Options Assignment: Navigating the Rights and Obligations

option assignment zhongwen

By Tyler Corvin

option assignment zhongwen

Ever been blindsided by an unexpected traffic ticket in the mail? 

You knew driving came with its set of potential consequences, yet you took to the road regardless. Suddenly, you’re left with a tangible obligation to pay. This unforeseen shift, where what was once a mere possibility becomes an immediate reality, captures the spirit of options assignment within the vast realm of options trading.

Diving into the details, option assignment serves as the bridge between the abstract realm of rights and the concrete world of duties in this field. It’s that unassuming piece in the machinery that can, without warning, change the entire game – often carrying notable financial repercussions. In a domain where every move has implications, truly grasping option assignment is foundational, ensuring not just survival but genuine success.

Join us in this comprehensive exploration of option assignment, arming traders of all experience levels with the knowledge to sail these intricate seas with assuredness and accuracy.

What you’ll learn

What is Options Assignment?

How options assignment works, identifying option assignment , examples of option assignment, managing and mitigating assignment risks, what option assignment means for individual traders.

  • Conclusion 

Dive into the realm of options trading and you’ll find a tapestry of processes and potential. “Options assignment” is one pivotal cog in this intricate machine. To a newcomer, this term might seem a tad daunting. But a step-by-step walk-through can demystify its core.

In its simplest form, options assignment means carrying out the rights specified in an option contract. Holding an option allows a trader the choice to buy or sell a particular asset, but there’s no compulsion. The moment they opt to use this right, that’s when options assignment kicks in.

Think of it this way: You’ve got a ticket (option) to a show (buy or sell an asset). You decide if and when to attend. When you make the move, that transition is the options assignment.

There are two main types of option assignments:

  • Call Option Assignment : Triggered when a call option holder exercises their right. The seller of the option then steps into the spotlight, bound to sell the asset at the agreed-upon price.
  • Put Option Assignment : Conversely, if a put option holder steps forward, the seller of the put takes the stage. Their role? To buy the asset at the specified rate.

To truly grasp options assignment, one must understand the dance between rights and obligations in options trading.

When a trader buys an option, they’re essentially reserving a right, a possible move. On the other hand, selling an option translates to accepting a duty if the option’s holder chooses to play their card.

Rights with Call Options: Buying a call option grants you a special privilege. You can procure the underlying asset at a set price before the option expires. If you choose to exercise this right, the one who sold you the call gets assigned. Their task? Handing over the asset at that set price.

Obligations with Put Options: Securing a put option empowers you to sell the underlying at a pre-decided rate. Should you exercise this, the put’s seller steps up, committed to buying the asset at the given rate.

Several factors steer the course of options assignment, including intrinsic value, looming expiration dates, and current market vibes. To stay ahead of these influences, many traders utilize option trade alerts for timely insights. And remember, while many options might find buyers, not all see execution. Hence, not every seller will get assigned. For traders, understanding this rhythm is vital, shaping many strategies in options trading. 

In the multifaceted world of options trading, discerning option assignment straddles the line between art and science. While no technique guarantees surefire results, several pointers and signals can wave a flag, hinting at an impending assignment.

In-the-Money Options : A robust sign of a looming assignment is the option’s stance relative to its strike price. “In-the-money” refers to an option’s moneyness , and plays a pivotal role in the behavior of option holders. Deeply in-the-money (ITM) options amplify the odds of assignment. An ITM call option, where the market price of the asset towers above the strike price, encourages the holder to exercise and swiftly offload the asset on the market. Conversely, an ITM put option, where the market price trails significantly behind the strike price, incentivizes the holder to scoop up the asset in the market and then exercise the option to vend it at the loftier strike price.

Expiration’s Shadow: The ticking clock of an expiring option raises the assignment stakes, especially if it remains ITM. Many traders make their move just before the eleventh hour to capitalize on their gains.

Dividend Dates in Focus: Call options inching toward expiry ahead of a dividend date, especially if they’re ITM, stand at an elevated assignment crosshair. Option aficionados might play their call options to pocket the dividend, which they’d bag if they possess the core shares.

Extrinsic Value’s Decline : A diminishing time or extrinsic value of an option elevates its exercise odds. When intrinsic value dominates an option’s worth, a holder might be inclined to cash in on this value.

Volume & Open Interest Dynamics : A sudden surge in trading or a dip in open interest can be telltale signs. Understanding volume’s role is crucial as such fluctuations might hint at traders either hopping in or out, suggesting possible exercises and assignments. 

Navigating the Post-Assignment Terrain

Grasping the ripple effects of option assignment is vital, highlighting the immediate responsibilities and potential paths for both the buyer and seller.

For the Option Seller:

  • Call Option Assignment : For a trader who’s sold a call option, assignment means they’re on the hook to hand over the underlying shares at the strike price. If they’re short on shares, a market purchase is in order—potentially at a loss if market prices overshoot the strike.
  • Put Option Assignment: Assignment on a peddled put option necessitates the trader to buy the shares at the strike price . If this price overshadows the market rate, losses loom.

For the Option Buyer:

  • Call Option Play : Exercising a call lets the buyer snap up shares at the strike price. They can either nestle with them or trade them off.
  • Put Option Play: Exercising a put gives the buyer the reins to sell their shares at the strike price. This play often pays off when the market rate is dwarfed by the strike, ensuring a tidy profit on the dispensed shares.

Post-assignment, all involved must be on their toes, knowing what triggers margin calls , especially if caught off-guard by the assignment. Tax implications may also hover, influenced by the trade’s nature and the tenure of the position.

Being savvy about these subtleties and gearing up for possible turns of events can drastically refine one’s journey through the options trading maze. 

Call Option Assignment Scenario

Imagine an investor purchases an Nvidia ( NVDA ) call option at a strike price of $435, hoping that the price of the stock will ascend after finding out that they may be forced to move out of some countries . The option is set to expire in a month. Soon after, not only did NVDA rebound from the news, but they reported very strong quarterly earnings, propelling the stock to $455.

Spotting the favorable trend, the investor opts to wield their right to purchase the stock at the agreed strike price of $435, despite its $455 market value. This initiates the option assignment.

The other investor, having sold the option, must now part with their NVDA shares at $435 apiece. If they’re short on stocks, they’d have to fetch them at the going rate of $455 and let them go at a deficit. The first investor, however, stands at a crossroads: retain the shares in hopes of further gains or swiftly trade them at $455, reaping a neat sum. 

Put Option Assignment Scenario

Let’s visualize an investor who speculates a dip in the share price of V.F. Corporation ( VFC ) after seeing news about an activist investor causing shares to jump almost 14% in a day . To hedge their bets, they secures a put option from another investor at a strike price of $18.50, set to lapse in a month.

Fast forward a week, let’s say VFC divulges lackluster quarterly figures, causing the stock to dive to $10. The first investor, seizing the moment, employs their put option, electing to sell their shares at the $18.50 strike price.

When the assignment bell tolls, the other investor finds himself bound to buy the shares from the first investor at the agreed $18.50, a rate that overshadows the current $10 market value. The first investor thus sidesteps the market slump, securing a favorable sale. The other investor, however, absorbs a loss, acquiring stocks at a premium to their market worth.

The realm of options trading is akin to navigating a dynamic river, demanding a sharp comprehension of the risks that lie beneath its surface. A predominant risk that traders often encounter is assignment risk. When one assumes the role of an option seller, they inherit the duty to honor the contract if the buyer opts to exercise. Grasping the gravity of this can make the difference, underscoring the necessity of adept risk management.

A savvy approach to temper assignment risk is by keeping a vigilant eye on the extrinsic value of options. Generally, options rich in extrinsic value tend to resist early assignment. This resistance emerges as the extrinsic value dwindles when the option dives deeper in-the-money, thereby tempting the holder to exercise.

Furthermore, economic currents, ranging from niche corporate updates to sweeping market tides, can be triggers for option assignments. Staying attuned to these economic ripples equips traders with the vision needed to either tweak or maintain their positions. For example, traders may opt to sidestep selling options that are deeply in-the-money, given their higher susceptibility to assignments due to their shrinking extrinsic value.

Incorporating spread tactics, like vertical spreads  or iron condors, furnishes an added shield. These strategies can dampen the risk of assignment since one part of the spread frequently balances the risk of its counterpart. Should the specter of a short option assignment hover, traders might contemplate ‘rolling out’ their stance. This move entails repurchasing the short option and subsequently selling another, possibly at a varied strike rate or a more distant expiry.

Yet, despite these protective layers, it remains pivotal for traders to brace for possible assignments. Maintaining ample liquidity, be it in capital or necessary shares, can avert unfavorable scenarios like hasty liquidations or stiff margin charges. Engaging regularly with brokers can also shed light, occasionally offering a heads-up on looming assignments.

In conclusion, the bedrock of risk management in options trading is rooted in perpetual learning. As traders hone their craft, their adeptness at forecasting and navigating assignment risks sharpens.

In the intricate world of options trading, option assignments aren’t just nuanced details; they’re pivotal moments with deep-seated implications for individual traders and the health of their portfolios. Beyond the immediate financial aftermath, assignments can reshape trading plans, risk dynamics, and the overarching path of an investor’s journey.

At its core, option assignments can transform a trader’s asset landscape. Consider a trader who’s short on a call option. If they’re assigned, they might be compelled to supply the underlying stock. This can result in a rapid stock outflow from their portfolio or, if they don’t possess the stock, birth a short stock stance. On the flip side, a trader short on a put option who faces assignment may find themselves buying the stock at the strike price, thereby dipping into their cash reserves.

