A Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) is registered with the National Futures Association (NFA) to manage client funds in a managed futures account (MFA) or other pooled investment such as a hedge fund or commodity pool in which the primary instruments being used are commodity futures, swaps, and other commodities derivatives.
CTAs are a particular type of money manager specializing in commodities. Commodities Trading Advisors (CTAs) are licensed to manage commodity pools, managed futures accounts, and commodity-based hedge funds on behalf of clients.
The FINRA Series 3 test provides a certification toward this end, but other proficiency qualifiers can be used. The CTA will submit reports about the holdings in the account to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Futures and the instruments that CTAs can use extend across the a spectrum of assets, from soft and hard commodities to currencies, swaps and options, and even equity index futures and single-stock futures.
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