2011 at 10:24 am
  6. Brandon said:

    This is sickening to read. In particular for many of the non-FDM members, an almost 4x annual membership hike is obscene. Not to mention the revenue gouging for FDM’s.

    November 29th, 2011 at 12:29 pm
  7. Michael said:

    A hike from $750 to $2500 for a small CTA business like mine, I might just pull out from forex and start doing futures.

    November 29th, 2011 at 1:15 pm
  8. Michael Greenberg said:

    that’s the idea…

    November 29th, 2011 at 1:59 pm
  9. Steven Matrix said:

    Crazy! Seems they’re trying to force out the brokers and kill the industry?

    November 29th, 2011 at 2:37 pm
  10. Michael Greenberg said:

    for two years now

    November 29th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
  11. Richard Y said:

    The NFA is behaving like a government entity, which is NOT. All members should just withdraw membership. The NFA needs to realize that the U.S. has RICO laws for a reason!

    November 29th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
  12. Adil Siddiqui said:

    the fact that so many people have commited fraud – and are continuing to in US hasn’t helped this super tax!

    November 29th, 2011 at 4:08 pm
  13. Michael said:

    Do CTA’s have any recourse for this kind fee hike??? Or do we just hav to go along with whatever the NFA says???

    November 29th, 2011 at 5:08 pm
  14. Michael Greenberg said:

    well nfa is supposedly a members organization so you could complain or even gather other CTAs and try to make a change, but we all know how that’s going to end

    November 29th, 2011 at 5:11 pm
  15. Mitch said:

    Wonder if its possible to quantify how many white collar jobs and tax revenue was lost due to NFA rules approved between 2004 and present?

    My guess would be thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue. Considering the lack of growth in the rest of the US economy it doesn’t seem to make much sense to impose such punitive regulation.

    November 30th, 2011 at 9:09 am
  16. Fred said:

    Is there any way we can collectively make our concerns heard? Just as we did last year when the NFA trying to cut the leverage to 10:1. It seemed to work, right? After about 10 thousands of letters flushed their mail box.

    November 30th, 2011 at 3:51 pm
  17. Stefan said:

    The good news for the brokers is that this fee is a tax deductable expense. :)

    November 30th, 2011 at 4:17 pm
  18. Michael Greenberg said:

    you can try and organize it

    December 1st, 2011 at 7:49 am
  19. Michael Greenberg said:

    lol, i don’t think they’ll take it as good news nonetheless :)

    December 1st, 2011 at 7:51 am
  20. Ron Finberg said:

    Here is a question. Who really regulation anyway, it didn’t seem to help MF Global clients too much. Also, regulation doesn’t stop brokers from entering in their “terms and conditions” that they can cancel trades if clients scalp at what the broker believes are nonmarket prices.

    Basically, if you have a situation where regulation doesn’t seem to do a good job of protecting client interests, shouldn”t the industry really be reputation dependent. It works like this for any other business.

    December 2nd, 2011 at 4:17 am
  21. Michael Greenberg said:

    the whole regulatory structure in the US is fucked up, they do the 80/20 equation – focus 80% of regulatory oversight on 20% of the business (the smallest brokers) while big guys (banks) get away with anything

    December 2nd, 2011 at 4:41 am

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