OCC, the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization, and a leader of the U.S. Securities Markets Coalition, said today that it is gratified that the Department of Labor's final fiduciary rule appropriately moved away from limiting the ability of investors to hold listed options in their retirement accounts. However, OCC continues to review the final rule to determine whether it may inappropriately limit options education provided by firms to their retirement customers.
"OCC and the Securities Markets Coalition are studying the Labor Department's new fiduciary rule as it relates to the use of listed options," said Craig Donohue, OCC Executive Chairman. "We are gratified that the Department's final rule appropriately moved away from limiting the ability of investors to hold listed options in their retirement accounts. Providing individuals with the right risk management tools to help them save for their own retirement is now more important than ever.
"However, we are concerned that the final rule may limit the ability of brokers to provide education regarding listed options to self-directed investors. Investor education is exactly what is needed in order to promote responsible and prudent use of listed options by investors.
"We will continue to study the rule, and if appropriate, continue to fight aggressively on behalf of investors who use listed options in their retirement accounts. We also thank those Members of Congress who supported us through this process."
Over the years, individual investors have found listed options to be very valuable risk management tools to help them save for retirement, particularly by generating additional income by selling covered calls or protecting their stock holdings through protective puts.
The TABB Group, a prominent industry research firm, said that based on 2014 total equity options volume of 3.8 billion contracts traded on U.S. options exchanges, approximately 85.5 million listed options contracts were traded by individual investors in their IRA accounts.
OCC and the Coalition submitted two comment letters to the Department of Labor regarding the fiduciary rule. Click for the July 17, 2015 and September 24, 2015 comment letters.