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I bought put options on RSX (VanEck Russia ETF) that shall expire March 18 2022.

  1. How can I sell them now for profit? I don't want the underlying RSX shares. I just want to cash out on my gain!

  2. If RSX is still halted on 3/18/2022, will my puts expire wholly worthless? How can I sell my puts? Will I lose all my options premiums that I paid to buy RSX puts?

Correct me if I am wrong about these facts below.

CBOE halted trading in RSX and its options, after market close on 4 March 2022 for all US equity markets.

VanEck's website wrote that RSX's NAV at closing on March 4 2022 was $0.92 — because most of the underlying stocks were marked down to pennies, before RSX stopped trading. RSX must be still be worth some teensy amount of money — because as of 3/3/2022, RSX had 3% of its holdings in other stocks that were still trading, cash, and POLY.

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3 Answers 3

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The OCC has provided infomemos on this topic:

https://infomemo.theocc.com/infomemos?number=50144

https://infomemo.theocc.com/infomemos?number=50151

I'd encourage you to read it thoroughly but don't blame you for not having found it. You will not be able to sell your puts. Under "Option Exercise" it states that you must provide an exercise declaration (EED) as automatic exercise is disabled for even deep ITM options. Under the "put option exercise considerations" section you will see that the OCC has not imposed exercise restrictions but your broker firm may also be affected by regulations that disallow you from taking delivery so you would have to ask your broker. Unfortunately since you don't state your broker I can't help further but the OCC documentation says:

"Questions about such rules or their applicability to the exercise of a given option position should be addressed to the brokerage firm holding the investor’s position."

and they are the final word on options traded in the US!

My professional guess is that most brokers will cash settle ITM options but may have differing views on the fair value of the underlying so I can't tell you what that value will be in your case.

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I dont think it can be up to brokers to decide on a cash value for the underlying, as there are two brokers involved. It can only be up to the options clearing exchange to make such a call. And since they are saying nothing.... Probably the perview of the brokers is that they can refuse to initiate positive or negative rsx positions, and thats why the OCC cannot commit to an answer. Which suggests the OCC is not going to decide on an underlying value either. The best I can think of is that if your broker accepts holding a short position for you, you can exercice. But you are taking a big execution risk, as you may be automatically closed on it at an arbitrary price and timing you have zero control over. Probably you have been cheated of your gains and you lost your premiums. Once again, small investors get shafted. Im sure institutions will avoid losses as they know who to call for mechanics.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 12, 2022 at 15:24
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I am in the same position. I will exercise my puts and will be short RSX. My broker currently is charging 80% pa to be short the shares. However the last price of 5.68 is substantially higher than the 0.30 NAV reported by Van Eck (the ETF provider). I am not sure whether you can be bought-in on your short if the shares are halted, I doubt you will.

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  • Your broker is letting you exercise your puts??? Can you disclose who is your broker???
    – user116038
    Commented Mar 19, 2022 at 7:28
  • Interactivebrokers, sorry for late response
    – cholzer68
    Commented Feb 17, 2023 at 14:52

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