Risk Disclosure Statement for Futures & Options
This brief statement does not disclose all of the risks and other significant aspects of trading in futures & options. In light of the risks, you should undertake such transactions only if you understand the nature of the contracts (and contractual relationships) into which you are entering and the extent of your exposure to risk. Trading in futures & options is not suitable for many members of the public. You should carefully consider whether trading is appropriate for you in light of your experience, objectives, financial resources and other relevant circumstances.
1. Effect of Leverage
Transactions in futures carry a high degree of risk. The amount of initial margin is small relative to the value of the futures contract so that transactions are “leveraged”.” A relatively small market movement will have a proportionately larger impact on the funds you have deposited or will have to deposit: this may work against you as well as for you. You may sustain a total loss of initial margin funds and any additional funds deposited with the firm to maintain your position. If the market moves against your position or margin levels are increased, you may be called upon to pay substantial additional funds on short notice to maintain your position. If you fail to comply with a request for additional funds within the time prescribed, your position may be liquidated at a loss and you will be liable for any resulting deficit.
2. Risk-reducing orders or strategies
The placing of certain orders (e.g., “stop-loss” orders, where permitted under local law, or “stop-limit” orders) which are intended to limit losses to certain amounts may not be effective because market conditions may make it impossible to execute such orders. Strategies using combinations of positions, such as “spread” and “straddle” positions, may be as risky as taking simple “long” or “short” positions.
3. Variable degree of risk
Transactions in options carry a high degree of risk.
Purchasers and sellers of options should familiarize themselves with the type of option (i.e., put or call) which they contemplate trading and the associated risks. You should calculate the extent to which the value of the options must increase for your position to become profitable, taking into account the premium and all transaction costs. The purchaser of options may offset or exercise the options or allow the options to expire. The exercise of an option results either in a cash settlement or in the purchaser acquiring or delivering the underlying interest. If the option is on a future, the purchaser will acquire a futures position with associated liabilities for margin (see the section on Futures above). If the purchased options expire worthless, you will suffer a total loss of your investment which will consist of the option premium plus transaction costs. If you are contemplating purchasing deep-out-of-the-money options, you should be aware that the chance of such options becoming profitable ordinarily is remote. Selling (“writing” or “granting”) an option generally entails considerably greater risk than purchasing options. Although the premium received by the seller is fixed, the seller may sustain a loss well in excess of that amount. The seller will be liable for additional margin to maintain the position if the market moves unfavorably. The seller will also be exposed to the risk of the purchaser exercising the option and the seller will be obligated to either settle the option in cash or to acquire or deliver the underlying interest. If the option is on a future, the seller will acquire a position in a future with associated liabilities for margin (see the section on Futures above). If the option is “covered” by the seller holding a corresponding position in the underlying interest or a future or another option, the risk may be reduced. If the option is not covered, the risk of loss can be unlimited. Certain exchanges in some jurisdictions permit deferred payment of the option premium, exposing the purchaser to liability for margin payments not exceeding the amount of the premium. The purchaser is still subject to the risk of losing the premium and transaction costs. When the option is exercised or expires, the purchaser is responsible for any unpaid premium outstanding at that time.
ADDITIONAL RISKS COMMON TO FUTURES AND OPTIONS
4. Terms and conditions of contracts
You should ask the firm with which you deal about the terms and conditions of the specific futures or options which you are trading and associated obligations (e.g., the circumstances under which you may become obligated to make or take delivery of the underlying interest of a futures contract and, in respect of options, expiration dates and restrictions on the time for exercise). Under certain circumstances the specifications of outstanding contracts (including the exercise price of an option) may be modified by the exchange or clearing house to reflect changes in the underlying interest.
