Release Number 5505-08

Release: 5505-08

For Release: June 3, 2008

CFTC and SEC Approve Trading of Futures and Option Contracts on Gold ETF

First Results of March 2008 CFTC-SEC Memorandum of Understanding

Washington, DC – The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today announced that each has approved the trading and clearing of two novel derivative products – futures and option contracts based on shares of the SPDR® Gold Trust (Gold Trust), an exchange traded fund (ETF). The CFTC approved trading in futures on the Gold Trust shares and the SEC approved trading in options on them. The CFTC’s and SEC’s approvals are expected to harness the power of market forces in determining the viability of the products and are designed to ensure that appropriate public, market participant, and financial protections are in place. Additionally, the coordinated product approvals are expected to enhance legal and regulatory certainty for users of the new products.

Futures contracts on the Gold Trust’s shares will trade on OneChicago, a security futures exchange. Option contracts will be listed on the American Stock Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, International Securities Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange, and the NYSE Arca Exchange. The Options Clearing Corporation will clear both types of contracts.

CFTC Acting Chairman Walter Lukken said: “The actions announced today represent a major victory for the cause of financial innovation and will help promote competition among America's financial markets. With these actions, the CFTC and the SEC have begun a new era of cooperation, guided by the interagency agreement signed in March of this year. I believe that America's markets and market participants can only benefit from such close cooperation between government regulators.”

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said: “Today’s approvals offer America’s investors in gold an alternative that may, for many, be a more convenient and cost effective way to manage their risks. Today’s approvals also represent a significant step forward for the SEC and the CFTC in our inter-agency cooperation. America’s investors deserve a clear and united voice from government regulators on how these products will be treated under the law. Today’s coordinated product approvals provide that clarity and consistency.”

In order to address growing areas of mutual interest, the CFTC and SEC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 11, 2008, that established a permanent regulatory liaison between the agencies (see CFTC Press Release 5468-08, March 11, 2008). The MOU provides for enhanced information sharing and articulates several key principles intended to guide the agencies’ review of novel derivative products containing elements of both securities and commodity futures or options. In accordance with these principles, the agencies have recognized their mutual regulatory interests and have agreed to encourage innovation, competition, market neutrality, and legal certainty. Today’s approvals for the trading of futures and option contracts on shares of the Gold Trust represent the first product approvals under the MOU.

Media Contacts
Ianthe Zabel

R. David Gary

Last Updated: June 3, 2008