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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Gold Investors Granted New ETF Options

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Investors in ETFs are getting added leverage thanks to the SEC and CFTC. The two regulators ruled Tuesday that investors can trade futures and option contracts derived from SSgA's SPDR Gold Trust.

Before now investors had not been able to trade derivatives based on an ETF.

Regulators pointed to the increased innovation and competition between products that will be created by the new products as a reason for the regulatory shift.

Press Release


First Results of March 2008 SEC-CFTC Memorandum of Understanding

Washington, D.C., June 3, 2008 – The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) 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 SEC approved trading in options on the Gold Trust shares and the CFTC approved trading in futures on them.

The SEC’s and CFTC’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.

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

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.”

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.”

In order to address growing areas of mutual interest, the SEC and CFTC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on March 11, 2008, that established a permanent regulatory liaison between the agencies. 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.

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