RISK DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- You should consult your futures commission merchant concerning the nature of the protections available to safeguard funds or property deposited for your account.
- 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”).
- All futures positions involve risk, and a “spread” position may not be less risky than an outright “long” or “short” position.
- The high degree of leverage (gearing) that is often obtainable in futures trading because the small margin requirements can work against you as well as for you. Leverage (gearing) can lead to large losses as well as gains.
- 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 website firm specific disclosures and financial information to assist you with your assessment and selection of a futures commission merchant. Information regarding this futures commission merchant may be obtained here.
Variable Degree of risk
- Transactions in options carry a high degree of risk. Purchasers and seller 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 deep-out-of-the-money options, you should be aware that the chance of such options becoming profitable is ordinarily 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 position 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.
- 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
Terms and conditions of contracts
- You should ask the firm with which you deal about the term 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.
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.
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 specified legislation or local rules. In some jurisdictions, property which has 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Trading on an 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 risk 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
ELECTRONIC TRADING AND ORDER ROUTING SYSTEMS DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Electronic trading and order routing systems differ from traditional open outcry pit trading and manual order routing methods. Transactions using an electronic system are subject to the rules and regulations of the exchange(s) offering the system and/or listing the contract. Before you engage in transactions using an electronic system, you should carefully review the rules and regulations of the exchange(s) offering the system and/or listing contracts you intend to trade.
DIFFERENCES AMONG ELECTRONIC TRADING SYSTEMS
Trading or routing orders through electronic systems varies widely among different electronic systems. You should consult the rules and regulations of the exchange offering the electronic system and/or listing the contract traded or order routed to understand, among other things, in the case of trading systems, the system’s order matching procedure, opening and closing procedures and prices, error trade policies, and trading limitations or requirements; and in the case of all systems, qualifications for access and grounds for termination and limitations on the types of orders that may be entered into the system. Each of these matters may present different risk factors with respect to trading on or using a particular system. Each system may also present risks related to the system access, varying response times, and security. In the case of internet-based systems, there may be additional types of risks related to system access, varying response times and security, as well as risks related to service providers and the receipt and monitoring of electronic mail.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH SYSTEM FAILURE
Trading through an electronic trading or order routing system exposes you to risks associated with system or component failure. In the event of system or component failure, it is possible that for a certain time period, you may not be able to enter new orders, execute existing orders, or modify or cancel orders that were previously entered. System or component failure may also result in loss of orders or order priority.
SIMULTANEOUS OPEN OUTCRY PIT AND ELECTRONIC TRADING
Some contracts offered on an electronic trading system may be traded electronically and through open outcry during the same trading hours. You should review the rules and regulations of the exchange offering the system and/or listing the contract to determine how orders that do not designate a particular process will be executed.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
Exchanges offering an electronic trading or order routing system and/or listing the contract may have adopted rules to limit their liability, the liability of FCMs, and software and communication system vendors and the amount of damages you may collect for system failure and delays. These limitations of liability provisions vary among the exchanges. You should consult the rules and regulations of the relevant exchange(s) in order to understand these liability limitations. Each exchange’s relevant rules are available upon request from the industry professional with whom you have an account. Some exchange’s relevant rules also are available on the exchange’s internet home page.