Government Relations

Strategic, Proactive Leadership

Cboe and its subsidiaries operate in a highly regulated environment. Laws passed by Congress and rules established by federal agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), greatly affect the market structure within which Cboe operates as well as numerous other areas of importance to Cboe and the investors Cboe serves. As a leader in the equities and derivatives marketplace, and an innovator in options and volatility products, Cboe is committed to proactively addressing key issues of interest and providing transparency into our strategic agenda.

For more information about key topics, please click on the links below.

Issue: Regulatory capital rules governing banking organizations are inadvertently dampening liquidity in the options market because they do not take into account the risk reducing characteristics of options and instead impose unnecessarily inflated capital requirements for option positions that can be riskless or risk reducing.

Our Position: Cboe stands ready to work with interested parties on a meaningful solution, which could include: interpretive relief from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve that will allow bank-owned clearing members to apply a more risk-sensitive methodology to listed options; the immediate adoption of the Standardized Approach for measuring Counterparty Credit Risk (SA-CCR); or legislation that properly identifies the risk profile of listed options.

Cboe Options' Summary on the Impact of Bank Capital Regulations on the Options Market

Additional Information:
Cboe Options' July 2016 Joint Comment Letter on bank capital regulation

Cboe Options' January 2016 Comment Letter on the Federal Reserve Board's Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity (T-LAC) Proposal

Cboe Options' October 2015 Joint Comment Letter on bank capital regulation

Issue: Certain market participants are steering institutional customers into so-called "copycat" over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives, which are opaque, off-exchange, privately-negotiated bilateral agreements with contract terms that are identical to, or substantially similar to, the contract terms of standardized options contracts traded on registered exchanges.

Our Position: Copycat OTC derivatives present unnecessary risks while avoiding the price discovery, price improvement and trade reporting functions of national securities exchanges to the detriment of customers and the public interest. Cboe encourages regulators to review broker-dealer activities in the OTC options marketplace to ensure broker-dealers are meeting their best execution requirements and otherwise acting in the best interest of their customers when effecting OTC options transactions.

Summary of Cboe's Position on Copycat OTC Derivatives

Additional Information:
Cboe Options' October 2014 Comment Letter regarding copycat OTC Derivatives

Issue: Financial Transaction Taxes (FTTs) on the purchase or sale of exchange-traded products such as stocks, futures, and options have been proposed for a myriad of reasons, including: to reduce volatility in the market; reduce speculation; prevent the next financial crisis; or simply to raise tax revenue.

Our Position: Any FTT on equities, options, and futures in the U.S. will ultimately increase costs for retail investors. FTTs change trading behaviors in unintended ways, which can cause market quality to suffer. Further, projected revenues often are not realized due to the behavioral changes.

Summary of the Effect of FTTs on Market Quality

Additional Information:
Testimony of Edward Provost on Illinois Financial Transaction Tax (6/7/16)

Issue: Various tax reform proposals being circulated alter the tax treatment for exchange-traded or "listed options", unnecessarily complicating the tax treatment of these products and making listed options less accessible and more expensive for the ordinary investor.

Our Position: Cboe believes that tax reform for listed options is unnecessary, that the current tax regime for listed options works well and is intuitive, and that listed options should be excluded from any tax reform for financial derivatives.

Additional Information:
Cboe's position on the U.S. Senate's proposal to replace "specific identification" with first-in-first (FIFO) when selling shares of stock

Issue: The regulatory approval process for new exchange-traded products is overly burdensome, hampering innovation and preventing regular investors from realizing the benefits that flow from such innovation.

Our Position: Cboe is a strong supporter of product innovation. New, innovative products can confer significant benefit to investors. Cboe stands ready to work with interested parties on ways to improve regulatory structure and to promote innovation in ETPs.

