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FLEX Options Product Specifications

Description

FLEX options are customizable products where the investor can set the terms for the tradable contract and have the security of an exchange-traded product. The exercise style, expiration date and strike price can all be chosen by the investor to create a new product that is not currently being traded at an exchange. In general, investors set the criteria and have their brokerage firm solicit the best possible market-price from different market participants.

Unit of Trade

Equity or ETF: 100 shares per option contract.
Index: One contract equals $100 (the index multiplier) times the index level.

Premium Quotations

Stated in points. One point equals $100.

Strike Price Intervals

The investor selects the strike price for the FLEX contract.

Exercise Style

The investor chooses between either American or European exercise when the contract terms are chosen.

Exercise Settlement Time

Equity and ETF FLEX settlement will occur on the second (T+2) business day following exercise. For Index FLEX, settlement will be the first business day following exercise.

Expiration Dates

The investor selects the date for the FLEX options to expire, within exchange rules.

Exercise Settlement Price for Index FLEX

Cash-settled FLEX options on index products will derive their settlement price depending on whether the investor has selected a.m. or p.m. settlement for that particular FLEX option. The dollar difference between the index settlement value and the strike price of the contract multiplied by 100 will be the value of the contract. (Note: See product specifications for each index as there may be different methods of calculation.)

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Position Limits

No position limits for equity or ETF FLEX, however reporting obligations do apply. Check with exchange for Index limits.

Minimum Customer Margin

Purchases of puts or calls with nine months or less until expiration must be paid for in full. Writers of uncovered equity puts or calls must deposit / maintain 100% of the option proceeds* plus 20% of the aggregate contract value (current equity price x $100) minus the amount by which the option is out-of-the-money, if any, subject to a minimum for calls of option proceeds* plus 10% of the aggregate contract value and a minimum for puts of option proceeds* plus 10% of the aggregate exercise price amount. Margin requirements for index products and some broad-based ETFs may vary.

(*For calculating maintenance margin, use the option’s current market value instead of the option proceeds.)

Trading Hours

FLEX options will have the same trading hours as monthly options for that product.

This web site discusses exchange-traded options issued by The Options Clearing Corporation. No statement in this web site is to be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a security, or to provide investment advice. Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Prior to buying or selling an option, a person must receive a copy of Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Copies of this document may be obtained from your broker, from any exchange on which options are traded or by contacting The Options Clearing Corporation, 125 S. Franklin Street, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60606 ([email protected]).

© 2020 The Options Clearing Corporation. All rights reserved.

How to Avoid Forex Trading Scams in 2020

Forex markets trade trillions of dollars a day. Traders around the globe are always looking for the best broker to trade forex, CFDs, binary options, stocks, cryptocurrencies, etc. With new forex brokers popping up constantly, determining the legitimacy of a broker can be a real challenge. As a consumer, it is vital to research a company before depositing money to trade. At ForexBrokers.com, it’s our mission to assist you as much as possible with that research.

Most Trusted Forex Brokers Comparison

Taken from our forex broker comparison tool, here’s a comparison of the must trusted forex brokers.

Feature IG
Visit Site
Swissquote
Open Account
CMC Markets Saxo Bank
Visit Site
Trust Score 99 99 99 98
Year Founded 1974 1996 1989 1992
Publicly Traded (Listed) Yes Yes Yes No
Bank Yes Yes No Yes
Tier-1 Licenses 6 4 4 6
Tier-2 Licenses 3 1 2 1
Tier-3 Licenses 1 0 0 0
Authorised in the European Union Yes Yes Yes Yes

Questions to ask to avoid a forex trading scam

  • Is the broker regulated?
  • If regulated, how trustworthy is the regulatory body?
  • Is the broker offering profits or rewards for opening an account?
  • Is the broker offering a cash bonus for opening an account?
  • Is the broker offering automatic trades or signals to guarantee profits?
  • Is any credible information about the company included on its website, such as company history, financials, headquarters’ address, or similar?
  • If awards are cited, can I verify their authenticity?
  • If a big corporate sponsorship is promoted (e.g. athlete sponsorship), am I doing my due dilligence to ensure the company can be trusted?