These immediate shifts can generate broader portfolio ripples. An unexpected gain or shedding of stocks can jostle a trader’s asset distribution, veering it off their envisioned path. If, for instance, a trader had charted a particular stock-to-cash distribution or a meticulous diversification blueprint, an option assignment might throw a spanner in the works.

Additionally, assignments can serve as a real-world litmus test for a trader’s risk-handling prowess . A surprise assignment might spark margin calls for those not sufficiently fortified with capital. It stands as a poignant nudge about the essence of ensuring liquidity and safeguarding against the unpredictable whims of the market.

Strategically speaking, recurrent assignments might signal it’s time for traders to recalibrate. Are the options they’re offloading too submerged in-the-money? Have they factored in pivotal market shifts that might heighten early exercise odds? Such reflective moments can pave the way for refining and elevating trading methods. 

In the multifaceted world of options trading, option assignment stands out as both a potential boon and a challenge. Far from being a simple checkbox in the process, its ramifications can mold the contours of a trader’s portfolio and steer long-term tactics. The importance of comprehending and adeptly managing option assignment resonates, whether you’re dipping your toes into options for the first time or weaving through intricate trades with seasoned expertise. 

Furthermore, mastering options trading is about integrating its myriad concepts into a cohesive playbook. Whether it’s differentiating trading strategies like the iron condor from the iron butterfly strategy or delving deep into the nuances of option assignments, each component enriches the narrative of a trader’s odyssey. As markets shift and new hurdles arise, a solid grasp of foundational principles remains an invaluable asset. In this perpetual dance of learning and evolution, may your trading maneuvers always be well-informed, proactive, and adept. 

Understanding Options Assignment: FAQs

What factors influence the likelihood of an option being assigned.

Several factors come into play, including the option’s intrinsic value , the time remaining until expiration, and upcoming dividend announcements. Options that are deep in the money or nearing their expiration date are more likely to be assigned.

Are Some Option Styles More Prone to Assignment than Others?

Absolutely. When considering different option styles , it’s essential to note that American-style options can be exercised at any point before their expiration, which means they face a higher risk of early assignment. In contrast, European-style options can only be exercised at expiration.

How Do Current Market Trends Impact Assignment Risk?

Factors like market volatility, notable price shifts, and external economic happenings can amplify the chances of an option being assigned. For example, an option might be assigned before a company’s ex-dividend date if the expected dividend outweighs the weakening of theta decay .

Can Traders Reverse or Counter the Effects of an Option Assignment?

Once an option has been assigned, it’s set in stone. However, traders can maneuver within the market to balance out the implications of the assignment, such as procuring or selling the underlying asset.

Are There Any Fees Tied to Option Assignments?

Indeed, brokers usually impose a fee for both assignments and exercises. The specific fee can differ depending on the broker, making it essential for traders to understand their brokerage’s charging scheme.

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Options Basics: How the Option Assignment Process Works

July 23, 2021 — 12:46 pm EDT

Written by [email protected] for Schaeffer  ->

There is a lot of technical jargon that is specific to the options market. For a beginner who is aiming to learn how to trade options, understanding these technical terms is crucial to optimizing trading results. One phrase that is a critical part of this options trading language is “assignment.” Simply defined, the assignment of an option refers to the fulfillment of the options contract by the seller. An option holder has the right to buy or sell the underlying equity at the given strike price. Once the holder decides to exercise the option, the option is said to be “assigned.” If a trader sells options, he must be aware of the assignment process and the risks it entails. We recommend subscribing to one of Schaeffer's options trading newsletters  to gain the ultimate insights into the language of the options market while making money, too.

What Does it Mean to Write an Option?

When an options seller writes an options contract, this is known as a “sell to open” trade, as he is essentially opening a new position. As the trader is selling the option to open this position, he is technically said to be “short” that underlying stock. The seller accepts a responsibility to sell or buy the underlying security in lieu of a premium received from the buyer. As a general rule, an option holder can exercise his rights any time before the contract expires. In order to learn to trade options, it is necessary to grasp this structure of corresponding rights and duties. It's important to also note that most options are exercised when they are nearing expiry because, after that, the options contract is worthless.

How Does the Option Assignment Process Work?

The assignment process is done at random by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) . A trader will become more acquainted with the operations of the OCC as he or she learns to trade options. When a buyer exercises his option, the OCC will randomly connect them with a brokerage that is short on options of that equity. Due to the lottery-like nature of the process, it is almost impossible to predict when an investor’s option may be assigned.

2 Categories of Options to Understand

As a brief summary, let’s go over the two basic categories of options. These categories and their respective merits become apparent as one learns to trade options. In a call option, the option holder possesses the right to buy the security before the contract expires. In this scenario, the seller’s obligation is to sell the option upon assignment.

The inverse of this is the put option. In this category, the holder has the right to sell to the security at the contract price. The consequence of this is that upon assignment, the seller must purchase the security at the strike price. If an investor does not own the stock, he must first buy it. After this, he must deliver it to the holder.

Initially, a seller has an edge in the options trading process. He starts with a net benefit as a premium is paid to him by the buyer without him giving any monetary return immediately. If an option is never exercised, the seller actually retains the premium if the contract expires.

However, the issues arise as the contract nears its expiry, as the chances of assignment increase exponentially. The problem for investors when called to assign are three-fold: 1) they have no control over when the option is exercised, 2) they must fulfill their end of the bargain irrespective of whether this could lead to a loss or a low gain, and 3) even if the underlying stock is not trading, in a call option the deliver the stock to the buyer.

Can an Options Seller Predict When an Option Will Be Exercised?

It would be misleading if we were say there is some magic formula that we could use to predict when an option will be exercised. Traders will understand how frequent assignment occurs once they more completely learn to trade options. However, a general statistic is that approximately 7% of options are actually ever exercised. Even though, technically, an option can be assigned any time while the contract remains open, option holders usually exercise their option near its expiration date. This is because traders usually wait to find the ideal time and observe trading prices. As you learn to trade options, you will realize that very few buyers ever exercise options ahead of expiration.

When is Options Assignment Less Likely?

Even though we cannot accurately predict when an option will be exercised, there are certain indicators traders can use. These indicators are easier to see when you learn to trade options and observe market trends.

An assignment is less probable when an option is out-of-the-money. An option is out-of-the-money when the security is trading at a higher value in the market as compared to the strike price. It is rarely recommended to sell an option that is out-of-the-money. This is because if the strike price is lower than the market value, the option holder will make a loss on the contract. If the strike price is $30, and the market value is $20 and the holder exercises the call option, they will end up taking a loss since they are buying it at a higher price. As investors learn to trade options, they can better predict the time of assignment with greater accuracy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Options Exercise, Assignment, and More: A Beginner's Guide

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So your trading account has gotten options approval, and you recently made that first trade—say, a long call in XYZ with a strike price of $105. Then expiration day approaches and, at the time, XYZ is trading at $105.30.

Wait. The stock's above the strike. Is that in the money 1 (ITM) or out of the money 2  (OTM)? Do I need to do something? Do I have enough money in my account? Help!

Don't be that trader. The time to learn the mechanics of options expiration is before you make your first trade.

Here's a guide to help you navigate options exercise 3 and assignment 4 —along with a few other basics.

In the money or out of the money?

The buyer ("owner") of an option has the right, but not the obligation, to exercise the option on or before expiration. A call option 5 gives the owner the right to buy the underlying security; a put option 6  gives the owner the right to sell the underlying security.

Conversely, when you sell an option, you may be assigned—at any time regardless of the ITM amount—if the option owner chooses to exercise. The option seller has no control over assignment and no certainty as to when it could happen. Once the assignment notice is delivered, it's too late to close the position and the option seller must fulfill the terms of the options contract:

  • A long call exercise results in buying the underlying stock at the strike price.
  • A short call assignment results in selling the underlying stock at the strike price.
  • A long put exercise results in selling the underlying stock at the strike price.
  • A short put assignment results in buying the underlying stock at the strike price.

An option will likely be exercised if it's in the option owner's best interest to do so, meaning it's optimal to take or to close a position in the underlying security at the strike price rather than at the current market price. After the market close on expiration day, ITM options may be automatically exercised, whereas OTM options are not and typically expire worthless (often referred to as being "abandoned"). The table below spells it out.

  • If the underlying stock price is...
  • ...higher than the strike price
  • ...lower than the strike price
  • If the underlying stock price is... A long call is...
  • ...higher than the strike price ...ITM and typically exercised
  • ...lower than the strike price ...OTM and typically abandoned
  • If the underlying stock price is... A short call is...
  • ...higher than the strike price ...ITM and typically assigned
  • If the underlying stock price is... A long put is...
  • ...higher than the strike price ...OTM and typically abandoned
  • ...lower than the strike price ...ITM and typically exercised
  • If the underlying stock price is... A short put is...
  • ...lower than the strike price ...ITM and typically assigned

The guidelines in the table assume a position is held all the way through expiration. Of course, you typically don't need to do that. And in many cases, the usual strategy is to close out a position ahead of the expiration date. We'll revisit the close-or-hold decision in the next section and look at ways to do that. But assuming you do carry the options position until the end, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • Know your specs . Each standard equity options contract controls 100 shares of the underlying stock. That's pretty straightforward. Non-standard options may have different deliverables. Non-standard options can represent a different number of shares, shares of more than one company stock, or underlying shares and cash. Other products—such as index options or options on futures—have different contract specs.
  • Stock and options positions will match and close . Suppose you're long 300 shares of XYZ and short one ITM call that's assigned. Because the call is deliverable into 100 shares, you'll be left with 200 shares of XYZ if the option is assigned, plus the cash from selling 100 shares at the strike price.
  • It's automatic, for the most part . If an option is ITM by as little as $0.01 at expiration, it will automatically be exercised for the buyer and assigned to a seller. However, there's something called a do not exercise (DNE) request that a long option holder can submit if they want to abandon an option. In such a case, it's possible that a short ITM position might not be assigned. For more, see the note below on pin risk 7 ?
  • You'd better have enough cash . If an option on XYZ is exercised or assigned and you are "uncovered" (you don't have an existing long or short position in the underlying security), a long or short position in the underlying stock will replace the options. A long call or short put will result in a long position in XYZ; a short call or long put will result in a short position in XYZ. For long stock positions, you need to have enough cash to cover the purchase or else you'll be issued a margin 8 call, which you must meet by adding funds to your account. But that timeline may be short, and the broker, at its discretion, has the right to liquidate positions in your account to meet a margin call 9 . If exercise or assignment involves taking a short stock position, you need a margin account and sufficient funds in the account to cover the margin requirement.
  • Short equity positions are risky business . An uncovered short call or long put, if assigned or exercised, will result in a short stock position. If you're short a stock, you have potentially unlimited risk because there's theoretically no limit to the potential price increase of the underlying stock. There's also no guarantee the brokerage firm can continue to maintain that short position for an unlimited time period. So, if you're a newbie, it's generally inadvisable to carry an options position into expiration if there's a chance you might end up with a short stock position.