Additional Information:
Cboe's November 2017 Comment Letter regarding FINRA Regulatory Notice 17-14 - request for comments regarding FINRA Rules impacting capital formation

Bats' July 2016 Comment Letter regarding semi-transparent active ETFs

Cboe Options' March 2016 Comment Letter regarding SEC Proposed Rule 18f-4 (Use of Derivatives by Investment Companies)

Bats' January 2016 Comment Letter regarding ETPs

Cboe Options' September 2015 Comment Letter regarding ETPs

Issue: On December 11, 2015, the SEC proposed Rule 18f-4 under the Investment Company Act of 1940, which is intended to create a comprehensive approach to the use of derivatives by mutual funds, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds and companies that elect to be treated as business development companies. The proposed rule would implement portfolio limitations on derivatives trading, impose an asset coverage and segregation requirement, and, in some cases, require a formal derivatives trading risk management program.

Our Position: Cboe questions the need to include listed options in the rulemaking. Cboe suggests the Commission reexamine the asset segregation and portfolio limitation requirements of the proposed rule to ensure they will not impede proven and prudent investment strategies.

Additional Information:
Cboe Options' March 2016 Comment Letter

U.S. Securities Markets Coalition's March 2016 Comment Letter

Issue: Under EU regulations, certain EU entities such as EU banks must take a punitive capital charge if they transact business through a non-qualifying clearinghouse. A non-EU clearinghouse is deemed qualified if it has been recognized by the EU as subject to equivalent regulation. The European Commission adopted the EU-US equivalence decision on March 15, 2016, which ensures that central counterparties registered with the CFTC will be able to obtain recognition in the EU. However, the EU still does not currently recognize the US as having equivalent regulation over US-based clearinghouses for SEC regulated securities options. The implementation date for these punitive capital charges has been extended to June 15, 2018.

Our Position: Cboe Options, C2 Options, BZX Options, EDGX Options, and CFE use OCC as their clearinghouse. OCC is a clearinghouse for both securities options and futures. The adverse consequences to non-recognition of SEC regulated clearinghouses could be significant. Cboe Options supports the efforts of the SEC to address this issue and obtain equivalency for US clearinghouses for securities options.

Additional Information:
WFE's Letter about the Impact of EU Clearinghouse Recognition Delays

Issue: The SEC created a committee to review equity market structure. The committee is lacking in exchange and listed company representation. Further, the committee has proposed recommendations that are well beyond the scope of equity market structure.

Our Position: Cboe believes that regulatory market structure reviews and changes should be addressed in a holistic manner that contemplates impact on the options market and all market stakeholders.

Additional Information:
Cboe's October 2017 Comment Letter in Response to the SEC Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee Recommendation for an Access Fee Pilot

June 2017 testimony of Chris Concannon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cboe Global Markets, Inc., before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities and Investment - U.S. House Committee on Financial Services - Hearing entitled "U.S. Equity Market Structure Part I: A Review of the Evolution of Today's Equity Market Structure and How We Got Here"

Cboe Options' January 2016 Comment Letter to the SEC Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee

Cboe Options' May 2015 Comment Letter to the SEC Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee

Issue: Portfolio Margin is a margin methodology that sets margin requirements for an account based on the entirety of the account and results in a more efficient use of capital. In general, positions in index option class groups that are highly correlated may be netted against each other based on allowed percentage amounts to determine the overall profit/loss of an account. For example, in a securities portfolio margin account, cash-index options and exchange-traded funds within the same class groups may be netted to determine the overall profit/loss of the account as a whole at various assumed up and down market moves in the underlying. The greatest loss from among the assumed market moves, if any, is the margin requirement, subject to a per contract minimum. Also, some security-based swaps may be held in a futures account for portfolio margin purposes. Customers benefit from PM because margin requirements calculated on net risk are generally lower than alternative position or strategy based methodologies for determining margin requirements.

Currently, futures and securities options, including VIX® futures and VIX options cannot be held in either the same securities or futures account. However, the Dodd-Frank Act (DFA) amended various SEC and CFTC statutes to enable securities to be held in a futures account or futures to be held in a securities account. To give effect to these amendments, SEC and CFTC action is needed either in the form of an exemptive order or rule or regulation, and the SEC and CFTC together need to promulgate rules to ensure transactions and accounts are subject to comparable requirements to the extent practicable for similar products.

