Mini Options FAQ

What is a mini option?

A mini option is an option contract that represents 10 shares of an underlying security, unlike a standard option contract that represents 100 shares of an underlying security.

Will mini options be available on all option symbols?

The SEC approved mini options on five underlying securities: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Google Inc. (GOOG), SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) exchange-trade fund, and SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) exchange-traded fund.

Why were those five securities chosen?

In part, it's because the underlying securities and associated options have active markets. In addition, all of these securities are high-priced (trading greater than $100 per share), which can make the standard 100-share options contract expensive for individual investors. The small contract size allows you to sell covered calls and hedge odd-lot positions (less than 100 shares) you may hold in your portfolio.

Will mini options trade like standard options?

Yes.

Mini options have the same strike prices as standard contracts and, like standard options, have American-style weekly, monthly, and quarterly expirations. Mini options quote and trade with the same minimum price increments as standard contracts. If the standard contract is part of the Penny Pilot program and quotes and trades in penny increments, the mini contracts will quote and trade in penny increments.

What will be the obvious difference be between mini options and standard options?

The total value of the options contract is one-tenth the value of a standard contract. Based on the chart below, buying one standard April 550 call of XYZ would have a total value (or premium) of $745* and control 100 shares valued at $55,000. The same mini option would have a total value of $74.50 and control 10 shares valued at $5,500.

Here is a side-by-side comparison, for illustration purposes only, between a standard XYZ contract and a mini XYZ contract:

XYZ

Standard Option

Mini Option

Shares Deliverable Upon Exercise

100

10

Strike Price

April 550

April 550

Bid/Offer Price

$7.20 x $7.45

$7.20 x $7.45

Premium Multiplier

100

10

Total Value of Deliverable

$55,000

$5,500

Total Value of Contract

$745.00

$74.50

What order types and trading strategies will be available on mini options?

You can trade mini options online in the Scottrade® Client Website, Scottrader® Streaming Quotes, ScottradeELITE® and Scottrade® Mobile . All order types and strategies offered by Scottrade are available for mini options.

Can I use mini options in a covered call strategy**?

Yes. You can sell covered calls on positions that are less than 100 shares. With mini options, you can sell one call contract for every 10 shares held in an account.

For example: If you hold 70 shares of XYZ, you can sell seven mini XYZ calls.

In addition, if you hold a mixed-lot position (positions greater than 100 shares but not divisible by 100), you will be able to combine selling standard and mini options to execute a covered call strategy on that position.

For example: If you hold 150 shares of XYZ, you can sell one standard XYZ call and five mini XYZ calls.

What are commissions for mini options at Scottrade?

All standard option order and contracts fees apply***.

How will I be able to identify mini options on Scottrade's various tools?

The Quotes & Research section of the website has a “MINI” selection after you select the Options Tab. Mini options for each of the five securities have their own options chains, which you can access through the MINI link. Mini options are identified with the “MINI” identifier elsewhere on Scottrade.com, including the Overview tab on the Positions page and in all statement and confirms, which includes orders, positions, watchlists, alerts, trades, account history and order status. In Scottrade Elite and Scottrader, mini options are identified with the letter “M” next to the strike price on the option chain and in the strike price selection at order entry.

*This example does not reflect added commissions. Scottrade's standard option commission charge $7 plus an additional $1.25 per individual contract. Multi-leg purchases may be subject to additional $1.25 charges per leg. Please be aware that profits will be reduced or loss worsened, as applicable by the by the deduction of commissions and fees.

**The covered call option strategy may help generate income and offer limited downside protection, but does not provide full downside protection and may limit profit potential.

***Scottrade's standard option commission charge $7 plus an additional $1.25 per individual contract. Multi-leg purchases may be subject to additional $1.25 charges per leg.

The information and content provided in the Scottrade® Knowledge Center is for informational and/or educational purposes only. The information presented or discussed is not, and should not be considered, a recommendation or an offer of, or solicitation of an offer by, Scottrade or its affiliates to buy, sell or hold any security or other financial product or an endorsement or affirmation of any specific investment strategy. You are fully responsible for your investment decisions. Your choice to engage in a particular investment or investment strategy should be based solely on your own research and evaluation of the risks involved, your financial circumstances and your investment objectives. Scottrade, Inc. and its affiliates are not offering or providing, and will not offer or provide, any advice, opinion or recommendation of the suitability, value or profitability of any particular investment or investment strategy.