Disclaimer: Unlike security options, CFE futures contracts (other than security futures) cannot be held in a securities account and are required to be held in a futures account. CFE security futures contracts may be held in either a futures account or a securities account. In order to assist those customers that wish to consider a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM), Introducing Broker (IB), or clearing firm in order to trade CFE futures contracts, we have assembled the above list of FCMs, IBs, and clearing firms offering CFE futures products.
Each Fund may purchase illiquid securities, including securities that are not readily marketable and securities that are not registered (“restricted securities”) under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”), but which can be sold to qualified institutional buyers under Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. A Fund will not invest more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets in illiquid securities. The term “illiquid securities” for this purpose means securities that cannot be disposed of within seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the amount at which the Fund has valued the securities. Under the current guidelines of the staff of the SEC, illiquid securities also are considered to include, among other securities, purchased OTC options, certain cover for OTC options, repurchase agreements with maturities in excess of seven days, and certain securities whose disposition is restricted under the federal securities laws. The Fund may not be able to sell illiquid securities when the Advisor considers it desirable to do so or may have to sell such securities at a price that is lower than the price that could be obtained if the securities were more liquid. In addition, the sale of illiquid securities also may require more time and may result in higher dealer discounts and other selling expenses than the sale of securities that are not illiquid. Illiquid securities may be more difficult to value due to the unavailability of reliable market quotations for such securities, and investments in illiquid securities may have an adverse impact on NAV.
Distributions of Shares shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all Shares. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in Shares as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners of Shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants. The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspects of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such Shares, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial owners owning through such DTC Participants.
Neither ProShares Trust nor ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, or ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury is sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Interactive Data. Interactive Data makes no representations or warranties regarding ProShares Trust or, ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, or ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury or the ability of, ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury, ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares Short 20+ Year Treasury, ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury, or ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury to track the applicable Index.
In determining its net capital gain, including in connection with determining the amount available to support a Capital Gain Dividend (as defined below), its taxable income and its earnings and profits, a RIC generally may elect to treat part or all of late-year ordinary loss (generally, its net ordinary loss attributable to the portion of the taxable year after December 31) as if incurred in the succeeding taxable year.
If a Fund that writes an option wishes to terminate the Fund’s obligation, the Fund may effect a “closing purchase transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by buying an option of the same series as the option previously written by the Fund. The effect of the purchase is that the writer’s position will be canceled by the OCC. However, a writer may not effect a closing purchase transaction after the writer has been notified of the exercise of an option. Likewise, a Fund which is the holder of an option may liquidate its position by effecting a “closing sale transaction.” The Fund accomplishes this by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased by the Fund. There is no guarantee that either a closing purchase or a closing sale transaction can be effected. If any call or put option is not exercised or sold, the option will become worthless on its expiration date. A Fund will realize a gain (or a loss) on a closing purchase transaction with respect to a call or a put option previously written by the Fund if the premium, plus commission costs, paid by the Fund to purchase the call or put option to close the transaction is less (or greater) than the premium, less commission costs, received by the Fund on the sale of the call or the put option. The Fund also will realize a gain if a call or put option which the Fund has written lapses unexercised, because the Fund would retain the premium.
William E. Seale, Ph.D., Chief Economist of ProShare Advisors since inception and ProFund Advisors LLC since 2005. Dr. Seale has more than 30 years of experience in the financial markets. His background includes a five-year presidential appointment as a commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and an appointment as Chairman of the Department of Finance at The George Washington University. He earned his degrees at the University of Kentucky.
Floating and variable rate notes generally are unsecured obligations issued by financial institutions and other entities. They typically have a stated maturity of more than one year and an interest rate that changes either at specific intervals or whenever a benchmark rate changes. The effective maturity of each floating or variable rate note in a Fund’s portfolio will be based on these periodic adjustments. The interest rate adjustments are designed to help stabilize the note’s price. While this feature helps protect against a decline in the note’s market price when interest rates rise, it lowers a Fund’s income when interest rates fall. Of course, a Fund’s income from its floating and variable rate investments also may increase if interest rates rise.
