Options exchanges have a cut-off time of 4: CT, for receiving an exercise notice. Be aware that most brokerage firms have an earlier cut-off time for submitting exercise instructions in order to meet exchange deadlines.
All standardized equity options use American-style exercise. American-style exercise means that you can exercise your contract any day that the market is open before the expiration date. The last day to exercise a monthly American-style option is usually the third Friday of the month in which the contract expires expiration Friday. Most, but not all, index options use European-style exercise.
This means that the only time you can exercise your contract is the last trading day usually Friday before expiration. Even though there is only one day to exercise your contract, you can always close out your option position in the market on any day prior to expiration. Thursday before expiration is typically the last trading day for European-style index options.
Each investor should ensure that they fully understand the product specifications of the product they intend to trade. As soon as you tell your broker you want to exercise your right to buy the stock strictly speaking, give irrevocable instructions you are a stockowner. Because of the irrevocable nature of the call exercise, you are buying the stock at the strike price. Some investors may be able to sell stock immediately upon exercise and others may not be able to sell until after the shares have settled.
The short answer is yes. If you exercise an option, the settlement occurs just as if you bought or sold stock on an exchange. For example, if you exercised a call and simultaneously sold the equivalent shares of stock, those transactions offset each other. Assuming the option is in-the-money, there is no need to post margin for offsetting transactions. As always, you will want to check with your brokerage firm to ensure you understand their policies.
Each brokerage firm has a procedure outlined in your account agreement forms. Customers should be familiar with these procedures. The option holder can always submit instructions to their broker regarding whether to exercise or not to exercise. A customer may decide not to exercise an in-the-money option in some cases. It is best to have an understanding with your broker on actual procedure. They may have a threshold imposed for automatically exercising customer orders.
Here is a description of the procedure:. In this procedure, OCC exercises options that are in-the-money by specified threshold amounts unless the clearing member submits instructions not to exercise these options.
Expiring options subject to exercise by exception use the following thresholds to trigger exercise:. Individuals sometimes incorrectly refer to the "exercise by exception" procedure for expiring options as "automatic exercise. The exercise threshold amounts used in "exercise by exception" trigger "automatic" exercise only in the absence of contrary instructions from the clearing member. Because the right of choice is always involved in "exercise by exception," exercise under these procedures is not, strictly speaking, "automatic.
The exchanges that list the products will have that information available on their websites. You will need to check the specifications of each product you intend to trade. An investor might look at the premium of a call option to determine likelihood of early assignment. An option's premium consists of two parts: Intrinsic value is the amount by which an option is in-the-money. Time value is the premium amount in excess of the intrinsic value. When an option holder exercises an option early, they forfeit any time value priced into the option.
This is one reason that an option holder might not exercise an option early. An option writer should consider the perspective of the option holder. The option holder most likely makes his or her decision to exercise or sell the option on the most profitable outcome. The following example illustrates this point: In the above example, if the investor wanted to own the underlying stock, the choice to sell the option and use the option proceeds to buy the underlying stock might be the more profitable alternative.
Finally, OCC randomly assigns exercise notices to its clearing members who, in turn assign their customers. Ask your brokerage firm how it allocates assignments. If your plan is to meet your stock delivery obligation by exercising your long call, discuss this with your broker and give your brokerage firm exercise instructions for the long call.
As the ex-date for a dividend approaches, there is increased likelihood that call holders will exercise in-the-money calls. Because call holders seek to capture an impending dividend by exercising, a call writer's chances of assignment may increase as the ex-date for a dividend on the underlying security nears. Learn more by taking our online, Introduction to Spreading class.
A call holder is entitled to the dividend if the holder exercises the call prior to the ex-dividend date. An assigned call writer covered or not is obligated to deliver the stock plus the dividend. According to OCC statistics for year for activity in customer and firm accounts , the breakdown is as follows:. The exercise style of an option does not prevent an investor from closing the position via a transaction on an exchange any time up to and including the last trading day.
An option holder can close a long purchased option contract by one of two methods: An option holder can only exercise a European-style exercise option at expiration, so the only way to close your position prior to expiration is to execute a closing trade. Index options have different exercise styles and trading hours.
Make certain you know the difference between closing an open option position by exercising the contract, and closing the position via a trade on an exchange. Even the last trading day for expiring options can vary. The contract specifications of these index products contain important trading information regarding these options.
Probably, but discuss this with your brokerage firm to be sure. If you are long stock i. When a stock exchange halts trading in a stock, the options exchanges also halt trading in the options.
This lack of trading typically does not affect the ability of put or call holders to exercise unless the put holder's brokerage firm imposes restrictions. Some firms may impose exercise restrictions for put holders who don't have long stock if the stock is hard to borrow or other reasons. There may be locating requirements in those instances.
Option holders are encouraged and may be required to enter explicit instructions with their firm to exercise any expiring option.
Depending on when the trading halt occurred, the options may be removed from ex-by-ex- processing automatic exercise. Read OCC Memo to learn more about trading halts.
OCC's rules and procedures do not override or take precedence over these regulations. Address any questions about such rules or their applicability to the exercise of a given option position to the brokerage firm holding the investor's position. This web site discusses exchange-traded options issued by The Options Clearing Corporation.
No statement in this web site is to be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell a security, or to provide investment advice. Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Prior to buying or selling an option, a person must receive a copy of Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Copies of this document may be obtained from your broker, from any exchange on which options are traded or by contacting The Options Clearing Corporation, One North Wacker Dr.
There is no definitive way to determine when an option holder will exercise an option. According to OCC statistics for year for activity in customer and firm accounts , the breakdown is as follows: Closing Sells - Email an options professional now.
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