Managed Futures Account Type Categorization

There is much discussion regarding account type options.  The first place to begin understanding is categorizing the account type.  While many categorization opinions exist, I organize account type in three categories based on their regulation, distribution channel and primary investor type.


“Direct” or individually managed accounts are regulated by the NFA, CFTC and are available through Futures Commission Merchants (FCMs) and Introducing Brokers (IBs).  These account types are typically utilized by individual investors and more sophisticated institutional investors.  Investors in these accounts range across the map and are not necessarily restricted based on their net worth or level of sophistication.


“Traditional” Hedge Fund / LP / Pool structure.  These managed futures accounts are regulated by the NFA and CFTC but also may be regulated by the SEC and FINRA depending on their distribution.  These funds are typically distributed through sophisticated asset managers, family office professionals, investment banks and an elite group of registered investment advisors.  Many times these funds are for Qualified Eligible Participants – highly sophisticated investors – and contain exemptions that do not require disclosure documents nor auditing by the NFA.


Mutual Fund / ETFs. These accounts are primarily regulated by the SEC / FINRA but also regulated by the CFTC.  They are available through general wirehouse financial advisors and mainstream RIAs.  Investors in these low minimum investment accounts range are not restricted based on their net worth or level of sophistication.


While account type is important, understanding the benefits, legal protections and disadvantages of each account type is more significant.

DISCLOSURE: These are the opinions of the author and may not have considered all risk factors. Nothing on this web site should be construed as an individual recommendation, talk to your independent advisor. The author and Opalesque may have relationships with those people they cover in the publication. Mr. Melin provides a full disclosure of his business relationships to regulators and certain eligible participants who engage him in consulting projects. Managed futures investing involves risk and there are no guarantees of safety or future performance being implied. Managed futures can be a risky investment. This web site and its content is subject to the terms of the web site. Risk Disclosure and terms of web site are available here: Performance information received on this site is provided by third parties and deemed reliable but there is no guarantee relative to same. Performance reporting sources and quality assurance techniques may include, but are not limited to: disclosure document, CTA self reporting, brokerage firm reporting, consultant reporting, spot checking other reporting databases; nonetheless no guarantee of accuracy or implication performance verification or auditing is being made by the publishers. The CTA Database is a project separately managed from

Leave a Reply