The risk of loss in trading commodity futures contracts can be substantial. You should, therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances and financial resources. You should be aware of the following points:
(1) You may sustain a total loss of the funds that you deposit with your broker to establish or maintain a position in the commodity futures market, and you may incur losses beyond these amounts. If the market moves against your position, you may be called upon by your broker to deposit a substantial amount of additional margin funds, on short notice, in order to maintain your position. If you do not provide the required funds within the time required by your broker, your position may be liquidated at a loss, and you will be liable for any resulting deficit in your account.
(2) The funds you deposit with a futures commission merchant for trading futures positions are not protected by insurance in the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of the futures commission merchant, or in the event your funds are misappropriated.
(3) The funds you deposit with a futures commission merchant for trading futures positions are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation even if the futures commission merchant is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a broker or dealer.
(4) The funds you deposit with a futures commission merchant are generally not guaranteed or insured by a derivatives clearing organization in the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of the futures commission merchant, or if the futures commission merchant is otherwise unable to refund your funds. Certain derivatives clearing organizations, however, may have programs that provide limited insurance to customers. You should inquire of your futures commission merchant whether your funds will be insured by a derivatives clearing organization and you should understand the benefits and limitations of such insurance programs.
(5) The funds you deposit with a futures commission merchant are not held by the futures commission merchant in a separate account for your individual benefit. Futures commission merchants commingle the funds received from customers in one or more accounts and you may be exposed to losses incurred by other customers if the futures commission merchant does not have sufficient capital to cover such other customers’ trading losses.
(6) The funds you deposit with a futures commission merchant may be invested by the futures commission merchant in certain types of financial instruments that have been approved by the Commission for the purpose of such investments. Permitted investments are listed in Commission Regulation 1.25 and include: U.S. government securities; municipal securities; money market mutual funds; and certain corporate notes and bonds. The futures commission merchant may retain the interest and other earnings realized from its investment of customer funds. You should be familiar with the types of financial instruments that a futures commission merchant may invest customer funds in.
(7) Futures commission merchants are permitted to deposit customer funds with affiliated entities, such as affiliated banks, securities brokers or dealers, or foreign brokers. You should inquire as to whether your futures commission merchant deposits funds with affiliates and assess whether such deposits by the futures commission merchant with its affiliates increases the risks to your funds.
(8) You should consult your futures commission merchant concerning the nature of the protections available to safeguard funds or property deposited for your account.
(9) Under certain market conditions, you may find it difficult or impossible to liquidate a position. This can occur, for example, when the market reaches a daily price fluctuation limit (“limit move”).
(10) All futures positions involve risk, and a “spread” position may not be less risky than an outright “long” or “short” position.
(11) The high degree of leverage (gearing) that is often obtainable in futures trading because of the small margin requirements can work against you as well as for you. Leverage (gearing) can lead to large losses as well as gains.
(12) In addition to the risks noted in the paragraphs enumerated above, you should be familiar with the futures commission merchant you select to entrust your funds for trading futures positions. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission requires each futures commission merchant to make publicly available on its Web site firm specific disclosures and financial information to assist you with your assessment and selection of a futures commission merchant. ALL OF THE POINTS NOTED ABOVE APPLY TO ALL FUTURES TRADING WHETHER FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC. IN ADDITION, IF YOU ARE CONTEMPLATING TRADING FOREIGN FUTURES OR OPTIONS CONTRACTS, YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL RISKS:
(13) Foreign futures transactions involve executing and clearing trades on a foreign exchange. This is the case even if the foreign exchange is formally “linked” to a domestic exchange, whereby a trade executed on one exchange liquidates or establishes a position on the other exchange. No domestic organization regulates the activities of a foreign exchange, including the execution, delivery, and clearing of transactions on such an exchange, and no domestic regulator has the power to compel enforcement of the rules of the foreign exchange or the laws of the foreign country. Moreover, such laws or regulations will vary depending on the foreign country in which the transaction occurs. For these reasons, customers who trade on foreign exchanges may not be afforded certain of the protections which apply to domestic transactions, including the right to use domestic alternative dispute resolution procedures. In particular, funds received from customers to margin foreign futures transactions may not be provided the same protections as funds received to margin futures transactions on domestic exchanges. Before you trade, you should familiarize yourself with the foreign rules which will apply to your particular transaction.
(14) Finally, you should be aware that the price of any foreign futures or option contract and, therefore, the potential profit and loss resulting therefrom, may be affected by any fluctuation in the foreign exchange rate between the time the order is placed and the foreign futures contract is liquidated or the foreign option contract is liquidated or exercised.
THIS BRIEF STATEMENT CANNOT, OF COURSE, DISCLOSE ALL THE RISKS AND OTHER ASPECTS OF THE COMMODITY MARKETS.
Risk Disclosure Statement for Futures and Options
This brief statement does not disclose all of the risks and other significant aspects of trading in futures and 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 and 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' or 'Gearing'
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' or 'geared'. 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 a 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.
CFTC 1.55 Risk Disclosure February 26, 2014 (rev July 11, 2014) Page 3
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 had 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 inquire 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 the 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.