On March 18, 2013, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) a bureau of the US Department of the Treasury, issued interpretive guidance relating to the application of the Bank Secrecy Act to distributing, exchanging and transmitting “virtual currencies.” More specifically, it determined that a user of virtual currencies (such as bitcoin) for its own account will not be considered a money service business (“MSB”) or be required to register, report and perform recordkeeping; however, an administrator or exchanger of virtual currency must be a registered money services business under FinCEN’s money transmitter regulations. As a result, Bitcoin Exchanges that deal with U.S. residents or otherwise fall under U.S. jurisdiction are required to obtain licenses and comply with FinCEN regulations. FinCEN released additional guidance clarifying that, under the facts presented, miners acting solely for their own benefit, software developers, hardware manufacturers, escrow service providers and investors in bitcoin would not be required to register with FinCEN on the basis of such activity alone, but that Bitcoin Exchanges, certain types of payment processors and convertible digital asset administrators would likely be required to register with FinCEN on the basis of the activities described in the October 2014 and August 2015 letters. FinCEN has also taken significant enforcement steps against companies alleged to have violated its regulations, including the assessment in July 2017 of a civil money penalty in excess of $110 million against BTC-e for alleged willful violation of U.S. anti-money laundering laws.
Two members of the Silk Road Task Force—a multi-agency federal task force that carried out the U.S. investigation of Silk Road—seized bitcoins for their own use in the course of the investigation. DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV, who attempted to extort Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht ("Dread Pirate Roberts"), pleaded guilty to money laundering, obstruction of justice, and extortion under color of official right, and was sentenced to 6.5 years in federal prison. U.S. Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty to crimes relating to his diversion of $800,000 worth of bitcoins to his personal account during the investigation, and also separately pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection with another cryptocurrency theft; he was sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison.
The price of the futures contract can deviate from the underlying price of bitcoin on spot markets, which can vary based on sentiment. But in the end, at expiration of the contract, the contract MUST settle at the price of spot. So you need to watch the main spot market price movements because the futures contracts will track the movements underlying (sometimes leading, sometimes lagging, sometimes simultaneously). There are three Chinese exchanges worth following: OKCoin, Houbi, and BTCC; there are two Western exchanges worth following: Bitfinex and Bitstamp. Other exchanges that are currently less important but still worth keeping an eye on are: ItBit, Coinbase, OKCoin USD, BTC-e, and Kraken (which has the largest BTC/EUR orderbook as of December 2015).
THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN PREPARED BY A FUTURESONLINE BROKER WHO PROVIDES RESEARCH MARKET COMMENTARY AND TRADE RECOMMENDATIONS AS PART OF HIS OR HER SOLICITATION FOR ACCOUNTS AND SOLICITATION FOR TRADES. FUTURESONLINE, ITS PRINCIPALS, BROKERS AND EMPLOYEES MAY TRADE IN DERIVATIVES FOR THEIR OWN ACCOUNTS OR FOR THE ACCOUNTS OF OTHERS. DUE TO VARIOUS FACTORS (SUCH AS RISK TOLERANCE, MARGIN REQUIREMENTS, TRADING OBJECTIVES, SHORT TERM VS. LONG TERM STRATEGIES, TECHNICAL VS. FUNDAMENTAL MARKET ANALYSIS, AND OTHER FACTORS) SUCH TRADING MAY RESULT IN THE INITIATION OR LIQUIDATION OF POSITIONS THAT ARE DIFFERENT FROM OR CONTRARY TO THE OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS CONTAINED THEREIN.
• Risks Associated with Bitcoin – The Fund is exposed to risks associated with bitcoin. Investing in or gaining exposure to Bitcoin may provide the Fund with increased risk. Various global factors may negatively impact the Fund’s performance including legal, regulatory, political, social, regional and economic events. These risks, which could have a negative impact on the performance of the Fund and the trading price of Fund shares, include the following:
Because only a few regulations implementing the straddle rules have been promulgated, the consequences of such transactions to the Funds are not entirely clear. The straddle rules may increase the amount of short-term capital gain realized by a Fund, which is taxed as ordinary income when distributed to shareholders. Because application of the straddle rules may affect the character of gains or losses, defer losses and/or accelerate the recognition of gains or losses from the affected straddle positions, the amount which must be distributed to shareholders as ordinary income or long-term capital gain may be increased or decreased substantially as compared to a Fund that did not engage in such transactions.
