CFTC Division of Enforcement Issues Civil Monetary Penalty Guidance

May 21st | 2020

On May 20, 2020, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) issued guidance outlining factors the Division of Enforcement considers in recommending civil monetary penalties to be imposed in CFTC enforcement actions. The guidance comes in the form of a comprehensive Enforcement Manual. CFTC Chairman Heath P. Tarbert indicated that this reflects the CFTC’s strong commitment to transparency and clarity about how CFTC rules and regulations are applied. The guidance provides a 3-pronged approach to evaluate the appropriate penalty to recommend: (1) the “gravity of the violation;” (2) “mitigating and aggravating circumstances;” and (3) “other considerations.” This will be applied consistent with the overarching consideration of ensuring that any proposed penalty achieves the dual goals of specific and general deterrence.

This is the first time the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement has issued guidance on civil monetary penalties guidelines since 1994.

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