Availability of LEAPS®
The exchanges used to list LEAPS earlier in the year. When did they change the procedures? And why do the exchanges list fewer LEAPS than in years past?
In September 2008, the U.S. options exchanges and OCC received Securities and Exchange Commission approval to standardize many of the listing criteria found in the Options Listing Procedure Plan (OLPP). Due to listing of many one-point strikes (16, 17, 18, 19, etc.) as well as other products, such as quarterly options, the options exchanges decided to list LEAPS only on products that have an average daily volume of at least 1000 contracts. The dates for next year's LEAPS listing can be found in this FAQ's section.
The relevant language related to this topic has been excerpted below and can be found on Page 8 of the OLPP (link to the OLPP can be found below):
(e) With regard to the listing of new January Long-term Equity AnticiPation ("LEAP") series on equity option classes, options on Exchange Traded Funds ("ETF"), or options on Trust Issued Receipts ("TIR"), the Series Selecting Exchange and any other exchange that lists and trades the same option class shall not add new LEAP series on that option class:
(i) Earlier than September (which is 28 months before the expiration), for an option class on the January expiration cycle;
(ii) Earlier than October (which is 27 months before expiration), for an option class on the February expiration cycle; and
(iii) Earlier than November (which is 26 months before expiration), for an option class on the March expiration cycle.
Exchanges that list and trade the same equity option class, ETF option class, or TIR option class are authorized to jointly determine and coordinate with OCC on the date of introduction of new LEAP series for that option class consistent with the above paragraph. (f) The Series Selecting Exchange shall not list new LEAP series on equity option classes, options on ETFs, or options on TIRs in a new expiration year if the national average daily contract volume, excluding LEAP and FLEX series, for that options class during the preceding three calendar months is less than 1,000 contracts, unless the new LEAP series has an expiration year that has already been listed on another exchange for that option class. The preceding volume threshold does not apply during the first six months an equity option class, option on an ETF, or option on a TIR is listed on any exchange.
Further information on the OLPP can be found here: http://www.theocc.com/clearing/industry-services/olpp.jsp