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CFTC Says Firms that Self-Report Misconduct May See Lower Penalties

The chief of the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement, recently announced a self-reporting program that could substantially reduce penalties for firms that self-report misconduct. According to a Reuters report, the shift in the CFTC’s strategy follows industry criticism that the agency has harshly penalized firms despite their full cooperation with investigations. Under the program, the company must voluntarily report wrongdoing to the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement before an imminent threat of disclosure or of a government investigation, and the disclosure must be made independent of any other legal obligation. The company must fully cooperate with the Division throughout the investigation and must timely and appropriately correct the flaws in its compliance and internal controls programs that allowed the misconduct. The Division chief said if a company meets the program’s conditions, it will recommend a substantial reduction in the penalty that otherwise would be applicable and in extraordinary circumstances may recommend declining to prosecute a case.