What happens to the USD equity option that I am long at expiration?

Übersicht: 

There are two scenarios which could occur if a long option is taken to expiration.  If the option is out-of-the-money at expiration and you do not choose to exercise it, the option will expire worthless, and your losses will consist of the premium that was paid to acquire the option.  If the option is in-the-money at expiration by 0.01 or more, it will be automatically exercised on your behalf (unless you previously chose to lapse the option) by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC).  The OCC processes monthly expiration options on the third Saturday of the month, or the day after Friday expiration.  The resulting long or short position will be put into the account, effective on the Friday trade date.  If the account has sufficient margin to satisfy the requirement on the resulting position, it will then be up to the account holder to decide what they want to do with the position.  If the resulting position causes a margin deficit, the account will be subject to liquidation at a time which is defined by the holdings within the account.  Please be aware that any positions could be liquidated as a result of the account being in margin violation—the liquidation is not confined to only the shares that resulted from the option position.  For example, if the account holds currency, futures, future options positions or and non-USD product, the account may begin to liquidate to meet the margin deficit as soon as a corresponding market opens.

Background: 

Account holders should refer to the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options disclosure document which is provided by IB to every option eligible customer at the point of application and which clearly spells out the risks of assignment.  This document is also available online at OCC's web site.

Add Remove Liquidity

Übersicht: 

The goal of this article is to provide proper understanding of exchange fees, add remove liquidity fees, for un-bundled commission schedule.

 

The concept of adding or removing liquidity is applicable to both stocks and stock/index options. Whether or not an order removes or adds liquidity is dependent on that order being marketable or non-marketable.

Marketable orders REMOVE liquidity.
Marketable orders are either market orders, OR buy/sell limit orders whose limit is at or above/below the current market.

1. For a marketable buy limit order, the limit price is at or above the Ask.

2. For a marketable sell limit order, the limit price is at or below the Bid.

Example:
XYZ’s stock current ASK (offer) size/price is 400 shrs at 46.00. You enter a buy limit order for 100 XYZ stock @ 46.01. This order will be considered marketable because an immediate execution will take place. If there is an exchange charge for removing liquidity, the customer will be charged that fee.


 

Non-Marketable orders ADD liquidity.
Non-marketable orders are buy/sell limit orders in which the limit price is below/above the current market.

1. For a non-marketable buy limit order, the limit price is below the Ask.

2. For a non-marketable sell limit order, the limit price is above the Bid.

Example:
XYZ’s stock current ASK (offer) size/price is 400 shrs at 46.00. You enter a buy limit order for 100 XYZ stock @ 45.99. This order will be considered non-marketable, because it will be posted to the market as the best bid, and instead of being immediately executed.
If and when someone else sends a marketable sell order that causes your buy limit order to be executed, you should receive a rebate (credit), if an add liquidity credit is available.

PLEASE NOTE:
1. All accounts trading options will be subject to any options exchanges’ remove/add liquidity fees or credits.
2. Per IB’s website, only negative numbers under the Remove Add Liquidity schedules are rebates (credits).

http://individuals.interactivebrokers.com/en/accounts/fees/commission.php?ib_entity=llc
Above link reference stocks and options commissions/fees

If I am assigned on the short leg of an option spread, will the long option leg be automatically exercised so as to offset the resulting stock position from the assignment?

 

The answer depends upon whether the assignment occurred at expiration or prior to expiration (i.e., an American Style option).  At expiration, many clearinghouses employ an exercise by exception process intended to ease the operational overhead associated with the provision of exercise instructions by clearing members.  In the case of US securities options, for example, the OCC will automatically exercise any equity or index option which is in-the-money by at least $0.01 unless contrary exercise instructions are provided by the client to the clearing member. Accordingly, if the long option has the same expiration date as the short and at expiration is in-the-money by a minimum of the stated exercise by exception threshold, the clearinghouse it will be automatically exercised, effectively offsetting the stock obligation on the assignment.  Depending upon the option strike prices, this may result in a net cash debit or credit to the account.

If the assignment takes place prior to expiration neither IB nor the clearinghouse will act to exercise a long option held in the account as neither party can presume the intentions of the long option holder and the exercise of the long option prior to expiration is likely result in the forfeiture of time value which could be realized via the sale of the option.

Are there commissions associated with option exercise or assignment?

The answer depends upon the option type and its region of listing.  There is no IB commission associated with US stock and index security options and out-of-the-money Non-US index options.  A commission is charged for an exercise or assignment of an in-the-money Non-US index option and for options on futures. Please refer to the Costs section of the website for details.

What positions are eligible for Portfolio Margining?

Übersicht: 

Portfolio Margining is eligible for US securities positions including stocks, ETFs, stock and index options and single stock futures.  It does not apply to US futures or futures options positions or non-US stocks, which may already be margined using an exchange approved risk based margining methodology.