A note on pin risk : It's not common, but occasionally a stock settles right on a strike price at expiration. So, if you were short the 105-strike calls and XYZ settled at exactly $105, there would be no automatic assignment, but depending on the actions taken by the option holder, you may or may not be assigned—and you may not be able to trade out of any unwanted positions until the next business day.

But it goes beyond the exact price issue. What if an option is ITM as of the market close, but news comes out after the close (but before the exercise decision deadline) that sends the stock price up or down through the strike price? Remember: The owner of the option could submit a DNE request.

The uncertainty and potential exposure when a stock price and the strike price are the same at expiration is called pin risk. The best way to avoid it is to close the position before expiration.

The decision tree: How to approach expiration

As expiration approaches, you have three choices. Depending on the circumstances—and your objectives and risk tolerance—any of these might be the best decision for you.

1. Let the chips fall where they may.  Some positions may not require as much maintenance. An options position that's deeply OTM will likely go away on its own, but occasionally an option that's been left for dead springs back to life. If it's a long option, the unexpected turn of events might feel like a windfall; if it's a short option that could've been closed out for a penny or two, you might be kicking yourself for not doing so.

Conversely, you might have a covered call (a short call against long stock), and the strike price was your exit target. For example, if you bought XYZ at $100 and sold the 110-strike call against it, and XYZ rallies to $113, you might be content selling the stock at the $110 strike price to monetize the $10 profit (plus the premium you took in when you sold the call but minus any transaction fees). In that case, you can let assignment happen. But remember, assignment is likely in this scenario, but it is not guaranteed.

2. Close it out . If you've met your objectives for a trade, then it might be time to close it out. Otherwise, you might be exposed to risks that aren't commensurate with any added return potential (like the short option that could've been closed out for next to nothing, then suddenly came back into play). Keep in mind, there is no guarantee that there will be an active market for an options contract, so it is possible to end up stuck and unable to close an options position.

The close-it-out category also includes ITM options that could result in an unwanted long or short stock position or the calling away of a stock you didn't want to part with. And remember to watch the dividend calendar. If you're short a call option near the ex-dividend date of a stock, the position might be a candidate for early exercise. If so, you may want to consider getting out of the option position well in advance—perhaps a week or more.

3. Roll it to something else . Rolling, which is essentially two trades executed as a spread, is the third choice. One leg closes out the existing option; the other leg initiates a new position. For example, suppose you're short a covered call on XYZ at the July 105 strike, the stock is at $103, and the call's about to expire. You could attempt to roll it to the August 105 strike. Or, if your strategy is to sell a call that's $5 OTM, you might roll to the August 108 call. Keep in mind that rolling strategies include multiple contract fees, which may impact any potential return.

The bottom line on options expiration

You don't enter an intersection and then check to see if it's clear. You don't jump out of an airplane and then test the rip cord. So do yourself a favor. Get comfortable with the mechanics of options expiration before making your first trade.

1 Describes an option with intrinsic value (not just time value). A call option is in the money (ITM) if the stock price is above the strike price. A put option is ITM if the stock price is below the strike price. For calls, it's any strike lower than the price of the underlying equity. For puts, it's any strike that's higher.

2 Describes an option with no intrinsic value. A call option is out of the money (OTM) if its strike price is above the price of the underlying stock. A put option is OTM if its strike price is below the price of the underlying stock.

3 An options contract gives the owner the right but not the obligation to buy (in the case of a call) or sell (in the case of a put) the underlying security at the strike price, on or before the option's expiration date. When the owner claims the right (i.e. takes a long or short position in the underlying security) that's known as exercising the option.

4 Assignment happens when someone who is short a call or put is forced to sell (in the case of the call) or buy (in the case of a put) the underlying stock. For every option trade there is a buyer and a seller; in other words, for anyone short an option, there is someone out there on the long side who could exercise.

5 A call option gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to buy shares of stock or other underlying asset at the options contract's strike price within a specific time period. The seller of the call is obligated to deliver, or sell, the underlying stock at the strike price if the owner of the call exercises the option.

6 Gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to sell shares of stock or other underlying assets at the options contract's strike price within a specific time period. The put seller is obligated to purchase the underlying security at the strike price if the owner of the put exercises the option.

7 When the stock settles right at the strike price at expiration.

8 Margin is borrowed money that's used to buy stocks or other securities. In margin trading, a brokerage firm lends an account owner a portion of the purchase price (typically 30% to 50% of the total price). The loan in the margin account is collateralized by the stock, and if the value of the stock drops below a certain level, the owner will be asked to deposit marginable securities and/or cash into the account or to sell/close out security positions in the account.

9 A margin call is issued when your account value drops below the maintenance requirements on a security or securities due to a drop in the market value of a security or when a customer exceeds their buying power. Margin calls may be met by depositing funds, selling stock, or depositing securities. Charles Schwab may forcibly liquidate all or part of your account without prior notice, regardless of your intent to satisfy a margin call, in the interests of both parties.  

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Weekly Trader's Outlook

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Options carry a high level of risk and are not suitable for all investors. Certain requirements must be met to trade options through Schwab. Please read the Options Disclosure Document titled " Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options " before considering any options transaction. Supporting documentation for any claims or statistical information is available upon request.

With long options, investors may lose 100% of funds invested. Covered calls provide downside protection only to the extent of the premium received and limit upside potential to the strike price plus premium received.

Short options can be assigned at any time up to expiration regardless of the in-the-money amount.

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal. Hedging and protective strategies generally involve additional costs and do not assure a profit or guarantee against loss.

Commissions, taxes, and transaction costs are not included in this discussion but can affect final outcomes and should be considered. Please contact a tax advisor for the tax implications involved in these strategies.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.

All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market conditions. Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed.

Examples provided are for illustrative purposes only and not intended to be reflective of results you can expect to achieve.

Short selling is an advanced trading strategy involving potentially unlimited risks and must be done in a margin account. Margin trading increases your level of market risk. For more information, please refer to your account agreement and the Margin Risk Disclosure Statement.

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Assignment: Definition in Finance, How It Works, and Examples

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

option assignment zhongwen

Yarilet Perez is an experienced multimedia journalist and fact-checker with a Master of Science in Journalism. She has worked in multiple cities covering breaking news, politics, education, and more. Her expertise is in personal finance and investing, and real estate.

option assignment zhongwen

What Is an Assignment?

Assignment most often refers to one of two definitions in the financial world:

  • The transfer of an individual's rights or property to another person or business. This concept exists in a variety of business transactions and is often spelled out contractually.
  • In trading, assignment occurs when an option contract is exercised. The owner of the contract exercises the contract and assigns the option writer to an obligation to complete the requirements of the contract.

Key Takeaways

  • Assignment is a transfer of rights or property from one party to another.
  • Options assignments occur when option buyers exercise their rights to a position in a security.
  • Other examples of assignments can be found in wages, mortgages, and leases.

Uses For Assignments

Assignment refers to the transfer of some or all property rights and obligations associated with an asset, property, contract, or other asset of value. to another entity through a written agreement.

Assignment rights happen every day in many different situations. A payee, like a utility or a merchant, assigns the right to collect payment from a written check to a bank. A merchant can assign the funds from a line of credit to a manufacturing third party that makes a product that the merchant will eventually sell. A trademark owner can transfer, sell, or give another person interest in the trademark or logo. A homeowner who sells their house assigns the deed to the new buyer.

To be effective, an assignment must involve parties with legal capacity, consideration, consent, and legality of the object.

A wage assignment is a forced payment of an obligation by automatic withholding from an employee’s pay. Courts issue wage assignments for people late with child or spousal support, taxes, loans, or other obligations. Money is automatically subtracted from a worker's paycheck without consent if they have a history of nonpayment. For example, a person delinquent on $100 monthly loan payments has a wage assignment deducting the money from their paycheck and sent to the lender. Wage assignments are helpful in paying back long-term debts.

Another instance can be found in a mortgage assignment. This is where a mortgage deed gives a lender interest in a mortgaged property in return for payments received. Lenders often sell mortgages to third parties, such as other lenders. A mortgage assignment document clarifies the assignment of contract and instructs the borrower in making future mortgage payments, and potentially modifies the mortgage terms.

