The term security futures product (SFP) encompasses security futures and options on security futures. The term security future includes both futures on a single security (called single stock futures) and futures on narrow-based security indexes.
The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA) lifted the ban on trading of futures contracts based on single stocks. Previously, these products were prohibited from being offered in the United States. Instead, futures contracts based on securities (other than exempt securities that are not municipal securities) were allowed only on diversified indexes that contained many securities and could not be used as a surrogate for trading in a single security or small group of securities. With the passage of the CFMA, broad-based security index futures, which are not considered security futures products, continue to trade under the sole jurisdiction of the CFTC, while security futures products are subject to the joint jurisdiction of the CFTC and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
Methods for determining when an index is broad or narrow-based are discussed below.
A securities index is classified as a narrow-based security index if it meets any one of the following criteria:
Contract markets that have been designated by the CFTC (DCMs) may trade security futures products if they notice register with the SEC and comply with certain requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Likewise, national securities exchanges and national securities associations registered with the SEC may trade security futures products if they notice register with the CFTC and comply with certain requirements of the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).
Since an SFP is both a futures contract and a security, an entity effecting SFP transactions must be registered both as a futures commission merchant (FCM) with the CFTC and as a broker-dealer with the SEC. The CFTC and the SEC provide notice registration procedures for certain persons that are required to register with the respective agency solely because they are effecting SFP transactions. The notice registration procedures provide an entity that previously engaged exclusively in either the futures or securities business with the ability to participate in SFP business without having to go through a second full registration process.
To avoid conflicting or duplicative regulation, notice-registered FCMs are exempt from certain provisions of the CEA (including CFTC segregation requirements), and notice-registered broker-dealers are exempt from certain provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (including SEC Rule 15c3-3).
The CEA and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 require that securities underlying security futures products must be common stock or other equity securities as the CFTC and the SEC jointly deem appropriate. The CFTC and the SEC have jointly determined that certain American Depositary Receipts, Exchange Traded Funds, Trust Issued Receipts, closed-end funds, and debt securities also are eligible to underlie security futures products.
Broad-based Security Index
Although not defined in the CEA, a broad-based security index generally refers to any security index that would not be classified as a narrow-based security index under the definitions or exclusions set forth in the CEA and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or that meet certain criteria specified jointly by the CFTC and the SEC. Unlike SFPs, which are jointly regulated by the CFTC and the SEC, futures on broad-based security indexes are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the CFTC.
For a security index to be classified as broad-based, it must either:
Indexes defined not to be narrow-based
The CEA and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 require that securities underlying security futures products must be common stock or other equity securities as the CFTC and the SEC jointly deem appropriate. The CEA and Securities Exchange Act also authorized the CFTC and the SEC to permit trading in non-equity securities.
The CFTC and the SEC jointly determined in three actions that certain non-common-stock securities also are eligible to underlie security futures products.