• A person who exchanges Creation Units for securities generally will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and any cash received. However, all or a portion of any loss a person realizes upon an exchange of Creation Units for securities will be disallowed by the Internal Revenue Service if such person purchases other substantially identical shares of the Fund within 30 days before or after the exchange. In such case, the basis of the newly purchased shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.
shareholders, and were ineligible to or were not to cure such failure, the Fund would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation subject to U.S. federal income tax on all its income at the fund level. The resulting taxes could substantially reduce the Fund’s net assets and the amount of income available for distribution. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions.
If this sounds confusing to you, then don't worry. In practice, these futures contracts are just like buying and selling spot market value. Just focus on the price of the contract and whether you are LONG or SHORT. If you're long and the futures price goes up, the BTC value of the contract goes up and you have bought an asset that is increasing in value.
There may be circumstances outside the control of the Advisor, Trust, Administrator (as defined below), transfer agent, Custodian (as defined below), any sub-custodian, Distributor (as defined below), and/or a Fund that make it, for all practical purposes, impossible to re-position such Fund and/or to process a purchase or redemption order. Examples of such circumstances include: natural disasters; public service disruptions or utility problems such as those caused by fires, floods, extreme weather conditions, and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy, and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the aforementioned parties, as well as the DTC, the NSCC, or any other participant in the purchase process; and similar extraordinary events. Accordingly, while the Advisor has implemented and tested a business continuity plan that transfers functions of any disrupted facility to another location and has effected a disaster recovery plan, circumstances, such as those above, may prevent a Fund from being operated in a manner consistent with its investment objective and/or principal investment strategies.
Commodity Swaps. Commodity swaps are used either as substitutes for owning a specific physical commodities or as a means of obtaining non-leveraged exposure in markets where a specific commodity is not available. Commodity swaps provide the Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to commodities by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.
As bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity and in market size, certain U.S. federal and state governments, foreign governments and self-regulatory agencies have begun to examine the operations of bitcoin, digital assets, the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin users, Bitcoin Exchanges and the Bitcoin Exchange Market. These regulatory efforts include, but are not limited to, the following.
• Short Sale Exposure Risk — The Fund seeks inverse or “short” exposure through short positions in bitcoin futures contracts and other financial instruments. This will cause the Fund to be exposed to certain risks associated with selling assets short. These risks include, under certain market conditions, an increase in the volatility and decrease in the liquidity of the asset underlying the short position, which may lower the Fund’s return, result in a loss, have the effect of limiting the Fund’s ability to obtain inverse exposure through financial instruments such as swap agreements and futures contracts, or require the Fund to seek inverse exposure through alternative investment strategies that may be less desirable or more costly to implement. To the extent that, at any particular point in time, the assets underlying the short position may be thinly traded or have a limited market, including due to regulatory action, the Fund may be unable to meet its investment objective due to a lack of available securities or counterparties. During such periods, the Fund’s ability to issue additional Creation Units may be adversely affected. Obtaining inverse exposure through these instruments may be considered an aggressive investment technique. Inverse exposure must be actively managed in order to keep the Fund fully invested. See “Compounding Risk” above for an explanation of how this impacts performance
The Index Receipt Agent makes available through the NSCC on each Business Day, either immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange or the night before, the list of the names and the required number of shares of each Deposit Security to be included in the current Portfolio Deposit (based on information at the end of the previous Business Day) for each applicable Fund. Such Portfolio Deposit is applicable, subject to any adjustments as described below, in order to effect purchases of Creation Units of Shares of such Fund until the next-announced Portfolio Deposit composition is made available.
Purchasers of Shares in Creation Units are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Securities to the account of the Trust. Investors will also bear the costs of transferring securities from the Fund to their account or on their order. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services.
In the normal course of business, a Fund enters into standardized contracts created by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. (“ISDA agreements”) with certain counterparties for derivative transactions. These agreements contain, among other conditions, events of default and termination events, and various covenants and representations. Certain of the Fund’s ISDA agreements contain provisions that require the Fund to maintain a pre-determined level of net assets, and/or provide limits regarding the decline of the Fund’s NAV over specific periods of time, which may or may not be exclusive of redemptions. If the Fund were to trigger such provisions and have open derivative positions, at that time counterparties to the ISDA agreements could elect to terminate such ISDA agreements and request immediate payment in an amount equal to the net liability positions, if any, under the relevant ISDA agreement. Pursuant to the terms of its ISDA agreements, the Fund will have already collateralized its liability under such agreements, in some cases only in excess of certain threshold amounts. With uncleared swaps, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. If such default occurs, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. Thus, a Fund will typically only enter into uncleared swap agreements with major, global financial institutions that meet the Fund’s standard of creditworthiness. The Funds seek to mitigate risks by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, in an amount approximately equal to what the counterparty owes the Fund subject to certain minimum thresholds, although the Funds may not always be successful. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to the risks described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.