A final example involves a lease assignment. This benefits a relocating tenant wanting to end a lease early or a landlord looking for rent payments to pay creditors. Once the new tenant signs the lease, taking over responsibility for rent payments and other obligations, the previous tenant is released from those responsibilities. In a separate lease assignment, a landlord agrees to pay a creditor through an assignment of rent due under rental property leases. The agreement is used to pay a mortgage lender if the landlord defaults on the loan or files for bankruptcy . Any rental income would then be paid directly to the lender.

Options Assignment

Options can be assigned when a buyer decides to exercise their right to buy (or sell) stock at a particular strike price . The corresponding seller of the option is not determined when a buyer opens an option trade, but only at the time that an option holder decides to exercise their right to buy stock. So an option seller with open positions is matched with the exercising buyer via automated lottery. The randomly selected seller is then assigned to fulfill the buyer's rights. This is known as an option assignment.

Once assigned, the writer (seller) of the option will have the obligation to sell (if a call option ) or buy (if a put option ) the designated number of shares of stock at the agreed-upon price (the strike price). For instance, if the writer sold calls they would be obligated to sell the stock, and the process is often referred to as having the stock called away . For puts, the buyer of the option sells stock (puts stock shares) to the writer in the form of a short-sold position.

Suppose a trader owns 100 call options on company ABC's stock with a strike price of $10 per share. The stock is now trading at $30 and ABC is due to pay a dividend shortly. As a result, the trader exercises the options early and receives 10,000 shares of ABC paid at $10. At the same time, the other side of the long call (the short call) is assigned the contract and must deliver the shares to the long.

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Cambridge Dictionary

option 在英语-中文(简体)词典中的翻译

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  • I think we should go for the safest option.
  • They're considering separation as an option.
  • Whichever option we choose there'll be disadvantages .
  • The committee decided in favour of the cheapest option.
  • The government has few options except to keep interest rates high.

( option 在 剑桥英语-中文(简体)词典 的翻译 © Cambridge University Press)

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give someone a leg up

to help someone to climb over something

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Bumps and scrapes (Words for minor injuries)

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What Is an Option Assignment?

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Definition and Examples of Assignment

How does assignment work, what it means for individual investors.

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An option assignment represents the seller of an option’s obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract by either selling or purchasing the underlying security at the exercise price. Let’s explain what that means in more detail.

Key Takeaways

  • An assignment represents the seller of an option’s obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract by either selling or purchasing the underlying security at the exercise price. 
  • If you sell an option and get assigned, you have to fulfill the transaction outlined in the option.
  • You can only get assigned if you sell options, not if you buy them.
  • Assignment is relatively rare, with only 7% of options ultimately getting assigned.

An assignment represents the seller of an option’s obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract by either selling or purchasing the underlying security at the exercise price. Let’s explain what that means in more detail.

When you sell an option to someone, you’re selling them the right to make you engage in a future transaction. For example, if you sell someone a put option , you’re promising to buy a stock at a set price any time between when the transaction happens and the expiration date of the option.

If the holder of the option doesn’t do anything with the option by the expiration date, the option expires. However, if they decide that they want to go through with the transaction, they will exercise the option. 

If the holder of an option chooses to exercise it, the seller will receive a notification, called an assignment, letting them know that the option holder is exercising their right to complete the transaction. The seller is legally obligated to fulfill the terms of the options contract.

For example, if you sell a call option on XYZ with a strike price of $40 and the buyer chooses to exercise the option, you’ll be assigned the obligation to fulfill that contract. You’ll have to buy 100 shares of XYZ at whatever the market price is, or take the shares from your own portfolio and sell them to the option holder for $40 each.

Options traders only have to worry about assignment if they sell options contracts. Those who buy options don’t have to worry about assignment because in this case, they have the power to exercise a contract, or choose not to.

The options market is huge, in that options are traded on large exchanges and you likely do not know who you’re buying contracts from or selling them to. It’s not like you sell an option to someone you know and they send you an email if they choose to exercise the contract, rather it is an organized process.

In the U.S., the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC), which is considered the options industry clearinghouse, helps to facilitate the exchange of options contracts. It guarantees a fair process of option assignments, ensuring that the obligations in the contract are fulfilled.

When an investor chooses to exercise a contract, the OCC randomly assigns the obligation to someone who sold the option being exercised. For example, if 100 people sold XYZ calls with a strike of $40, and one of those options gets exercised, the OCC will randomly assign that obligation to one of the 100 sellers.

In general, assignments are uncommon. About 7% of options get exercised, with the remaining 93% expiring. Assignment also tends to grow more common as the expiration date nears.

If you are assigned the obligation to fulfill an options contract you sold, it means you have to accept the related loss and fulfill the contract. Usually, your broker will handle the transaction on your behalf automatically.

If you’re an individual investor, you only have to worry about assignment if you’re involved in selling options. Even then, assignments aren't incredibly common. Less than 7% of options get assigned and they tend to get assigned as the option’s expiration date gets closer.

Having an option assigned does mean that you are forced to lock in a loss on an option, which can hurt. However, if you’re truly worried about assignment, you can plan to close your position at some point before the expiration date or use options strategies that don’t involve selling options that could get exercised.

The Options Industry Council. " Options Assignment FAQ: How Can I Tell When I Will Be Assigned? " Accessed Oct. 18, 2021.

Assignment in Options Trading

Introduction articles, what is an options assignment.

In options trading , an assignment occurs when an option is exercised.   

As we know, a buyer of an option has the right but not the obligation to buy or sell an underlying asset depending on what option they have purchased. When the buyer exercises this right, the seller will be assigned and will have to deliver or take delivery of what they are contractually obliged to. For stock options, it is typically 1 , 000 shares per contract for the UK ; and 100 shares per contract in the US.   

As you can see, a buyer will never be assigned, only the seller is at risk of assignment. The buyer, however, may be auto exercised if the option expires in-the-money .

The Mechanics of Assignment

Assignment of options isn’t a random process. It’s a methodical procedure that follows specific steps, typically beginning with the option holder’s decision to exercise their option. The decision then gets routed through various intermediaries like brokers and clearing +houses before the seller is notified.

  • Exercise by Holder: The holder (buyer) of the option exercises their right to buy (for Call ) or sell (for Put ).
  • Random Assignment by a Clearing House: A clearing house assigns the obligation randomly among all sellers of the option.
  • Fulfilment by the Writer: The writer (seller) now must fulfill the obligation to sell (for Call) or buy (for Put) the underlying asset.

Option Assignments: Calls and Puts

Call option assignments.

When a call option holder chooses to exercise their right, the seller of the call option gets assigned. In such a situation, the seller is obligated to sell the underlying asset at the strike price to the call option holder.

Put Option Assignments

Similarly, if a put option holder decides to exercise their right, the put option seller gets assigned. The seller is then obligated to buy the underlying asset at the strike price from the put option holder.

The Implications of Assignments for Options Traders

Understanding assignment in options trading is crucial as it comes with potential risks and rewards for both parties involved.

For Option Sellers

Option sellers, or ‘writers,’ face the risk of unexpected assignments. The risk of being assigned early is especially present for options that are in the money or near their expiration date. We explain the difference between American and European assignments below.

For Option Holders

For option holders, deciding when to exercise an option (potentially leading to assignment) is a strategic decision. This decision must consider factors such as the intrinsic value of the option, the time value, and the dividend payment of the underlying asset.

Can Options be assigned before expiration?

In short, Yes, but it depends on the style of options you are trading. 

American Style – Yes, this type of option can be assigned on or before expiry. 

European Style – No, this type of option can only be assigned on the expiry date as defined in the contract specifications.

Options Assignment Example

For example, an investor buys XYZ PLC 400 call when the stock is trading at 385. The stock in the coming weeks rises to 425 after some good news, the buyer then decides to exercise their right early to buy the XYZ PLC stock at 400.  

In this scenario, the call seller (writer) has been assigned and will have to deliver stock at 400 to the buyer (sell their stock at 400 when the prevailing market is 425).   

An option typically would only be assigned if it is in the money, considering factors like dividends which do play an important role in exercise/assignments.

Can an Options Assignment be Prevented?

Assignment can sometimes come as a bit of a surprise but normally you should see it coming. You can only work to prevent assignment by closing the option before expiry or before any possible risk of assignment.

Managing Risks in Options Trading

While options trading can offer high returns, it is not devoid of risks. Therefore, understanding and managing these risks is key.  

Buyers Risk: The premium paid for an option is at risk. If the option is not profitable at expiration, the premium is lost.  

Writers Risk: The writer takes on a much larger risk. If a call option is assigned, they must sell the underlying asset at the strike price, even if its market price is higher.

Options Assignment Summary

The concept of ‘assignment’ in options trading, although complex, is a cornerstone of understanding options trading. It not only clarifies the responsibilities of an options seller but also helps the traders to gauge and manage their risks more effectively. Successful trading involves not just knowing your options but also understanding your obligations.

Options Assignment FAQs

What is options assignment.

Options assignment refers to the process by which the seller (writer) of an options contract is obligated to fulfill their contractual obligation to buy or sell the underlying asset, as specified by the terms of the options contract.

When does options assignment occur?

Options assignment can occur when the buyer of the options contract exercises their right to buy (in the case of a call option) or sell (in the case of a put option) the underlying asset before or at expiration .

How does options assignment work?

When a buyer exercises their options contract, a clearing house randomly assigns a seller who is short (has written) the same options contract to fulfill the obligations of the exercise.

What happens to the seller upon options assignment?

If assigned, the seller (writer) of the options contract is obligated to fulfill their contractual obligation by buying or selling the underlying asset at the specified price (strike price) per the terms of the options contract.

Can options be assigned before expiration?

