Portfolio Margining Rules

The portfolio margining rules have the effect of aligning the amount of margin money required to be held in a customer's account to the risk of the portfolio as a whole, calculated through simulating market moves up and down, and accounting for offsets between and among all products held in the account that are highly correlated (for example, options on the S&P 500 Index (SPX), can be offset against options on the S&P 500 Depositary Receipts (SPY), or options on DIAMONDS (DIA) can be offset against SPX options). The longstanding practice for strategy-based margins is to require margin based on set formulas for various strategies (i.e., some spread strategies require a certain minimum margin), regardless of what other offsetting positions were held in the account and regardless of potential market moves. For some positions the margin requirements may not change significantly, but for other positions, such as owning a protective put against a long stock position, the difference may be sizable. This is appropriate in that the margin calculation accounts for the fact that the risk of one position (long stock) is offset by the other (long put).

Changes for Portfolio Margining for Certain Index Options Approved in July 2005

In July 2005 the SEC approved new rules regarding portfolio margining for index options positions of certain customers.

The Options Clearing Corporation's Customer Portfolio Margin page has a link to an online position editor.

This website is only a brief summary and should only serve as a supplement to careful review of relevant Cboe rules and federal securities laws dealing with margin requirements. The requirements explained here are based on publication date rules and regulations, and therefore, subject to change. This website should be used as a reference document and is not intended to be an all-encompassing restatement of Federal Reserve Board and Exchange margin rules. Brokerage firms may require customers to post higher margins than the minimum margins specified on this website. For more information on margin requirements for options, please contact Cboe's Department of Member Firm Regulation at (312) 786-7718. In addition please see the discussion of margins in the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options publication, Chapter 12 of the rules of the Cboe, and also the 41-page Cboe Margin Manual.

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