What is a CTA?

CTA stands for Commodity Trading Advisor, and CTAs are also referred to as managed futures managers. CTAs give investors the opportunity to capitalize on price movements on the most liquid and transparent markets around the globe. CTAs do not necessarily use borrowed money to finance their positions (as is the case with many hedge funds), but trade exchange-regulated derivatives and cash positions with objective and independent pricing. CTAs are also generally recognized by clearly shorter notice periods than hedge funds and private equity investments, due to the convertibility of the held positions.

A systematic CTA is an investment program characterized by disciplined position taking. The investment process is predefined, in that positioning is determined by input data such as prices, volatility and other economic statistics. In this way, the investor is protected from the actions of individual managers who may be under stress and act irrationally or impulsively.

The competitive edge of a systematic CTA comes from a capacity to develop and convert market knowledge into a computerized process as well as being able to handle the trading process efficiently and with low risk.

CTAs are generally regulated by national financial authorities.