Yes, options can be assigned at any time (depending on contract type) before expiration if the buyer chooses to exercise their right. However, it is more common for options to be assigned closer to expiration as the time value diminishes.

What factors determine options assignment?

Options assignment is determined by the buyer’s decision to exercise their options contract. They may choose to exercise if the options contract is in-the- money and it is financially advantageous for them to do so.

How can I avoid options assignment? 

As a seller (writer) of options contracts, you can avoid assignment by closing your position before expiration through a closing trade (buying back the options contract) or rolling it over to a future expiration date.

What happens if I am assigned on a short call option?

If assigned on a short call option, you are obligated to sell the underlying asset at the specified price (strike price). This means you would need to deliver the shares . To fulfill this obligation, you may need to buy the shares in the open market if you do not hold them .

What happens if I am assigned on a short put option?

If assigned on a short put option, you are obligated to buy the underlying asset at the specified price (strike price). This means you would need to purchase the shares .  

How does options assignment affect my account?

Options assignment can impact your account by requiring you to fulfill the obligations of the assigned options contract, which may involve buying or selling the underlying asset. It is important to have sufficient funds or margin available to cover these obligations.

OptionsDesk Tips & Considerations

You should always have enough funds in your account to cover any assignment risk. If you have a short call position and it is in-the-money at the time of an ex-dividend be aware of extra assignment risk here as buyer/holder of the option may look to exercise to qualify for the dividend. Assignments can happen at any time!

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What is Options Assignment & How to Avoid It

options assignment explained

If you are learning about options, assignment might seem like a scary topic. In this article, you will learn why it really isn’t. I will break down the entire options assignment process step by step and show you when you might be assigned, how to minimize the risk of being assigned, and what to do if you are assigned.

Video Breakdown of Options Assignment

Check out the following video in which I explain everything you need to know about assignment:

What is Assignment?

To understand assignment, we must first remember what options allow you to do. So let’s start with a brief recap:

  • A call option gives its buyer the right to buy 100 shares of the underlying at the strike price
  • A put option gives its buyer the right to sell 100 shares of the underlying at the strike price

In other words, call options allow you to call away shares of the underlying from someone else, whereas a put option allows you to put shares in someone else’s account. Hence the name call and put option.

The assignment process is the selection of the other party of this transaction. So the person that has to buy from or sell to the option buyer that exercised their option.

Note that an option buyer has the right to exercise their option. It is not an obligation and therefore, a buyer of an option can never be assigned. Only option sellers can ever be get assigned since they agree to fulfill this obligation when they sell an option.

Let’s go through a specific example to clarify this:

  • The underlying security is stock ABC and it is trading at $100.
  • Peter decides to buy 1 put option with a strike price of 95 as a hedge for his long stock position in ABC
  • Kate sells this exact same option at the same time.

Over the next few weeks, ABC’s price goes down to $90 and Peter decides to exercise his put option. This means that he uses his right to sell 100 shares of ABC for $95 per share. Now Kate is assigned these 100 shares of ABC which means she is obligated to buy them for $95 per share. 

options exercise and assignment

Peter now has 100 fewer shares of ABC in his portfolio, whereas Kate has 100 more.

This process is analog for a call option with the only difference being that Kate would be short 100 shares and Peter would have 100 additional shares of ABC in his portfolio.

Hopefully, this example clarifies what assignment is.

Who Can Be Assigned?

To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves who exercises their option? To do this, let’s quickly look at the different ways that you can close a long option position:

  • Sell the option: Selling an option is probably the easiest way to close a long option position. Doing this will have no effect on the option seller.
  • Let the option expire: If the option is Out of The Money , it would expire worthless and there would be no consequence for the option seller. If, on the other hand, the option is In The Money by more than $0.01, it would typically be automatically exercised . This would start the options assignment process.
  • Exercise the option early: The last possibility would be to exercise the option before its expiration date. This, however, can only be done if the option is an American-style option. This would, once again, lead to an option assignment.

So as an option seller, you only have to worry about the last two possibilities in which the buyer’s option is exercised. 

options assignment statistic

But before you worry too much, here is a quick fact about the distribution of these 3 alternatives:

Less than 10% of all options are exercised.

This means 90% of all options are either sold prior to the expiration date or expire worthless. So always remember this statistic before breaking your head over the risk of being assigned.

It is very easy to avoid the first case of being assigned. To avoid it, just close your short option positions before they expire (ITM). For the second case, however, things aren’t as straight forward.

Who Risks being Assigned Early?

Firstly, you have to be trading American-style options. European-style options can only be exercised on their expiration date. But most equity options are American-style anyway. So unless you are trading index options or other kinds of European-style options, this will be the case for you.

Secondly, you need to be an options seller. Option buyers can’t be assigned.

These two are necessary conditions for you to be assigned. Everyone who fulfills both of these conditions risks getting assigned early. The size of this risk, however, varies depending on your position. Here are a few things that can dramatically increase your assignment risk:

  • ITM: If your option is ITM, the chance of being assigned is much higher than if it isn’t. From the standpoint of an option buyer, it does not make sense to exercise an option that isn’t ITM because this would lead to a loss. Nevertheless, it is possible. The deeper ITM the option is, the higher the assignment risk becomes.
  • Dividends : Besides that, selling options on securities with upcoming dividends also increases your risk of assignment. More specifically, if the extrinsic value of an ITM call option is less than the amount of the dividend, option buyers can achieve a profit by exercising their option before the ex-dividend date. 
  • Extrinsic Value: Otherwise, keep an eye on the extrinsic value of your option. If the option has extrinsic value left, it doesn’t make sense for the option buyer to exercise their option because they would achieve a higher profit if they just sold the option and then bought or sold shares of the underlying asset. Typically, the less time an option has left, the lower its extrinsic value becomes. Implied volatility is another factor that influences extrinsic value.
  • Puts vs Calls: This is more of an interesting side note than actual advice, but put options tend to get exercised more often than call options. This makes sense since put options give their buyer the right to sell the underlying asset and can, therefore, be a very useful hedge for long stock positions.

How can you Minimize Assignment Risk?

Since you now know what assignment is, and who risks being assigned, let’s shift our focus on how to minimize the assignment risk. Even though it isn’t possible to completely remove the risk of being assigned, there are things that you can do to dramatically decrease the chances of being assigned.

The first thing would be to avoid selling options on securities with upcoming dividend payments. Before putting on a position, simply check if the underlying security has any upcoming dividend payments. If so, look for a different trade.

If you ever are in the position that you are short an option and the ex-dividend of the underlying security is right around the corner, compare the size of the dividend to the extrinsic value of your option. If the extrinsic value is less than the dividend amount, you really should consider closing the position. Otherwise, the chances of being assigned are high. This is especially bad since being short during a dividend payment of a security will force you to pay the dividend.

Besides avoiding dividends, you should also close your option positions early. The less time an option has left, the lower its extrinsic value becomes and the more it makes sense for option buyers to exercise their options. Therefore, it is good practice to close your (ITM) short option positions at least one week before the expiration date.

The deeper an option is ITM, the higher the chances of assignment become. So the just-mentioned rule is even more important for deep ITM options.

If you don’t want to indefinitely close your position, it is also possible to roll it out to a later expiration cycle. This will give you more time and add extrinsic value to your position.

FAQs about Assignment

Last but not least, I want to answer some frequently asked questions about options exercise and assignment.

1. What happens if your account does not have enough buying power to cover the assigned position?

This is a common worry for beginning options traders. But don’t worry, if you don’t have enough capital to cover the new position, you will receive a margin call and usually, your broker will just automatically close the assigned shares immediately. This might lead to a minor assignment fee, but otherwise, it won’t significantly affect your account. Tatsyworks, for example, charges an assignment fee of only $5.

Check out my review of tastyworks

2. How does assignment affect your P&L?

When an option is exercised, the option holder gains the difference between the strike price and the price of the underlying asset. If the option is ITM, this is exactly the intrinsic value of the option. This means that the option holder loses the extrinsic value when he exercises his/her option. That’s also why it doesn’t make sense to exercise options with a lot of extrinsic value left.

options assignment extrinsic value

This means that as soon as the option is exercised, it is only the intrinsic value that is relevant for the payoff. This is the same payoff as the option at its expiration date.

So as an options seller, your P&L isn’t negatively affected by an assignment. Either it stays the same or it becomes slightly better due to the extrinsic value being ignored.

As an example, if your option is ITM by $1, you will lose up to $100 per option or $1 per share that you are assigned. But this does not account for the extrinsic value that falls away with the exercise of the option. So this would be the same P&L as at expiration. Depending on how much premium you collected when selling the option, this might still be a profit or a minor loss.

With that being said, as soon as you are assigned, you will have some carrying risk. If you don’t or can’t close the position immediately, you will be exposed to the ongoing price fluctuations of that security.  Sometimes, you might not be able to close the new position immediately because of trading halts, or because the market is closed.

If you weren’t planning on holding that security, it is a good idea to close the new position as soon as possible. 

Option spreads such as vertical spreads, add protection to these price fluctuations since you can just exercise the long option to close the assigned share position at the strike price of the long option.

3. When an option holder exercises their option, how is the assignment partner chosen?

random options assignment process

This is usually a random process. As soon as an option is exercised, the responsible brokerage firm sends a request to the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC). They send back the requested shares, whereafter they randomly choose another brokerage firm that currently has a client that is short the exercised option. Then the chosen broker has to decide which of their clients is assigned. This choice is, once again, random or a time-based priority system is used.

