An FCM is an entity that solicits or accepts orders to buy or sell futures contracts, options on futures, retail off-exchange forex contracts or swaps, and accepts money, securities or property from its customers to margin or guarantee such customer trades. 17 C.F.R. § 1.3, Futures Commission Merchant. An FCM may place those orders on contract markets on behalf of its customers. Additionally, an FCM may be a member of an exchange and serve as a clearing member of an exchange.
FCMs are required to register with the NFA. FCMs are also required to comply with numerous regulatory requirements established by the CFTC and NFA, such as segregation of customer assets, recordkeeping, capital, reporting, and other requirements.