A review by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission found the IntercontinentalExchange Futures U.S. compliance staff was under notable strain that hindered its ability to regulate itself.

The CFTC's market oversight division conducted the review of the exchange from June 2007 to June 2008. The agency said on Wednesday it reviewed ICE Futures' compliance with core principles relating to audit trail, trade practice surveillance, disciplinary and dispute resolution programs.

Several significant events occurred during the target period that impacted the Compliance Department and required its attention, the CFTC said in a statement.

These events placed a notable strain on staff's ability to fulfill important self-regulatory obligations in a timely manner, it said.

The CFTC said one example occurred when ICE could not complete an audit trail recordkeeping review. The CFTC also noted it had several investigations that were open for excessively long time-periods.

David Gary, a CFTC spokesman, said the review of ICE was routine in nature and part of a standard periodic review conducted by the Commission of each registered exchange.

CFTC said the ICE staff was experienced but had been reduced since a similar review was conducted in 2004. It recommended ICE hire additional compliance staff and monitor its workload, hiring more workers when necessary.

It also recommended ICE conduct open outcry saturation recordkeeping reviews annually; re-examine its trading card compliance program to achieve a higher rate of compliance and increase its audit trail compliance program.

CFTC said ICE Futures should work to complete investigations in a timely manner and record the date on which completed investigative reports are approved by senior compliance staff.

(Editing by David Gregorio)