1) Is the broker regulated?

Unregulated brokers do not have to report to a governing body. This means that if they scam you in any way, whether it be “glitches” or “malfunctions” causing sever slippage in their system, or you go to make a withdrawal and they don’t process it (steal your money), you are out of luck. Beyond posting a bad review online, there is little you can do because these brokers have no legal authority to answer to.

How do I check if a broker is regulated? The easiest way to check a broker’s registration is to look for it at the bottom of the website. The picture below is the bottom of 12Trader, a broker we recommend avoiding. You’ll notice that nowhere in this picture is a regulatory body mentioned. The “about us” pages on the site link to an account login prompt. Nowhere on the site is there any mention of regulation or company history. All of these warning signs should make you cautious.

Now let’s look at the bottom of the homepage of City Index, a trusted and regulated broker.

You will notice 1) the company specifically warns of the risks involved in trading CFDs, 2) the company is registered in England and Wales and has posted an address, and 3) the company is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, and has posted a registration number.

Conclusion: A regulated broker is required to include proper risk disclaimers and regulatory information at the bottom of all their website pages. To make it easy for investors, ForexBrokers.com includes a Trust Score for each broker, which assesses overall trustworthiness based on where the broker is regulated and its history as a firm.

2) If regulated, how trustworthy is the regulatory body?

Some scam brokers claim to be regulated and registered by a governing body that does not monitor or regulate forex companies.

For example, let’s look at Evolve Markets.

The disclosures at the bottom of the homepage give the appearance of a regulated broker. There is a warning of the risks of trading CFDs, and there is a legal section. Upon further examination of the legal section, you’ll notice that while the firm is registered as an international broker company in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, it is not regulated.

This statement from St. Vincent & the Grenadines shows there is a warning against false claims of registration or license.

How do I know what regulatory bodies are legitimate?

Forex brokers that are regulated in a major hub are always more trustworthy. Brokers in emerging hubs can also be trustworthy, but caution is warranted. Based on our annual study of regulatory trustworthiness, here is a list of the regulatory bodies we track and how trustworthy each one is:

  • FCA Regulated – Financial Conduct Authority – United Kingdom – (Great)
  • CySEC Regulated – Cyprus Securities & Exchange Commission – Cyprus (OK)
  • ASIC Regulated – Australian Securities & Investment Commission – Australia (Good)
  • SFC Authorized – Securities Futures Commission – Hong Kong (Good)
  • MAS Authorized – Monetary Authority of Singapore – Singapore (Good)
  • FSA Authorized – Financial Services Agency – Japan (Good)
  • IIROC Authorized – Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada – Canada (Good)
  • FINMA Authorized – Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority – Switzerland (Good)
  • FMA Authorized – Financial Markets Authority – New Zealand (OK)

Conclusion: Double check the authority of the governing body that regulates the broker you are looking at. You can go to the website of the governing body to search for the registration number and verify its legitimacy. To help investors find a trusted broker where they live, we have created country-specific forex broker guides.

3) Is the broker offering profits or rewards for opening an account?

Scam brokers often make claims such as “make $50 a day from a $250 investment” or “make 80% returns on profit signals” or “96% success rate.” These claims are a scam, regardless of whether they are being made for forex, CFDs, or binary options. Forex brokers should not promise returns at all, small or large. Simply put, if a broker is promising to make you money, it is a scam. Other common scam practices include advertising pictures of expensive cars that are given away to lucky investors.

This Wikipedia page on binary options does a great job of summarizing risks related to binary options:

“Many binary option “brokers” have been exposed as fraudulent operations. In those cases, there is no real brokerage; the customer is betting against the broker, who is acting as a bucket shop. Manipulation of price data to cause customers to lose is common. Withdrawals are regularly stalled or refused by such operations; if a client has good reason to expect payment, the operator will simply stop taking their phone calls. Though binary options sometimes trade on a regulated exchange, they are generally unregulated, trading on the Internet, and prone to fraud.”

