A Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) is defined under the Commodity Exchange Act as a person who solicits, accepts, or receives from other funds, securities, or other property (either directly or through capital contributions, the sale of securities or otherwise) for the purpose of trading commodity futures contracts or commodity open contracts. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) generally takes the position that any transactions in commodity futures contracts or commodity options by investment fund no matter how frequent or small, will cause the fund to be considered a commodity pool, and the manager/sponsor of the fund to be a CPO.

A CPO registered with the CFTC must also become a member of the Nation Futures Association (NFA), the self-regulatory organization for the futures industry. In most cases, commodity pools are organized as limited partnerships, with the general partner as the CPO.