4. How does assignment work for index options?

As there aren’t any shares of indexes, you can’t directly be assigned any shares of the underlying asset. Therefore, index options are cash-settled. This means that instead of having to buy or sell shares of the underlying, you simply have to pay the difference between the strike price and the underlying trading price. This makes assignment easier and a lot less likely among index options.

Note that ETF options such as SPY options are not cash-settled. SPY is a normal security with openly traded shares, so exercise and assignment work just like they do among equity options.

options assignment dont panic

I hope this article made you realize that assignment isn’t as bad as it might seem at first. It is just important to understand how the options assignment process works and what affects the likelihood of being assigned.

To recap, here’s what you should to do when you are assigned:

if you have enough capital in your account to cover the position, you could either treat the new position as a normal (stock) position and hold on to it or you could close it immediately. If you don’t have a clear trading plan for the new position, I recommend the latter.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have enough buying power, you will receive a margin call from your broker and the position should be closed automatically.

Assignment does not have any significant impact on your P&L, but it comes with some carrying risk. Options spreads can offer more protection against this than naked option positions.

To mitigate assignment risk, you should close option positions early, always keep an eye on the extrinsic value of your option positions, and avoid upcoming dividend securities.

And always remember, less than 10% of options are exercised, so assignment really doesn’t happen that often, especially not if you are actively trying to avoid it.

For the specifics of how assignment is handled, it is a good idea to contact your broker, as the procedures can vary from broker to broker.

Thank you for taking the time and reading this post. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please let me know in the comment section below.

22 Replies to “What is Options Assignment & How to Avoid It”

hi there well seems like finally there is one good honest place. seem like you are puting on the table the whole truth about bad positions. however my wuestion is when can one know where to put that line of limit. when do you recognise or understand that you are in a bad position? thanks and once again, a great site.

Well If you are trading a risk defined strategy the point would be at max loss and not too much time left until expiration. For undefined risk strategies however it can be very different. I would just say if you don’t have too much time until expiration and are far from making money you should use some common sense and admit that you are wrong.

What would happen in the event of a crash. Would brokers be assigning, options, cashing out these shares, and making others bankrupt. Well, I guessed I sort of answered my own question. Its not easy to understand, especially not knowing when this would come up. But seems like you hit the important aspects of the agreement.

Actually I wouldn’t imagine that too many people would want to exercise their options in case of a market ctash, because they probably wouldn’t want to hold stocks in this risky and volatile environment. 

And to the part of the questions: making others bankrupt. This really depends on the situation. You can’t get assigned more stock than your option covers. This means as long as you trade with reasonable position sizing nothing too bad can happen. Otherwise I would recommend to trade with defined risk strategies so your maximum drawdown is capped.

Thanks for writing about assignment Louis. After reading the section how assignment works, I feel I am somewhat unclear about how assignment works when the exerciser exercises Put or Call option. In both cases, if the underlying is an index, is the settlement done through the margin account money? Would you be able to provide a little more detail of how exercising the option (Put vs Call) would work in case of an underlying stock vs Index.

Thank you very much in advance

Thanks for the question. Indexes can’t be traded in the same way as stocks can. That’s why index options are settled in cash. If your index option is assigned, you won’t have to buy or sell any shares of the underlying index at the strike price because there exist no shares of indexes. Instead, you have to pay the amount that your index option is ITM to the exerciser of your option. Let me give you an example: You are short a call option with the strike price of 1000. The underlying asset is an index and it’s price is 1050. This means your call option is 50 points ITM. If someone exercises your long call option, you will have to pay him/her the difference between the strike price and the underlying’s price which would be 50 (1050-1000). So the main difference between index and stock options is that you don’t have to buy/sell any shares of the underlying asset for index options. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions or comments.

Can the same logic be applied for ETFs as it does Indexes? For example, if I trade the SPY ETF, would it be settled in cash?

Thanks! Johnson

Hi Johnson, Exercise and assignment for ETFs such as SPY work just like they do for equities. ETFs have shares that are openly traded, whereas indexes don’t. That’s why indexes are settled in cash, whereas ETFs aren’t. I hope this helps.

There are many articles online that I read that are biased against options tradings and I am a bit surprised to read a really helpful article like this. I find this helpful in understanding options trading, what are the techniques and how to manage the risks. Before, I was hesitant to try this financial game but now, after reading this article, I am considering participating with live accounts and no longer with a demo account. A few months ago, I signed up with a company called IQ Options, but really never involved real money and practiced only with a demo account.

Thanks for your comment. I am glad to see that you liked the post. However, I don’t recommend sing IQ Option to trade since they are a very shady trading firm. You could check out my  Review of IQ Option for all the details.

this is a great and amazing article. i sincerely your effort creating time  to write on such an informative article which has taught me a lot more on what is options assignment and avoiding it. i just started trading but had no ideas on this as a beginner. i find this article very helpful because it has given me more understanding on options trading and knowing the techniques and how to manage the risks. thanks for sharing this amazing article

You are very welcome

Hello, the first thing that i noticed when i opened this page is the beauty of the website. i am sure you have put much effort into creating this article and the details are really clear here. after watching the video break down, i fully understood the entire process on how to avoid options assignment.

Thank you so much for the positive feedback!

I would love to create a website like yours as the design used is really nice, simple and brings about clarity of the write ups, but then you wrote a brilliant article on how to avoid options assignment. great video here. it was  confusing at first. i will suggest another video be added to help some people like me.

Thanks for the feedback. I recommend checking out my  options trading beginner course . In it, I cover all the basics that weren’t explained here.

Thanks for your very helpful article. I am contemplating selling a call that would cover half my shares on company X. How can ensure that the assignment process selects the shares that I bought at a higher price, so as to maximize capital losses?

Hi Luis, When you are assigned, you just automatically buy/sell shares of the underlying at the strike price. This means your overall portfolio is adjusted by these 100 shares. The exact shares and your entry price are irrelevant. If you have 50 shares of X and your short call is assigned, you will sell 100 shares of X at the strike price. After this, your position would be -50 shares of X which would be equivalent to being short 50 shares of X. I hope this helps.

Louis, I entered a CALL butterfly spread at $100 below where I intended, just 2 days before expiration date. I intended to speculate on a big earning announcement jump the next day. It was a debit of 1.25. Also, when I realized my mistake, I tried to close it for anything at all. The Mark fluctuated between 40 and 70, but I could not get it to close. So now I am assigned to sell 200 share at 70 dollars below the market price of the stock. I am having a heart attack. I do not have the 200 shares to deliver, so it seems I have to buy them at the market, and sell them for $70 less, for a loss of $14,000.

What other options are open to me? Can my trading firm force a close with a friendly market maker and make it as if it happened on Friday? I am willing to pay a friendly market maker several hundred dollars to make this trade. Is that an option? Other options the trading firm can do for me that would cost me less than $14,000?

Hi Paul, Thanks for your comment. From the limited information provided, it is hard to say what is actually going on. If you bought a call butterfly spread, your max loss should be limited to the premium you paid to open the position. An assignment shouldn’t have a huge impact on your overall P&L. I highly recommend contacting your broker and explaining your situation to them since they have all the information required to evaluate what’s actually going on. But if the loss is real, there is no way for you to make a deal with a market maker to limit or undo potential losses. I hope this helps.

What happens with ITM long call option that typically gets automatically exercised at expiration, if the owner of the call option doesn’t have the cash/margin to cover the stock purchase?

He would receive a margin call

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Option Assignment Process

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One of the biggest fears that new options traders have is that they may get assigned. The option assignment process means that the option writer is obligated to deliver on the terms specified in a contract.

For example, if a put option is assigned, the options writer would need to buy the underlying security at the strike price dictated in the contract.

Likewise for a call option, the options write would need to sell the underlying security at the strike price dictated in the contract.

As an options trader you’re usually seeking to make a profit from directional bets or to hedge your portfolio.

You’re rarely, if ever, looking to actually buy or sell the underlying security so being assigned can sound like a scary prospect.

This article will explore the option assignment process so you can understand how it works and how you can prevent yourself getting stuck with buying or selling an underlying security.

When Assignment Occurs

Assignment occurs when an option holder exercises an option. Exercising an option simply means that the option holder executes the terms in the options contract.

So for example if you are holding a call option, you have the right, but not the obligation to buy the underlying security at the agreed strike price.

When you exercise the option, the option holder will need to sell the underlying security at the agreed strike price and for the agreed quantity.

If you’re dealing with European style options, you will know when expiration is possible because they can only be exercised on the expiration date itself.

option assignment process

For American style options, which is what most people trade, options can be exercised at any time before the expiration date.

This means that if you are an options writer of American style options, you could theoretically be asked at any time to comply with the terms of the contract.

Unfortunately, there is no knowing when an assignment will take place.

However, generally options are not exercised prior to expiration as it is usually much more profitable to sell the option instead.

It’s worth noting that this will only happen to you if you’re an options seller. Option buyers can never be assigned.

There are two key steps to assignment and to make it fair, the process of selecting who is assigned is random.

In the first step, the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) will issue an exercise notice to a randomly selected Clearing Member who maintains an account with the OCC.

In the second step, the Clearing Member then assigns the exercise notice to an individual account.

When You Are Most At Risk

There are several situations that can dramatically increase the risk that you will be assigned:

Situation 1: Your option is In The Money (ITM)

When an option is ITM, an option holder would stand to profit if they exercised the option.

The deeper the option is ITM, the greater the profit for the option holder and therefore the higher risk they may exercise the option and you will be assigned.

Situation 2: The option has an upcoming dividend

An ITM call buyer can profit from exercising an option before its ex-dividend date if the extrinsic value of the call is less than the amount of the dividend.

Situation 3: There is no extrinsic value left

If there is no extrinsic value left, an option buyer could be tempted to exercise the option.