Conclusion: If a binary options or forex broker promises you big returns on your money, this is a clear sign of a scam. You will not make $100,000 on a mega-trade; you will not make a 96% profit in 30 seconds; and you will not win a $40,000 car by depositing $2,000. Save your money and STAY AWAY.

4) Is the broker offering a cash bonus for opening an account?

When a broker offers an abnormally high cash bonus, is not regulated, and does not show offer details for the bonus, then you are likely dealing with a scam broker. For example, 1000Extra hints at a bonus of $1,000 with their vague promotional offer. If you click around trying to gather more information you are redirected to sign up for an account.

1000Extra is not regulated, has minimal information about the company, and has scam reports across the web.

Conclusion: In most regulated regions around the world, promotional bonuses for opening a new account are not allowed. The two exceptions are the United States, which is for US citizens only, and Asia.

5 Signs Your Options Broker is Robbing You

There are hundreds of options brokers operating online today. Many aren’t regulated and these must be avoided at all costs. Of those that are regulated only a small fraction conduct transparent business.

One we found is IQ Option. Why do I say this? I and a group of other options traders run some tests to identify some of the ways “legit” options brokers use to rob traders of their money. This broker passed the test. So what ways do these brokers use? Read on.

Manipulating prices to control trade outcomes

Every trader has their preferred asset and trading style. These have been proven to work on many platforms. However, the broker owns the technology that you’re using to trade. Therefore, they have the power to change prices at will.

Now if you have many winning trades, the broker might decide to use artificial prices to ensure that your trades start losing. This trick usually involves suddenly changing the prices by a single tick just before a trade expires. To identify this trick, you can open a different platform such as MT4 and run it alongside your broker’s platform comparing the price movements in real time.

Manipulating prices to affect trade outcome

Manipulate the expiry time of the trade

Options are set to expire within a specific time frame. So when you enter a trade, it’s important that you take a close look at the timer. Does the order get executed at exactly the time you set it to start?

Does the timer count down normally? And finally, does it expire at the intended time? Some brokers will manipulate their timers making their clocks run faster or lag behind to ensure that your trade ends up losing eventually making money for them.

Fishing for large investments placed on single trades

Brokers know that small wins will build your confidence. This tempts you to invest larger amounts in subsequent trades. But once you invest a large amount, the trades usually don’t go your way.

This is a tactic used to ensure that you remain on their platforms as a trader. They will entice you with small winnings creating the illusion that you’re making money trading options. Once you invest a large amount on a single trade, they will move in taking your money to recover your winnings and a good part of your account balance.

Such brokers know that the majority of traders who lose money this way are likely to make another deposit trying to recover their big losses. And the cycle starts all over again.

Fishing for large investments placed on single trades

Server disconnects right before trade expiry

This is a classic way fraudulent brokers use to rob their clients. Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll happily watch the price move as expected.

But just before the trade expires, the broker’s server suddenly becomes disconnected. It could be an internet connection error on your side. But this doesn’t mean that your trade isn’t being executed.

Remember that the markets don’t stop. Once the connection error is resolved (usually within seconds), you’ll find that your trade lost.

Withdrawals mysteriously disappear

Many options brokers will have a specific timeline where withdrawals must be processed and deposited to their client’s accounts. If this timeline expires, you’re expected to ask why you haven’t got your money.

Their support team should help you recover the lost money. Fraudulent brokers usually frustrate their clients by using hard to track support tickets until the client eventually gives up. So every time you make a withdrawal, make sure that a transaction receipt has been generated.

In addition, make sure that the broker you’re dealing with has a mechanism that allows you to keep track of the withdrawals process.