Are there any qualification requirements in order to receive Portfolio Margining treatment on US securities positions and how does one request this form of margin?

Übersicht: 

In order to enabled for portfolio margining an account must be approved for option trading and must have at least USD 100,000 in net liquidating equity. Account holders will also be required to acknowledge and sign the Portfolio Margin Risk Disclosure document and be bound by its terms.  

Portfolio margining may be requested through the on-line application phase (in the Account Configuration step)  or after the account has been approved. To apply once the account has already been approved, log into Account Management and select the Trading Access and then Trading Configuration menu items. There you may choose the portfolio margin treatment which will initiate the approval process.  Please note that requests are subject  to review  (generally a 1-2 day process) and may be declined for  various reasons  including a  projected increase  in margin  upon upgrade  from Reg T to Portfolio Margining.  Also note that accounts approved for portfolio margining but maintaining net liquidating equity below the USD 100,000 threshold will remain subject to Reg T margining and not have portfolio margining applied until such time the net liquidating value of the account exceeds USD 100,000.


What is SMA and how does it work?

Übersicht: 

SMA refers to the Special Memorandum Account, which represents neither equity nor cash, but rather a line of credit created when the market value of securities in a Reg. T margin account increase in value. Its purpose is to preserve the buying power that unrealized gains provide towards subsequent purchases which, absent this handling, could be assured only by withdrawing excess equity and depositing it at the time the subsequent purchase is made. In that sense, SMA helps to maintain a stable account value and minimize unnecessary funding transactions.

While SMA increases as the value of a security goes up, it does not decrease if the security falls in value. SMA will only decrease when securities are purchased or cash withdrawn and the only restriction with respect to its use is that the additional purchases or withdrawals do not bring the account below the maintenance margin requirement. Transactions which serve to increase SMA include cash deposits, interest income or dividends received (on a dollar for dollar basis) or security sales (50% of the net proceeds). It’s important to note that the SMA balance represents an aggregation of each historical bookkeeping entry impacting its level starting from the time the account was opened. Given the length of time and volume of entries this typically encompasses, reconciling the current level of SMA from daily activity statements, while feasible, is impractical. 

To illustrate how SMA operates, assume an account holder deposits $5,000 and purchases $10,000 of securities having a loan value of 50% (or margin requirement equal to 1 – loan value, or 50% as well). The before and after account values would appear as follows:

Line Item
Description
Event 1 - Initial Deposit
Event 2 - Stock Purchase
A.
Cash
$5,000
($5,000)
B.
Long Stock Market Value
$0
$10,000
C.
Net Liquidating Equity/EWL* (A + B)
$5,000
$5,000
D.
Initial Margin Requirement (B * 50%)
$0
$5,000
E
Available Funds (C - D)
$5,000
$0
F.
SMA
$5,000
$0
G.
Buying Power
$10,000
$0

Next, assume that the long stock increases in value to $12,000. This $2,000 increase in market value would create SMA of $1,000, which provides the account holder the ability to either: 1) buy additional securities valued at $2,000 without depositing up additional funds and assuming a 50% margin rate; or 2) withdraw $2,000 in cash, which may be financed by increasing the debit balance if the account holds no cash. See below:

Line Item
Description
Event 2 – Stock Purchase
Event 3 - Stock Increase
A.
Cash
($5,000)
($5,000)
B.
Long Stock Market Value
$10,000
$12,000
C.
Net Liquidating Equity/EWL* (A + B)
$5,000
$7,000
D.
Initial Margin Requirement (B * 50%)
$5,000
$6,000
E
Available Funds (C - D)
$0
$1,000
F.
SMA
$0
$1,000
G.
Buying Power
$0
$2,000

*EWL represents equity with loan value which, in this example, equals net liquidating equity.

Finally, note that SMA is a Reg. T concept used to evaluate whether securities accounts carried by IB LLC are in compliance with overnight initial margin requirements and it is not used to determine compliance with maintenance margin requirements on either an intraday or overnight basis. It is also not used to determine whether commodities accounts are margin compliant. Similarly, accounts which report negative SMA at the time each day when overnight, or Reg.T initial margin requirements go into effect (15:50 ET) are subject to position liquidations to ensure margin compliance.

 

 

How do I transfer my US securities positions from my current broker to IB?

Übersicht: 

Broker to broker transfers for US securities are conducted via a process known as the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service or ACATS.  This process generally takes between 4 to 8 business days to complete in order to accommodate the verification of the transferring account and positions. The request is always initiated via the receiving broker (IB in this case) and can be prompted by following the steps below.

