I work in the IT department at a Futures FCM. While I'm aware that there are insider trading rules with respect to our company stock, I'm still not clear on what it means for my own participation in the market. I don't have enough capital to buy and sell futures through the company I work for (we only take >$1 million USD accounts). And I would like to start trading on my own. Is it legal for me to open my own account with another broker and make trades?
Ask someone in Human Resources. I seriously doubt you are the first person to ask this question for their company and they should be more than happy to help.
There is normally a policy at the organisation that would restrict trades or allow trades under certain conditions. This would be in accordance with the current regulations as well as Institutions own ethical standards.
Typical I have seen is that Technology roles are to extent not considered sensitive, ie the employees in this job function normally do not access sensitive data [unless your role is analyst or production support]. An employee in exempt roles are allowed to trade in securities directly with other broker or invest in broad based Mutual Funds or engage a portfolio management services from a reputed organisation.
It is irrelevant that your company only deals with amounts > 1 Million, infact if you were to know what stock the one million is going into, you may buy it slightly earlier and when the company places the large order, the stock typically moves upwards slightly, enough for you to make some good money. That is Not allowed.
But its best you get hold of a document that would layout the do' and don't in your organisation. All such organisation are mandated to have a written policy in this regard.