CFTC Division of Enforcement Issues 2019 Annual Report

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CFTC Division of Enforcement Issues 2019 Annual Report

December 1, 2019

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Division of Enforcement (DOE) today issued its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Annual Report. The second annual report highlights the division’s success prosecuting the most pernicious forms of misconduct in the market – from manipulative behavior to commodities fraud, to misappropriation of confidential information.

“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,” said CFTC Director of Enforcement James McDonald. “As this annu

James McDonald, CFTC’s Director of the Division of Enforcement
James McDonald, CFTC’s Director of the Division of Enforcement

al 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.”

This report details DOE’s FY 2019 accomplishments, including key metrics such as cases filed, relief obtained, and trends among enforcement actions.

Highlights from the FY 2019 report include:

  • The number of actions filed by the CFTC during FY 2019 (69) marked an increase over the average of the five prior FYs (67.5);
  • The total monetary relief awarded (more than $1.3 billion) marked a 39 percent increase over FY 2018, and is the fourth-highest total in CFTC history.
  • 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 percent of all cases filed during FY 2019 involved charges of commodities fraud, manipulative conduct, or spoofing—violations that strike at the heart of market integrity and harm market participants.
  • In FY 2019, the CFTC filed more actions in parallel with criminal authorities than in any prior year.

Notably, enforcement activity at the Commission shows no sign of slowing down as we enter the new Fiscal Year (2020). On July 15, 2019, Heath P. Tarbert was sworn in as the Fourteenth Chairman of the CFTC. Chairman Tarbert has made clear that, under his leadership, the CFTC will be tough on those who break the rules. He has carried through on that commitment, with the Commission having filed 48 enforcement actions from July 15 through September 30 (nearly 70% of the actions for FY 2019).

“Tough, but fair – that’s been our response to those who break the rules,” said CFTC Chairman Heath P. 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.” 

With respect to enforcement activity going forward, Chairman Tarbert continued, “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.”

DOE published its inaugural enforcement report in FY 2018, which outlined four priorities that guided DOE’s enforcement efforts again in FY 2019:

  • preserve market integrity;
  • protect customers;
  • promote individual accountability; and
  • increase coordination with other regulators and criminal authorities.

This report explains how DOE used these priorities throughout FY 2019 to fulfill the CFTC’s mission and commitment to be tough on those who break the rules.

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