5. Suspension or restriction of trading and pricing relationships
Market conditions (e.g., illiquidity) and/or the operation of the rules of certain markets (e.g., the suspension of trading in any contract or contract month because of price limits or “circuit breakers”) may increase the risk of loss by making it difficult or impossible to effect transactions or liquidate/offset positions. If you have sold options, this may increase the risk of loss. Further, normal pricing relationships between the underlying interest and the future, and the underlying interest and the option may not exist. This can occur when, for example, the futures contract underlying the option is subject to price limits while the option is not. The absence of an underlying reference price may make it difficult to judge “fair” value.
6. Deposited cash and property
You should familiarize yourself with the protections accorded money or other property you deposit for domestic and foreign transactions, particularly in the event of a firm insolvency or bankruptcy. The extent to which you may recover your money or property may be governed by specific legislation or local rules. In some jurisdictions, property which has been specifically identifiable as your own will be pro-rated in the same manner as cash for purposes of distribution in the event of a shortfall.
7. Commission and other charges
Before you begin to trade, you should obtain a clear explanation of all commission, fees and other charges for which you will be liable. These charges will affect your net profit (if any) or increase your loss.
8. Transactions in other jurisdictions
Transactions on markets in other jurisdictions, including markets formally linked to a domestic market, may expose you to additional risk. Such markets may be subject to regulation which may offer different or diminished investor protection. Before you trade you should enquire about any rules relevant to your particular transactions. Your local regulatory authority will be unable to compel the enforcement of the rules of regulatory authorities or markets in other jurisdictions where your transactions have been effected. You should ask the firm with which you deal for details about the types of redress available in both your home jurisdiction and other relevant jurisdictions before you start to trade.
9. Currency risks
The profit or loss in transactions in foreign currency-denominated contracts (whether they are traded in your own or another jurisdiction) will be affected by fluctuations in currency rates where there is a need to convert from the currency denomination of the contract to another currency.
10. Trading facilities
Most open-outcry and electronic trading facilities are supported by computer-based component systems for the order-routing, execution, matching, registration or clearing of trades. As with all facilities and systems, they are vulnerable to temporary disruption or failure. Your ability to recover certain losses may be subject to limits on liability imposed by the system provider, the market, the clearing house and/or member firms. Such limits may vary; you should ask the firm with which you deal for details in this respect.
11. Electronic trading
Trading on an electronic trading system may differ not only from trading in an open-outcry market but also from trading on other electronic trading systems. If you undertake transactions on an electronic trading system, you will be exposed to risks associated with the system including the failure of hardware and software. The result of any system failure may be that your order is either not executed according to your instructions or is not executed at all.
12. Off-exchange transactions
In some jurisdictions, and only then in restricted circumstances, firms are permitted to effect off-exchange transactions. The firm with which you deal may be acting as your counterparty to the transaction. It may be difficult or impossible to liquidate an existing position, to assess the value, to determine a fair price or to assess the exposure to risk. For these reasons, these transactions may involve increased risks. Off-exchange transactions may be less regulated or subject to a separate regulatory regime. Before you undertake such transactions, you should familiarize yourself with applicable rules and attendant risks.
OFF-EXCHANGE FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS
OFF-EXCHANGE FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS INVOLVE THE LEVERAGED TRADING OF CONTRACTS DENOMINATED IN FOREIGN CURRENCY CONDUCTED WITH A FUTURES COMMISSION MERCHANT OR A RETAIL FOREIGN EXCHANGE DEALER AS YOUR COUNTERPARTY. BECAUSE OF THE LEVERAGE AND THE OTHER RISKS DISCLOSED HERE, YOU CAN RAPIDLY LOSE ALL OF THE FUNDS YOU DEPOSIT FOR SUCH TRADING AND YOU MAY LOSE MORE THAN YOU DEPOSIT. YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF AND CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING POINTS BEFORE DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH TRADING IS APPROPRIATE FOR YOU. Before you begin to trade, you should obtain a clear explanation of all commission, fees and other charges for which you will be liable. These charges will affect your net profit (if any) or increase your loss.