Each of the Funds may enter into repurchase agreements with financial institutions in pursuit of its investment objectives, as “cover” for the investment techniques it employs, or for liquidity purposes. Under a repurchase agreement, a Fund purchases a debt security and simultaneously agrees to sell the security back to the seller at a mutually agreed-upon future price and date, normally one day or a few days later. The resale price is greater than the purchase price, reflecting an agreed-upon market interest rate during the purchaser’s holding period. While the maturities of the underlying securities in repurchase transactions may be more than one year, the term of each repurchase agreement will always be less than one year. The Funds follow certain procedures designed to minimize the risks inherent in such agreements. These procedures include effecting repurchase transactions generally with major global financial institutions. The creditworthiness of each of the firms that is a party to a repurchase agreement with the Funds will be monitored by the Advisor. In addition, the value of the collateral underlying the repurchase agreement will always be at least equal to the repurchase price, including any accrued interest earned on the repurchase agreement. In the event of a default or bankruptcy by a selling financial institution, a Fund will seek to liquidate such collateral which could involve certain costs or delays and, to the extent that proceeds from any sale upon a default of the obligation to repurchase were less than the repurchase price, the Fund could suffer a loss. A Fund also may experience difficulties and incur certain costs in exercising its rights to the collateral and may lose the interest the Fund expected to receive under the repurchase agreement. Repurchase agreements usually are for short periods, such as one week or less, but may be longer. It is the current policy of the Funds not to invest in repurchase agreements that do not mature within seven days if any such investment, together with any other illiquid assets held by the Fund, amounts to more than 15% of the Fund’s total net assets. The investments of each of the Funds in repurchase agreements at times may be substantial when, in the view of the Advisor, liquidity, investment, regulatory, or other considerations so warrant.
Futures contracts expire on a designated date, referred to as the “expiration date.” Each Fund typically will invest in “lead month” contracts. Lead month contracts are the monthly contracts with the earliest expiration date. Bitcoin futures contracts listed on the CBOE Futures Exchange (“CFE”) or Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) will be cash settled on their expiration date unless they are “rolled” prior to expiration. Each Fund generally intends to “roll” its bitcoin futures contracts prior to expiration to the next “nearby” bitcoin futures contract. The “nearby” contracts are those contracts with the next closest expiration date. The Funds will incur the costs (or benefits) of continually rolling into the new lead month contracts.
• Liquidity Risk — In certain circumstances, such as the disruption of the orderly markets for the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the Fund might not be able to acquire or dispose of certain holdings quickly or at prices that represent true market value in the judgment of ProShare Advisors. Markets may be disrupted by a number of events, including but not limited to cyber-attacks, economic crises, natural disasters, new legislation, or regulatory changes inside or outside the U.S.
Each of the Exchanges has established limitations governing the maximum number of call or put options on the same index which may be bought or written (sold) by a single investor, whether acting alone or in concert with others (regardless of whether such options are written on the same or different Exchanges or are held or written on one or more accounts or through one or more brokers). Under these limitations, option positions of all investment companies advised by the same investment adviser are combined for purposes of these limits. Pursuant to these limitations, an Exchange may order the liquidation of positions and may impose other sanctions or restrictions. These position limits may restrict the number of listed options which a Fund may buy or sell; however, the Advisor intends to comply with all limitations.
Other forms of swap agreements that the Funds may enter into include: interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap”; interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified level, or “floor”; and interest rate collars, under which a party sells a cap and purchases a floor or vice versa in an attempt to protect itself against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels.
There's a lot of ins and outs which can get confusing in arbitrage trading. We won't go into the technicals of why futures contracts trade at a premium to spot price. You can read a full explanation here. If it's not of interest to you, all you need to know is that there's a tendency, the further out in time the futures contract expires, for the premium to spot to be higher and higher in nominal percentage terms.