The basic margin requirement for security futures is 20% of the underlying value of the contract (initial and maintenance margin).
- This 20% minimum may be reduced for certain types of futures market positions, such as calendar and basket spreads, and for certain offsetting positions in stock options and cash securities, provided the security futures are held in securities accounts.
- Margin requirements can be satisfied with cash, margin securities and open trade equity in other futures accounts.
- Certain industry professionals (such as qualified market makers) are exempt from these requirements.
- Portfolio-based margining (e.g. SPAN margining) is not yet permitted for customer positions in security futures. Firms will nonetheless continue to receive SPAN files that reflect the appropriate minimum margin requirements.
OneChicago has prepared a Q&A document that discusses the margin requirements for security futures that have been established by the CFTC and SEC. The document provides answers to many commonly asked questions about those requirements, including the margin offsets that may be available to investors under certain circumstances and other margin-related matters.
Investors should be aware that this material describes minimum margin requirements and discusses offsets that are permissible under CFTC/SEC guidelines and OneChicago’s proposed rules. The margin requirements applicable to a particular investor’s account may vary. For example, a brokerage firm may choose to require higher margin deposits than the minimums permitted under the rules. Investors are encouraged to discuss the margin requirements for their accounts directly with their broker.
Full Text of Margin Rules
See Chapter 5 of OneChicago’s Rule Book, specifically Rule 515 and Schedule A, for OneChicago’s margin requirements.
You may also download the final SEC/CFTC rules as published in the Federal Register, under which OneChicago’s margin requirements were developed.