1.      Log into Account Management and select the Funds Transfer and then Position Transfers menu options.

2.      From the Transfer Method drop-down list select ‘ACATS'.

3.      From the Type drop-down list select either ‘Full’ or ‘Partial'.

a.       Note that the ‘Full’ election does not require that you specify any assets as an attempt will be made to transfer your account in its entirety.  Account holders should note, however, that certain positions may not be on the list of securities eligible to trade at IB and others, while transferable, may be subject to a house margin requirement higher than that of the delivering broker.  In the event IB receives an asset list from the delivering broker which includes ineligible positions or the aggregate of the positions transferred are such that a margin deficit would exist were the transfer to occur, IB will attempt to contact you to remedy the situation within the allocated time frame after which an automatic reject of the full transfer would take effect.  Account holders may wish to minimize potential delays or problems associated with a ‘Full’ transfer request by verifying security eligibility and margin requirements via the Contract Search link located at the upper right hand corner of the IB homepage prior to initiating the transfer.

b.      Note that the ‘Partial’ election will require that you specify the positions you wish to transfer on step 5.

4.      From the Source drop-down list select the delivering broker.  Note that certain brokers maintain multiple Participant account numbers with DTCC and account holders are encouraged to confirm with their delivering broker the account number to be associated with the transfer request.

5.      On the Deposit & Transfers/ACATS Request form enter the account number as reflected on your delivering broker account statement and respond to questions regarding the existence of a margin loan, short positions and option positions. Note that certain short stock positions may not be transferable if IB is unable to locate and borrow.  In the event of a ‘Partial’ election, you will need to provide additional detail (product identification, number of shares/contracts, long/short designation) as to the stock, option, mutual fund, bond or cash position you wish to transfer.

6.      Provide electronic signature authorizing the transfer.

 

Please note that brokers generally freeze the account during the transfer period to ensure an accurate snapshot of assets to transfer and may restrict the transfer of option positions during the week prior to expiration. You may wish to check with the delivering broker to verify their policy in this regard. In addition, please note if your IB account is currently maintaining positions on margin, any cash withdrawals or adverse market moves could increase the likelihood that your account falls out of margin compliance during the transfer period which may delay or prevent completion of the transfer. 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Applicants may meet the initial account funding requirement through the transfer of securities positions and/or cash via the ACATS system.

Why am I not informed of the assignment on my US securities option position until the following day?

Übersicht: 

 

The processing of exercise notices for American style options on days other than the expiration date is not performed on a real-time basis, but rather as part of a nightly batch process by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC).   The processing sequence, which by definition results in a notification lag of at least one day to the assigned customer, is as follows:

 

-         OCC generally allows its clearing members to submit exercise notices on behalf of the customers holding a long position electronically throughout the day, but generally no later that the start of their critical processing in the evening (Day E). 

-         As part of its evening position processing sequence, OCC randomly assigns the exercise notices it has received to the open interest of its clearing members.  That information is then made available by OCC to its clearing members early in the morning on the following day (Day E+1). 

-         At the point in which that information has been made available, clearing firms such as IB have already completed their processing of that day’s trade activity in order to provide timely statements, margin and settlement information to their clients.  Also, since OCC carries the customer positions of its clearing members in an omnibus manner (i.e., they do not know the identity of the customers, only the clearing firm), the clearing member must, in turn, execute a random process to assign those exercise notices to customers holding a short position in that particular option series. 

-         Once IB receives notice of the assignment from OCC and completes its random assignment process, the assignments will be readily posted to the Trader Workstation of the impacted accounts and reflected on the Daily Activity Statement as of that day’s close (E+1).

 

In addition, due to this processing sequence and the fact that a long option may have remaining time value, IB cannot automatically provide an exercise notice to OCC for any long option spread against the assigned short option as a means of offsetting the ensuing delivery obligation.

 

Account holders should refer to the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options disclosure document which is provided by IB to every option eligible customer at the point of application and which clearly spells out the risks of assignment.  This document is also available online at OCC's web site.

My account was debited for a dividend payment (Payment in Lieu) for a short stock position which I don’t recognize. How did this occur?

Übersicht: 

 

A short stock position may originate from an option position which you held in your account.  For example, if you hold a long put position in your account, that position may be subject to automatic exercise by the clearinghouse if it is in-the-money by a defined threshold at expiration.  This put exercise will generate a short stock position in your account (assuming you do not have an offsetting long position), and you are obligated to pay any dividends should you maintain a short stock position on the ex-dividend date. 

 

Similarly, a short call position in your account is subject to assignment should a call purchaser elect to exercise their right to purchase the stock and your account be allocated through the random clearinghouse and broker assignment process.  This call assignment will generate a short stock position in your account (assuming you do not have an offsetting long position), and you are obligated to pay any dividends should you maintain a short stock position on the ex-dividend date. 

 

These payments will be reflected on your Activity Statement as a 'Payment In Lieu Of Dividend'.

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