On July 7, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Whistleblower Office posted three new Notices of Covered Actions (NCAs). These NCAs signal that individuals may now submit whistleblower award claims for the relevant enforcement actions.
The first NCA covers an enforcement action taken against BNP Paribas (BNPP), a global financial services corporation and swap dealer. The CFTC charged BNPP with violations related to swap reporting and daily mark disclosures. According to the CFTC, “from 2016 through at least 2021, BNPP failed to correctly report numerous swap transactions to a swap data repository (SDR) as required by the CEA and CFTC regulations.” The CFTC further alleges that BNPP “adjusted daily mark disclosures for 82 swap transactions, which resulted in approximately 19,000 adjusted daily mark disclosures being made to the relevant swap counterparties, contrary to the requirements of the CEA and CFTC regulations.” BNPP agreed to pay $6 million to settle the charges.
The second NCA relates to an enforcement action taken against Starberry Limited. The CFTC charged Starberry with acting as a futures commission merchant (FCM) without being registered. According to the CFTC, from February 28, 2020 through March 17, 2020, Starberry was not registered in any capacity and yet “accepted and placed orders and accepted money in connection with those orders from a foreign customer for NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures contracts. Starberry agreed to pay the CFTC over $1.37 million.
The third NCA covers an enforcement action taken against Interactive Brokers LLC, a registered futures commission merchant. The CFTC charged Interactive Brokers with supervision failures. “From approximately January 2015 to December 2021, Interactive Brokers failed to ensure that its employees accurately assessed exchange fees for customer trades,” according to the CFTC. “Specifically,” the CFTC further alleges, “Interactive Brokers failed to implement necessary changes to exchange fee schedules, and thus charged customers executing certain spread trades the non-member exchange fee applicable to outright trades.” Interactive Brokers will pay the CFTC over $1 million.
Through the CFTC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide the agency with original information that leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to monetary awards of 10-30% of the funds collected in the enforcement action.
The CFTC posts NCAs for every enforcement action in which at least $1 million is collected. A NCA does not necessarily signal that a whistleblower was involved in the case. From the date an NCA is posted, an individual has 90 days to apply for a whistleblower award by submitting a Form WB-APP. For the newly posted NCAs, individuals have until October 5, 2022 to submit a claim.
In March, the CFTC awarded $650,000 to four whistleblowers who provided the agency with original information. Since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC has awarded approximately $330 million to whistleblowers in connection to enforcement actions that have resulted in monetary sanctions totaling more than $3 billion.