The most transparent options broker today

Since 2020, IQ Option has offered options traders excellent service that’s grounded on transparency. I have traded on this platform for over 1 year now and after running tests against these schemes other brokers use to rob their clients, I found that they’re quite transparent. Open an IQ Option practice account today and start trading. Do your own tests to verify this. Good luck!

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The Intercontinental Exchange

NYSE American Options

FLEX Options

FLexible EXchange (FLEX) options combine the benefits of customization with the advantages of listing and are available on all option products listed on NYSE American Options. Both Equity FLEX and Index FLEX options allow investors to customize key contract terms, including expiration date, exercise style, and exercise price, and to take advantage of expanded position limits.

FLEX Trades are permissible on options not listed on NYSE American Options but require certification with the OCC on the day before the FLEX trade is executed. Cut-off time to submit for certification is 11:00 am on the day before the anticipated trade. Therefore, all requests to trade FLEX options on non-NYSE American Options must be submitted before 11:00am on the day before the expected trade date.

Equity-FLEX

Equity FLEX options are designed to extend investor access to customized derivative products. With Equity FLEX options, investors are able to set key contract terms like exercise prices, exercise styles, and expiration dates, and to trade in size, with no position or exercise limits.

Equity FLEX options are traded on all listed options, including but not limited to, Stock Options, American Depository Receipts, and exchange traded funds.

A minimum of 150 contracts or $1 million notional value (i.e., strike price=$100 then notional value=$10,000/contract which would require a minimum of 100 contracts) is required to open a new Equity Flex Option Series.

A minimum of 100 contracts is required to establish additional opening positions in an existing Equity Flex Series. For closing transactions the minimum is 25 contracts or the remaining opening interest.

Index-FLEX

Index FLEX options are designed to extend investor access to customized derivative products. With Index FLEX options, investors have the ability to set key contract terms like exercise prices, exercise styles, and expiration dates.

At NYSE American Options, Index FLEX options are traded on any index upon which options currently trade. A minimum value of $10 million on the underlying index is required to open a new Index FLEX option series and a minimum of $1 million is required for an open series.

Rules & Specifications

LEAPS Options

Long-term Equity AnticiPation Securities (LEAPS) are put and call options that have expirations of up to three years from the time of their initial listing. LEAPS, which have a unique ticker symbol, meld into their conventional shorter-term options within one year of their expirations.

At NYSE American Options, Equity LEAPS are traded on certain common stocks, American Depositary Receipts, exchange traded funds and HOLDRS, and Index LEAPS are traded on broad-based, industry sector and international indexes.

Equity-LEAPS

Equity LEAPS are put and call options on selected common stocks, American Depositary Receipts, exchange traded funds and HOLDRS that have expirations of up to three years. These long-term options give holders the right to purchase (with calls) or sell (with puts) shares of an underlying stock at a specified price on or before a given date up to three years in the future. With the exception of their longer-term expiration, Equity LEAPS work in the same manner as other exchange-listed stock options, and may be exercised on any business day prior to expiration (American style).

Equity LEAPS series are introduced based on expiration cycles. Initial strike (exercise) prices are set at approximately 25 percent above, at and 20 percent below the underlying stock’s price at the time of options’ listing. This provides the versatility of in-, at- and out-of-the-money puts and calls.

LEAPS meld into their conventional shorter-term options within one year of expiration.

Index-LEAPS

Index LEAPS are long-term options generally based on a reduced value of an underlying broad-based, industry sector or international index and have expirations of up to three years. With the exception of their longer-term expiration, Index LEAPS work in the same manner as all other broad-market index options with exercises only permitted on the last business day prior to expiration (European style) and settlement with the payment of cash, not the delivery of securities.

Index LEAPS series are introduced based upon exercise cycles. Two initial strike (exercise) prices are set bracketing the LEAPS’ index value. New strike prices are introduced when the value of the index underlying the LEAPS moves 10 to 15 percent.

LEAPS meld into their conventional shorter-term options within one year of expiration.

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