The first group of participants in the commodities and options markets are commercial and institutional users of the commodities they trade. For example, a company or individual who holds an asset such as coffee, corn, soybeans, U.S. Treasury bonds, or a portfolio of stocks, wants the value of that asset to increase. That person also wants to limit, if possible, any loss in value. The company or individual may use the commodity markets to take an opposite position that can minimize the risk of financial loss from holding those assets when and if their price changes. This is form of futures trading is called "hedging."
Other participants are speculators who hope to profit from changes in the price of the futures contract. A speculator buying a contract or call option, or selling a put option, hopes to profit from rising prices, while a speculator selling a contract or call option, or buying a put option, hopes to profit from declining prices. Because, unlike a hedger, a speculator does not own the underlying commodity, the components of the underlying index, or other product, losses in the market are not offset by gains in the cash market, and speculators can lose substantial amounts.
Individuals do participate in the markets. An individual who owns or runs a business might participate as a hedger. Or, an individual with a substantial and diversified portfolio of investments might speculate using futures and/or options trading.
Insignia Futures & Options offers both Speculative and Hedge accounts to accommodate your investment objectives and strategies.
Futures and option trading is inherently complex and risky, and it is not appropriate for all investors. You should know how much you potentially can lose and honestly evaluate if you can afford to lose it in view of your financial resources and investment goals. An Insignia Futures & Options representative is available to discuss your investment objectives and goals to help you determine if futures and options trading is right for you. If you decide you have the resources and the reasons to invest in futures, you should also determine the extent to which you plan to rely on your own trading decisions and/or if you desire assistance by working with an Insignia Futures & Options broker. We offer three trading account plans to accommodate your trading needs; Self-Directed, Broker-Assisted and Full-Service. Like other financial markets, futures and options markets are cyclical and gains may not be immediate. Finally, remember that, because of the leveraged nature of futures, losses can be more than your original deposit.
In the United States, futures contracts and options on futures contracts must be executed on or subject to the rules of a commodity futures exchange. But you, as an individual, cannot trade directly on an exchange. A commodity futures brokerage firm must trade on your behalf. As a fully registered commodity futures broker with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and member of the National Futures Association (NFA), Insignia Futures & Options can accommodate all of your trading needs.
You may open an Individual, Joint, Business, Trust or IRA futures trading account with Insignia Futures & Options. A new trading account application will need to be submitted and can be accessed on our New Accounts web page. Once your account application has been processed and your account is funded ($2,000.00 minimum), your account will be activated and ready to begin trading. Depending on your level of trading experience and/or investment objectives, you will choose the account plan that best suits your needs. Our Self-Directed plan is designed for the experienced trader who needs no assistance with their trading or investment objectives and is able to place his or her commodity futures & options trades confidently and without the need for advice from a futures broker. Our Broker-Assisted plan is designed for the new or casual trader who likes to develop their own trading strategies but requires assistance from a futures broker with placing orders and/or understanding general market procedures and practices. Our Full-Service plan is designed for all levels of traders seeking a personal relationship with a futures broker. As a Full-Service client, you will receive our trade recommendations based upon our proprietary trading strategies. You will work one-on-one with a futures broker to fully assist you with all of your trading and market education needs. To learn more about Insignia Futures & Options' three trading account plans, please visit our Trading Services web page.
When you enter into a commodity or option contract through your trading account, you are required to make a payment referred to as a "margin payment" or "performance bond." This payment is small relative to the value of your market position, providing you with the ability to "leverage" your funds. Because trading commodities and option contracts is leveraged, small changes in price, which occur frequently, can result in large gains or losses in a short period of time.
Each day, Insignia Futures & Options will calculate the current value of contract positions held in your account. If the equity in your account has declined in value to the "maintenance margin level" (approximately 75% of the amount required to enter into the trades originally), you are required to provide more margin money to restore the initial margin level (this is called a "margin call"). This eliminates the need to make repeated margin calls when daily price changes are relatively small.
If you fail to meet a margin call within a reasonable period of time, which could be as little as one hour, we may close out your positions to reduce your margin deficiency. If your position(s) were liquidated at a loss, you would continue to be liable for that loss.