Bloomberg News

BOX Exchange Gets SEC OK to Trade Jumbo S&P 500 ETF Options

May 06, 2013

BOX Options Exchange, the third- smallest of 11 U.S. options venues, will be the first to begin trading larger-size contracts on the most-active U.S. equity derivatives product, according to a company executive.

BOX will list and trade contracts based on 1,000 shares of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust starting May 10, according to Ed Boyle, senior vice president for strategy at the Boston-based exchange. The so-called jumbo options, approved May 3 by the Securities and Exchange Commission, will be 10 times larger than existing contracts on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index exchange- traded fund, known by the ticker symbol SPY.

The contract is designed to give institutional investors another way to trade the S&P 500 at a time when many asset managers are increasing their use of ETFs as part of their investment strategies. Institutions often use larger-size contracts like S&P 500 options that enable them to buy or sell bigger positions without signaling their intentions and moving the market.

“We see customer demand for the product because it offers flexibility to institutions and traders looking for larger notional size in trades,” Boyle said by phone. “It also provides additional price competition across indexes and ETFs.”

The contracts, which will be a separate product from the regular-size options based on 100 shares of the S&P 500 ETF, also offer an alternative to indexes such as the S&P 500, which trades exclusively on the Chicago Board Options Exchange, Boyle said.

ETF Popularity

Some 18 percent of institutional investors in the U.S. now have ETFs among their holdings, up from 14 percent in 2012, according to a report today from research firm Greenwich Associates.

BOX’s pricing, which will be announced in the middle of this week, will not be the standard taker/maker structure the venue uses for many options, Boyle said. The taker/maker regime pays firms to trade with bids and offers on the exchange and charges those providing quotes.

If daily average volume exceeds 20,000 contracts by the end of the year, BOX will consider the jumbo SPY options a success, Boyle said. The exchange may ask the SEC for permission to introduce jumbo options on other actively traded ETFs including those based on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq-100 Index, he said.

Other options exchanges are likely to list and trade jumbo SPY (SPY:US) options, Boyle said. BOX, owned by the operator of the Toronto stock market and a group of brokers, asked permission to trade the product in January. The SEC approval came over objections by CBOE Holdings Inc. (CBOE:US), NYSE Euronext and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc.

BOX had 2.2 percent of U.S. volume in April, according to data compiled by Chicago-based Options Clearing Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nina Mehta in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson in New York at

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Companies Mentioned

  • SPY
    (SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust)
    • $206.52 USD
    • -0.26
    • -0.13%
  • CBOE
    (CBOE Holdings Inc)
    • $64.17 USD
    • -0.30
    • -0.47%
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