If there is extrinsic value, an option buyer would typically make a bigger profit by selling the option and buying/selling shares of the underlying asset.

How You Can Avoid The Risk Of Being Assigned

There are several steps you can take to avoid, or at the very least minimise, your risk of being assigned.

The first step to consider is avoiding selling any options that have an upcoming dividend.

Before selling any option, first check that the underlying security doesn’t have an upcoming dividend and if it does, consider waiting until after the dividend has occurred (i.e. the stock has gone ex-dividend).

If you do end up selling an option with an upcoming dividend, then the second step to protecting yourself is to close your position early as your risk begins to increase.

For example, if you are short an option with an extrinsic value less than the dividend amount and the ex-dividend of the underlying security is not too far away, close your position.

Otherwise you risk being assigned and being forced to pay the dividend as well!

To completely avoid early assignment risk, you could always sell only European style options which are cash settled at expiration. You can read more that here and here .

The final way to manage your risk is to close positions well before expiration date approaches.

As the time left to expiration decreases, so too does the extrinsic value. For option buyers, it means they could stand to benefit and so there is a risk they may exercise the option.

While this article deals with the process and risks behind being assigned, there will be times when this isn’t an issue for you.

Provided you have enough capital to meet the assignment, you may be fine with being assigned.

If this is the case, you would simply have a new stock position added which you could hold onto or immediately liquidate.

In the event that you don’t have enough capital, your broker will issue you with a margin call and the position should be automatically closed.

As the process of assignment can differ between brokers, its best you contact your broker to check the specific process they use when issuing assignments to individual accounts.

In general, provided you take a few key steps to mitigate your risks, particularly around dividend issuing securities, the chances of assignment are very low.

Trade safe!

Disclaimer: The information above is for  educational purposes only and should not be treated as investment advice . The strategy presented would not be suitable for investors who are not familiar with exchange traded options. Any readers interested in this strategy should do their own research and seek advice from a licensed financial adviser.

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Closed my Oct BB (a few moments ago) for 34% profit…that is the best of the 3 BBs I traded since Gav taught us the strategy…so, the next coffee or beer on me, Gav 🙂

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Option Assignment: What It Is, How to Avoid It, and Examples

B. James

  • January 3, 2023
  • Options and Derivatives

Options assignment is a must-know concept for anyone trading options, especially those selling them. It’s the process by which an option seller can be held to their contract terms — and it has risks.

We’ll go over what you need to know about the mechanics of assignment, why it occurs, and your exposure when selling options.

What is option assignment?

When an option holder decides to exercise their option, they’ll first need to notify their broker. This will trigger a notification of assignment to the writer (seller) of said option and force them to fulfill their side of the trade – be it buying or selling the underlying asset at whatever price is agreed upon.

For instance, let’s say that Dave holds a call option on XYZ stock with a strike price of $50. With XYZ currently trading at $55 a share, Dave decides to exercise his option – meaning he wants to exercise his right to buy 100 shares at $50.

The broker would then randomly assign an option seller – who would then be obligated to sell XYZ stock to Dave at the agreed-upon price of $50 a share.

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Reasons for assignment

At expiration, traders still holding short, in-the-money options often receive an unpleasant surprise – being forced to fulfill the terms of their contract. If you had a short put option, your assignment would mean buying stock – if a call option, you’ll be selling shares.

Though it’s not common, early assignment on options trades is still a possibility. Specifically for illiquid contracts that have wide bid/ask spreads or those with upcoming dividend payments – so best to keep an eye out!

  • Expiration: Most likely reason for an assignment. Any short, in-the-money options are nearly guaranteed to be assigned. Most brokers will automatically exercise their customers’ options even if they are just a penny in-the-money.
  • Wide spread: For an option holder, exercising early isn’t usually a preferred course of action. However, in certain cases—such as when the bid/ask spread is too wide due to illiquidity—they may have no choice but to exercise if they want to get any value out of their contract.
  • Dividend risk: Short, in-the-money (ITM) call options are at risk of being assigned early if the underlying stock pays a dividend. This risk is greatest when the dividend amount is higher than the extrinsic value left in the contract.

How to avoid option assignment

If you’re the writer (seller) of an option, a guaranteed way to avoid assignment is by closing out the option contract. If you no longer hold it, there’s no risk someone will assign it to you.

Another way to avoid assignment is by rolling your option. This means you would close out the current contract and open a new one at an expiry further in time or with a strike further out-of-the-money. It could take some practice, but it’s worth understanding if you want more control over how your options are managed!

  • OTM expiration: Out-of-the-money options will expire worthless upon expiration. An option holder has up to 90 minutes after market close to exercise – so it’s best to close the option prior to the bell to avoid any surprise assignments.
  • Rolling: Rolling an option is the process of closing your current position while simultaneously opening a new one. If the option is about to expire, you would be buying back the current option while simultaneously selling a new one further out in time. You could also choose to move it to a new strike and improve the probabilities.
  • Exit the trade: One surefire way you can avoid getting assigned is by closing your option. That’ll make it impossible for anyone to assign a contract to you!

Does option assignment count as a day trade?

In general, a day trade is defined as the opening and closing of a security on the same trading day. However, the exercise or assignment of an option contract does not count as a day trade.

What is dividend risk ?

Dividend risk is only a consideration for short, in-the-money call options on an underlying which pays dividends . It’s most likely to occur on the ex-dividend date for the stock on options with less extrinsic value left than the dividend being paid.

Most traders would find the extrinsic value left in the call option by using the value of the corresponding put. In the example below, let’s assume the stock goes ex-dividend tomorrow and pays a 26-cent dividend.

option assignment zhongwen

If we had sold the 18-strike call, using the put we can quickly see it has roughly 7 cents of extrinsic value. Since the dividend is higher than the extrinsic value, this option is at high risk of being assigned early.

Any in-the-money call option that has less extrinsic value than the amount of the dividend, may be at risk of early assignment. This could be avoided by exiting the option prior to the ex-dividend date, or by rolling the option to an expiration or strike less likely to be assigned.

Options assignment is a potential risk of options writing. In many situations, it can be avoided but needs to be fully understood to manage effectively.

By understanding the basics of options assignment, why it happens, and ways to avoid it; you can rest easy knowing that you’re prepared for anything. So next time option assignment comes knocking, you’ll be ready!

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OptionGenius.com

How Does Stock Option Assignment Work?

Stock option assignment.

By strict definition, this term basically means the transfer of a person’s rights to another person or business.  In terms of stock options, it refers to a notice given to an option writer that states the option (that was sold to a buyer) has officially been exercised.  Exercised as in executed, not exorcised, which would have an entirely different meaning.  Whenever a seller has been assigned then he or she is obligated to finish the requirements as stated in the option.  For instance, if the option was a call then the writer/seller of the option would have to sell the security at the agreed upon price.

The OCC and the stock option assignment process

When the holder of an option wants to exercise the option he/she notifies his/her broker. The broker will notify the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) of the event.  After this, OCC fulfills the rest of the contract and then selects a firm that happened to be short the same contract.  After notifying the firm, this group will then carry out the obligation as specified by contract.

They will choose a customer who was short the option for the official assignment.  (The customer can be anyone from a random person, to a first-come or even first out basis)  The customer is then assigned the exercise, which requires that he or she complete the obligation.  Remember that the person is not actually buying the call—on the contrary he is buying the stock at the stated strike price. 

  Take a moment to consider who the OCC really is.  The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) was first opened in 1973 and is currently the largest equity derivative clearing organization worldwide.  It is a clearing firm that works with commodities, commodity options and security futures.  They play the part as guarantor to each of these contracts, and try and make sure that all contractual obligations are completely fulfilled, as they are essentially clearing these deals and taking responsibility.

This organization operates under the watchful eye of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  The OCC clears put and call options on regular stocks, stock indexes, foreign currencies, interest rate composites and single-stock futures, as well as other types of equities.  It also works with futures contracts.  This organization is controlled by a board of directors.  Most of the revenue is made from clearing fees that come straight from its members.  The OCC cooperates with all of the top exchanges in the United States, including the American Stock Exchange, International Securities Exchange, NYSE Arca, Chicago Board Options Exchange, the Boston Stock Exchange and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

American Options Trading

With American style options, assignment can happen at anytime. With European style options, assignment can only take place when the option is about to expire. Many traders, especially newer ones are afraid of getting assigned stock when they sell options.

Unless the option is in the money and there are only a few days left to expiration assignment is not something to worry about. Even if a trader is assigned stock, either long or short, the trader can turn around and exit that position in the market.

If you sell a covered call, you own the stock and sell a call against it. In this case, you want your stock to be called away (sold at the stock price) since that results in the highest percentage profit.

  On the other hand if you are interested in buying stock at a certain price, you can sell a naked put option at the price you would be happy buying the stock and if the stock gets to your price, you will be “put’ the stock – which means you will have to buy it at that price. You also get a credit in the amount you sold the option for. So you get a discount on the stock as well.

Index option trading

  When trading index options, it is good to know that these are cash based and so there is no stock involved. If you are “assigned” your broker will just take the money out of your account.

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What I understand then is that if I get assigned I have to have enough money in my account(s) for the stock purchase or sale if I’m trading option spreads (either calls or puts). I can’t use margin. Is this correct?

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option assignment zhongwen

What Is an Option Assignment?

Sebencapital.

What Is an Option Assignment?

DEFINITION :

An option assignment is when the person who sold the option has to follow through with the agreement. This means they might have to sell or buy the actual thing (like a stock) at the price agreed upon in the contract.

