Options Contrary Exercise Instructions

A contrary instruction must be submitted by the clearing firm when a customer submits a request to exercise an "out-of-the-money" option or to abandon an "in-the-money" option. Contrary instructions are not allowed in some products on the day trading in those products terminates. Abandoned “in-the-money” options and unexercised “out-of-the-money” options will expire (i.e. do not result in a futures position).

Expiring Options Assignment Process

All options that are "in-the-money" will be automatically exercised at expiration, and all options that are “out-of-the-money” will be abandoned. There are two types of behavior for how Puts and Calls are handled for those option strikes that expire exactly "at-the-money." 

  • Abandon Calls and Puts – “At-the-money” options are considered “out-of-the-money” and both Calls and Puts will be abandoned.  
  • Exercise Calls and Abandon Puts – For "at-the-money" options, all Call options will be treated as '"in-the-money" and will be exercised, while all Put options will be treated as "out-of-the-money" and will be abandoned.  

Beginning in November 2019, we started to make procedural changes to the expiring option assignment process. The intent of these changes is to provide assignment results as early as possible for expiring options. Complete details may be viewed HERE.

Please refer to the link below for questions about the characteristics of a specific Option contract:
Download List of Option Products and Unique Characteristics

The NYMEX/COMEX Strike Price Listing Procedures and Exercise Procedures Table may be viewed HERE.

Clearing Instruction Deadlines and Option Exception Reports:

Submission Deadline

Product Type / Summary Report*

Assignment Times

E&A Report Times

2:00pm London Time

Dutch & UK Nat Gas

6:00 pm London Time/1:00 pm ET

6:30 pm London Time/1:30 pm ET

9:30 a.m. ET

NYMEX Early Coal Option Contracts (F2C, F2Q, F4C, F4Q, MTC, MFY)

8:45am CT / 9:45am ET

9:15am CT / 10:45am ET

3:30 p.m. ET

NYMEX Brent Crude Oil Futures Style Margin Option Contracts (BZO) UPDATE: No Contrary Instructions Commencing with March 2020 - SER-8430

6:15pm CT / 7:15pm ET

6:45pm CT / 7:45pm ET

4:30 p.m. ET

NYMEX and COMEX Option Contracts

3:45pm CT / 4:45pm ET

4:15pm CT / 5:15pm ET

6:30 p.m. ET

NYMEX Late Power and Coal Contracts

6:15pm CT / 7:15pm ET

6:45pm CT / 7:45pm ET

5:30 p.m. CT

CBOT Flex Option Contracts

5:45pm CT/
6:45pm ET

6:15pm CT/
7:15pm ET

5:30 p.m. CT

CME Option Contracts

5:45pm CT / 6:45pm ET

6:15pm CT / 7:15pm ET

5:30 p.m. CT

CBOT Option Contracts

5:45pm CT / 6:45pm ET

6:15pm CT / 7:15pm ET

*The summary reports are produced after the various exercise submission deadlines and reflect submitted instructions from clearing firms. E&A Report times are approximate and may differ.
**Effective October 14, 2019, the Option Exception Summary reports (POS699) will contain early option instructions in addition to contrary instructions on expiring options as described in Clearing advisory 19-339
*** Effective March 9, 2020, Late Coal and Power Option Contracts will change Submission Deadline, Assignment Time and E&A Report Time. See below for more details

Advisory Notices

In response to firm feedback, CME Clearing will make the following changes to the Exercise and Assignment (E/A) cycle and processing to deliver results earlier:

Phase 1 – Implemented 11/20/19  - Advisory

  • 5:30 CT / 6:30 ET: Deadline for Post-Trade Processing, and Transfers for Expiring CME FX Options
  • 5:45 CT / 6:45 ET: Run an E/A cycle for all Expiring CME FX Options

Phase 2 – Implemented 12/9/19 - Advisory

  • 3:30 CT / 4:30 ET: Deadline for Contrary Instructions for ALL NYMEX/COMEX Options
  • 3:30 CT / 4:30 ET: Deadline for Post-Trade Processing, and Transfers for Expiring NYMEX/COMEX Options
  • 3:45 CT / 4:45 ET: Run an E/A cycle for all Expiring NYMEX/COMEX Options

Phase 3 – Implemented 2/10/2020 - Advisory

  • 5:30 CT / 6:30 ET: Deadline for Contrary Instructions for ALL CME, CBT, and CBT Flex Options
  • 5:30 CT / 6:30 ET: Deadline for Post-Trade Processing, and Transfers for Expiring CME, CBT, and CBT Flex Options
  • 5:45 CT / 6:45 ET: Run an E/A cycle for all Expiring CME, CBT, and CBT Flex Options

Phase 4 – Implemented 3/9/20 - Advisory

  • 5:30 CT / 6:30 ET: Deadline for Contrary Instructions for ALL Late Coal and Power Options

NOTE: Option Instructions, for all non-expiring options, will also be subject to the daily NYMEX/COMEX (3:30 CT / 4:30 ET), and CME/CBT (5:30 CT / 6:30 ET) Contrary Instruction deadline.

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