CFTC Report Shows Uptick in Enforcement Activity

The total monetary relief awarded in Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) enforcement actions for the 2019 fiscal year was $1.32 billion, up 39% compared to 2018.

This total stands as the fourth highest in the agency’s history after it collected $3.2 billion, $3.27 billion and $1.77 billion in 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.

These figures come from the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Annual Report published by the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement (DOE) today. The report also shows that the number of actions filed by the CFTC during FY 2019 was 69, an increase over the average of the five prior years, which was 67.5.

In FY 2019, the CFTC filed more cases involving manipulative conduct and spoofing than any prior year but one, which was FY 2018. Approximately 65% of all cases filed during FY 2019 involved charges of commodities fraud, manipulative conduct or spoofing violations that the CFTC claims “strike at the heart of market integrity and harm market participants”.

“The breadth and significance of the enforcement activity in FY 2019 is reflected in the fact that the filed cases involved some of the most significant commodities fraud, manipulation, and spoofing cases in the history of the agency,” says CFTC director of enforcement, James McDonald. “As this annual report shows, the Commission and its staff will continue to work tirelessly to preserve market integrity, to protect law-abiding market participants, and to achieve a true culture of compliance in our markets.”

One interesting data point highlighted by the report is that 48 of the filed CFTC enforcement actions occurred between July 15 and September 30, which was after Heath Tarbert was sworn in as the Commission’s chairman. This represents 70% of the enforcement actions for the whole of FY 2019.

“Tough, but fair – that’s been our response to those who break the rules,” says Tarbert. “A strong enforcement program is about preserving market integrity, protecting consumers, and deterring misconduct from taking place. The Commission has carried through on that commitment in FY 2019. I commend the professionalism, dedication, and commitment to excellence of the CFTC staff who have carried out the Commission’s mission with integrity and purpose.”

He continues: “America is the breadbasket of the world. Market manipulation and similar wrongdoing inflicts real pain on farmers by denying them the fair value of their hard work and crops. It also hurts American families by raising the costs of putting food on the table. Protecting our agricultural markets from manipulation and abuse is a special focus for the CFTC.”

Galen Stops

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