13. TRADING IS NOT ON A REGULATED MARKET OR EXCHANGE – YOUR DEALER IS YOUR TRADING PARTNER WHICH IS A DIRECT CONFLICT OF INTEREST. BEFORE YOU ENGAGE IN ANY RETAIL FOREIGN EXCHANGE TRADING, YOU SHOULD CONFIRM THE REGISTRATION STATUS OF YOUR COUNTERPARTY.
The off-exchange foreign currency trading you are entering into is not conducted on an interbank market, nor is it conducted on a futures exchange subject to regulation as a designated contract market by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The foreign currency trades you transact are trades with the futures commission merchant or retail foreign exchange dealer as your counterparty, WHEN YOU SELL, THE DEALER IS THE BUYER. WHEN YOU BUY, THE DEALER IS THE SELLER. As a result, when you lose money trading, your dealer is making money on such trades, in addition to any fees, commissions, or spreads the dealer may charge.
14. AN ELECTRONIC TRADING PLATFORM FOR RETAIL FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS IS NOT AN EXCHANGE. IT IS AN ELECTRONIC CONNECTION FOR ACCESSING YOUR DEALER. THE TERMS OF AVAILABILITY OF SUCH A PLATFORM ARE GOVERNED ONLY BY YOUR CONTRACT WITH YOUR DEALER.
Any trading platform that you may use to enter off-exchange foreign currency transactions is only connected to your futures commission merchant or retail foreign exchange dealer. You are accessing that trading platform only to transact with your dealer. You are not trading with any other entities or customers of the dealer by accessing such platform. The availability and operation of any such platform, including the consequences of the unavailability of the trading platform for any reason, is governed only by the terms of your account agreement with the dealer.
15. YOUR DEPOSITS WITH THE DEALER HAVE NO REGULATORY PROTECTIONS.
All of your rights associated with your retail trading, including the manner and denomination of any payments made to you, are governed by the contract terms established in your account agreement with the futures commissions merchant or retail foreign exchange dealer. Funds deposited by you with a futures commission merchant or retail foreign exchange dealer for trading off-exchange foreign currency transactions are not subject to the customer funds protections provided to customers trading on a contract market that is designated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Your dealer may commingle your funds with its own operating funds or use them for other purposes. In the event your dealer becomes bankrupt, any funds the dealer is holding for you in addition to any amounts owed to you resulting from trading, whether or not any assets are maintained in separate deposit accounts by the dealer, may be treated as an unsecured creditor’s claim.
16. YOU ARE LIMITED TO YOUR DEALER TO OFFSET OR LIQUIDATE ANY TRADING POSITIONS SINCE THE TRANSACTIONS ARE NOT MADE ON AN EXCHANGE OR MARKET, AND YOUR DEALER MAY SET ITS OWN PRICES.
Your ability to close your transactions or offset positions is limited to what your dealer will offer to you, as there is no other market for these transactions. Your dealer may offer any prices it wishes, and it may offer prices derived from outside sources or not in its discretion. Your dealer may establish its prices by offering spreads from third party prices, but it is under no obligation to do so or to continue to do so. Your dealer may offer different prices to different customers at any point in time on its own terms. The terms of your account agreement alone govern the obligations your dealer has to you to offer prices and offer offset or liquidating transactions in your account and make any payments to you. The prices offered by your dealer may or may not reflect prices available elsewhere at any exchange, interbank, or other market for foreign currency.
17. PAID SOLICITORS MAY HAVE UNDISCLOSED CONFLICTS
The futures commission merchant or retail foreign exchange dealer may compensate introducing brokers for introducing your account in ways which are not disclosed to you. Such paid solicitors are not required to have, and may not have, any special expertise in trading, and may have conflicts of interest based on the method by which they are compensated. Solicitors working on behalf of futures commission merchants and retail foreign exchange dealers are required to register. You should confirm that they are, in fact registered. You should thoroughly investigate the manner in which all such solicitors are compensated and be very cautious in granting any person or entity authority to trade on your behalf. You should always consider obtaining dated written confirmation of any information you are relying on from your dealer or a solicitor in making any trading or account decisions.