To the Options Industry Council, of course!
Created in 1992 by OCC, the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization, and the U.S. options exchanges, the Options Industry Council (OIC) is considered the leading source for unbiased information for investors looking for ways to manage their financial risk.
For nearly 25 years, OIC's mission has been to increase awareness, understanding and responsible use of exchange-listed options among a global audience of investors, including individuals, financial advisors and institutional managers, by providing independent education combined with practical expertise.
The 2015 OIC Study of Investors found that options users are passionate, active investors who are more likely to increase their trading of options than their trading of either stocks or bonds over the next year. The study found that a lack of understanding or knowledge is the major stumbling block preventing non-users from trading options now.
And that is where the OIC comes in. Our mission is to help educate investors on the responsible use of listed options. Due in large part to our educational programs and outreach, investors are becoming increasingly aware that listed options are a versatile financial risk management tool. As a result, investors' use of options has grown dramatically. Total trading volume in listed options in 1995 was 1.1 million contracts - an amount that today is surpassed within the first half hour of trading where the average daily volume currently exceeds 16 million contracts.
Options volume has grown tremendously from 202 million contracts cleared by OCC in 1992 to 4.1 billion contracts cleared in 2015, worth more than $4 trillion in notional value. Also, options premiums totaled more than $1 trillion for the first time in 2007 and have continued to exceed that mark ever since.
OIC delivers its educational content through The Options Education Program (OEP), which is accessible at www.OptionsEducation.org. It features online courses, podcasts, webcasts and videos. OEP allows participants to tailor their learning experience at their own pace. Additionally, OIC offers live seminars, mobile tools and one-on-one investor services support from knowledgeable options professionals.
We are increasing the availability of our educational content via a stronger digital distribution strategy. Through the first half of 2016, OIC hosted 14 webinars and presented options education with partners including Fidelity, ETF.com, Inside ETFs, and Saxo Bank. OIC's webinars covered topics such as Managing Market Volatility in the 2016 Election Cycle, as well as options basics and how to use various spread strategies. The webinars reached an audience of nearly 4,700 attendees, an 80 percent increase over program participation the first half of 2015. OIC's wildly successful Wide World of Options radio program released seven shows so far this year and has received more than 55,000 downloads.
Live educational events are becoming increasingly popular among investment advisors. On May 12, 2016, OIC hosted a Financial Advisor Forum in L.A. for more than 100 top financial advisors including representatives from 46 companies with over $15 billion in managed assets. Attendees learned about trends in ETF options as well as managing market volatility.
OIC also collaborates with market participants via the OIC Roundtable, the independent governing body of the OIC comprised of representatives from the exchanges, member brokerage firms and OCC. These organizations have one goal in mind for the options investing public: to provide a financially sound and efficient marketplace where investors can hedge investment risk and find new opportunities for benefiting from market participation. Education is one of many areas that assist in accomplishing that goal. More and more individuals understand the versatility that options offer their investment portfolio, due in large part to the industry's ongoing educational efforts.
We believe that providing unbiased education to market participants will continue to be a key factor to the growth of options investing. So please follow the OCC Blog as we plan to post educational content in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about how to invest with options or you are looking for more sophisticated trading strategies, I encourage you to visit our website at www.OptionsEducation.org.