Our Position: Cboe advocates strongly for portfolio margining of index futures in a securities account. Cboe believes that the ability to hold index futures and securities in a single account, and for margin to be calculated based on the entirety of the account and not assessed separately by instrument would result in a more efficient use of customers' capital and help avoid liquidating transactions in times of market stress.

Additional Information:
Cboe Options' Press Release on position margining rules. The DFA provides for portfolio margining.

Cboe Options believes that options users who utilize VIX futures would benefit from portfolio margining.

Issue: In 2015, the SEC proposed amendments to SEC Rule 15b9-1, which, together with Section 15(b)(9) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 ("Act"), provides an exemption from the requirement that broker-dealers must be members of a registered national securities association (i.e., FINRA).

Our Position: Cboe is concerned that the proposed amendments may inadvertently require FINRA membership of broker-dealers that are members of an exchange, or multiple exchanges, and whose primary business involves executing transactions on the exchange(s) of which the broker-dealers are members, which would needlessly impact numerous exchange members without furthering the congressional aims of Section 15(b)(9) of the Act or Rule 15b9-1.

Additional Information:
Cboe Options' Joint September 2016 Comment Letter

Cboe Options' June 2015 Comment Letter

Issue: On November 24, 2015, the CFTC approved the issuance of a rulemaking proposal for public comment regarding automated trading on futures exchanges. The proposed rulemaking, referred to as Regulation AT, proposed various risk controls; transparency measures; standards for system development, testing, and monitoring; and reporting and record-keeping requirements related to automated trading on futures exchanges. The rulemaking also proposed to establish a registration requirement for certain proprietary trading firms with direct electronic access to a futures exchange.

On November 4, 2016, the CFTC approved the issuance of a revised Regulation AT rulemaking proposal for public comment. The revised rulemaking proposed certain changes to the original proposal, including: requiring risk controls at two levels instead of three; eliminating the proposed AT Person annual reporting obligations and replacing them with an annual certification; narrowing the definition of AT Person by imposing a volume threshold; and requiring Commission approval in order to obtain source code from an AT Person.

Our Position Overall, and as CFE states in its comment letters to the CFTC regarding the original and revised proposed rulemakings, CFE agrees that it is important to manage the risks associated with automated trading and believes that sufficient regulation of futures exchanges is already in place to address the concerns of the proposed rulemaking. Should the CFTC decide to proceed with final adoption of the proposal, CFE's comment letters to the CFTC also recommends changes to specific aspects of the proposal.

Additional Information:
CFTC Fact Sheet regarding proposed Regulation AT

CFE's March 2016 Comment Letter

CFE's May 2017 Comment Letter

Issue: The National Market System ("NMS") Plan Governing the Consolidated Audit Trail ("CAT NMS Plan") was approved by the SEC in order to create, implement, and maintain a consolidated audit trail ("CAT") that captures customer and order event information for orders in NMS securities, across all markets, from the time of order inception through routing, cancellation, modification, or execution in a single, consolidated data source. The CAT NMS Plan applies to stock, stock options and index options, but it does not apply to, and thus will not capture order and transaction data for, stock index futures or options on index futures.

Our Position: Cboe believes incorporating futures data into CAT would create a more comprehensive audit trail, which would further enhance the surveillance programs of the self-regulatory organizations, the SEC, and the CFTC.

Additional Information:
Cboe Options' July 2016 Comment Letter on the CAT Proposal

CAT NMS Plan

Issue: Supreme Court precedent has caused considerable uncertainty as to what types of inventions should be eligible to receive patent protection and has weakened an important system that mainstream companies rely on to protect their investments in new technologies.

Our Position: Intellectual property is a key economic driver and the protections afforded thereunder provide companies with security to invest in future innovations.

Summary of Cboe's Position on Intellectual Property Rights

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