Key Takeaways

  • An assignment happens when the person who sold an option has to do what they agreed to in the contract. This might mean they have to sell or buy the real thing, like a stock, at the price they previously agreed upon.
  • When you sell an option and get assigned, you're obligated to complete the trade described in the option contract. This means you'll have to go through with the transaction based on the terms previously agreed upon.
  • Assignment occurs only when you're selling options, not when you're buying them. If you sell an option and someone chooses to exercise it, you're obliged to fulfill the terms of that option contract.
  • Assignment happens infrequently, with only about 7% of options ultimately leading to assignment.

Definition and Examples of Assignment

Assignment occurs when someone who sold an option is obligated to follow through on the terms of the deal. Imagine you sold an option to someone. By doing this, you promised to handle a future transaction if they decide to act on that option. For instance, if you sold a put option, it means you agreed to buy a stock at a specific price before the option expires.

If the person who holds the option doesn't use it by the expiration date, the option just ends. But if they decide to move forward with the transaction, they exercise the option.

When the option holder decides to exercise it, the person who sold the option gets a notification called an assignment. This notice tells them that the option holder wants to complete the deal. As the seller, you're legally bound to fulfill the terms of the options contract.

For instance, if you sold a call option for XYZ stock at a ₹40 strike price and the buyer decides to exercise it, you'll receive the assignment. That means you're committed to either buying 100 shares of XYZ at the market price or providing the shares from your own holdings and selling them at ₹40 each to the option holder.

Assignment is a concern for traders who sell options. If you sell an options contract, you might face assignment, which means you're obligated to fulfill the contract's terms if the buyer chooses to act on it. However, if you're buying options, you don't have to fret about assignment. As a buyer, you have the choice to exercise the contract or not, giving you control over the situation.

How Does Assignment Work?

The options market operates through large exchanges where contracts are traded anonymously. Unlike a direct transaction, where you know the person you're dealing with, in options trading, you may not know the buyer or seller. Instead, a system handles these transactions.

In the United States, the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) is like a hub for the options market. It ensures fair dealings by overseeing the exchange of options contracts. When someone decides to act on an option, the OCC manages the assignment process. For instance, if multiple sellers offered XYZ calls at a specific price and one is exercised, the OCC randomly selects one of those sellers to fulfill the contract.

Normally, assignments aren't common in options trading. Around 7% of options are acted upon, while the other 93% simply reach their expiration without any action. As the expiration date gets closer, the likelihood of assignments tends to increase.

If you're given the duty to meet an options contract you sold, you must acknowledge the loss and fulfill the agreement. Typically, your broker will automatically manage this transaction for you.

What It Means for Individual Investors

As an individual investor, the concern about assignment arises primarily if you're selling options, but this occurrence is not very common. Less than 7% of options face assignment, and it becomes more likely as the option's expiration date approaches.

When an option is assigned, it means facing a loss as the option must be fulfilled. While this can be worrying, there are ways to mitigate this risk. You can plan to close your position before the expiration date or adopt strategies that don’t involve selling options liable for potential exercise.

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Written by Sauravsingh

Techpreneur and adept trader, Sauravsingh Tomar seamlessly blends the worlds of technology and finance. With rich experience in Forex and Stock markets, he's not only a trading maven but also a pioneer in innovative digital solutions. Beyond charts and code, Sauravsingh is a passionate mentor, guiding many towards financial and technological success. In his downtime, he's often found exploring new places or immersed in a compelling read.

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IMAGES

  1. Option and Assignment Agreements

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  2. Assignment 3: Option B

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  3. Assignment 2

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  4. Option Exercise and Assignment Explained w/ Visuals

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  5. Assignment of option to purchase shares! Golden Predator to Take

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  6. Employee Stock Option (ESO)

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VIDEO

  1. How to manage options assignment #options #optionstrading #optionstrategy #optionselling #tastytrade

  2. Assignment #4: Option I

  3. [FIN645] GROUP ASSIGNMENT: SYNTHETIC OPTION

  4. Digital Assignment Option 1

  5. Assignment 5 option c

  6. How To Manage Early Options Assignment

COMMENTS

  1. Trading Options: Understanding Assignment

    An option assignment represents the seller's obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract by either selling or buying the underlying security at the exercise price. This obligation is triggered when the buyer of an option contract exercises their right to buy or sell the underlying security.

  2. Options Assignment Explained (2024): Complete Trader's Guide

    In its simplest form, options assignment means carrying out the rights specified in an option contract. Holding an option allows a trader the choice to buy or sell a particular asset, but there's no compulsion. The moment they opt to use this right, that's when options assignment kicks in.

  3. How Option Assignment Works: Understanding Options Assignment

    May 26, 2023 — 08:00 am EDT Written by [email protected] for Schaeffer -> Options assignment is a process in options trading that involves fulfilling the obligations of an options...

  4. What Is Option Assignment & How Does It Work?

    Option assignment is the process of matching an exercised option with a writer of an option.

  5. Exercise & Assignement

    The buyer has the right to exercise the option at any time and assign stock to the seller that they are obligated to buy or sell (based on the type of option) at the strike price. The buyer profits from the option price going up. - Option Writer/Seller: Writes and sells the option to the buyer and collects the premium.

  6. OPTION中文(繁體)翻譯:劍橋詞典

    noun uk / ˈɒp.ʃ ə n / us / ˈɑːp.ʃ ə n / Add to word list B1 [ C or U ] one thing that can be chosen from a set of possibilities, or the freedom to make a choice 選擇,選項;選擇權 The best option would be to cancel the trip altogether. 最好的選擇是徹底取消這次行程。 There are various options open to someone who is willing to work hard. 願意努力工作的人有多種選項。

  7. Options Basics: How the Option Assignment Process Works

    Simply defined, the assignment of an option refers to the fulfillment of the options contract by the seller. An option holder has the right to buy or sell the underlying equity at the given...

  8. What is Option Assignment? How and Why Assignment Happens

    Option assignment is when an option seller is required to fulfill the obligation of the option per the contract's terms. If an option buyer exercises their right to buy or sell shares of stock at the strike price, the option seller must honor this request and fulfill their obligation. Option buyers have the right to exercise an option at any time.

  9. Options Exercise, Assignment, and More: A Beginner's Guide

    Learn about options exercise and options assignment before taking a position, not afterward. This guide can help you navigate the dynamics of options expiration. So your trading account has gotten options approval, and you recently made that first trade—say, a long call in XYZ with a strike price of $105. Then expiration day approaches and ...

  10. Ready for Options Trading? Make Sure You Understand Assignment First

    An option assignment represents the seller's obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract by either selling or buying the underlying security at the exercise price. This obligation is triggered ...

  11. Assignment: Definition in Finance, How It Works, and Examples

    Assignment refers to the transfer of some or all property rights and obligations associated with an asset, property, contract, or other asset of value. to another entity through a written...

  12. OPTION中文(简体)翻译:剑桥词典

    option翻译:选择,选项;选择权, 期权;未来购买权。了解更多。

  13. What Is an Option Assignment?

    An assignment represents the seller of an option's obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract by either selling or purchasing the underlying security at the exercise price. If you sell an option and get assigned, you have to fulfill the transaction outlined in the option. You can only get assigned if you sell options, not if you buy them.

  14. Assignments in Options Trading

    Hedging with Options Protective Put Options Assignment What is an Options Assignment? In options trading, an assignment occurs when an option is exercised. As we know, a buyer of an option has the right but not the obligation to buy or sell an underlying asset depending on what option they have purchased.

  15. Options Assignment & How To Avoid It

    What is Options Assignment & How to Avoid It April 2, 2020 Louis Option Trading Derivatives, Portfolio Management, Risk Management If you are learning about options, assignment might seem like a scary topic. In this article, you will learn why it really isn't.

  16. Deep Dive Into Options Assignment & Exercising

    Deep Dive into Options Assignment & Exercising. In this show, we will go through 18 questions to help you prepare for the inevitable moment of options exercise and assignment. Back on Show 187, we tackled the top 15 questions we consistently receive around options expiration. Today, we're taking a slightly different approach and addressing ...

  17. Options Assignment

    Some generalizations might help you understand likelihood of assignment on a short-option position: Option holders only exercise about 7% of options. The percentage hasn't varied much over the years. That does not mean that you can only be assigned on 7% of your short option. It means that, in general, option exercises are not that common.

  18. Option Assignment Process: Everything You Need to Know

    The option assignment process means that the option writer is obligated to deliver on the terms specified in a contract. For example, if a put option is assigned, the options writer would need to buy the underlying security at the strike price dictated in the contract.

  19. Understanding Options Assignment: What It Means and How to Respond

    Assignment — What happens to shares of an option contract. As an option seller, you can be assigned 100 long shares of stock per put option contract and 100 short shares of stock per call option. Call Option — Gives the owner the right to call (buy) shares from the option seller.

  20. Option Assignment: What It Is, How to Avoid It, and Examples

    Any in-the-money call option that has less extrinsic value than the amount of the dividend, may be at risk of early assignment. This could be avoided by exiting the option prior to the ex-dividend date, or by rolling the option to an expiration or strike less likely to be assigned. Recap. Options assignment is a potential risk of options writing.

  21. PDF Trading Options: Understanding Assignment

    What is assignment? An option assignment represents the seller's obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract by either selling or buying the underlying security at the exercise price. This obligation is triggered when the buyer of an option contract exercises their right to buy or sell the underlying security.

  22. How Does Stock Option Assignment Work?

    For instance, if the option was a call then the writer/seller of the option would have to sell the security at the agreed upon price. The OCC and the stock option assignment process. When the holder of an option wants to exercise the option he/she notifies his/her broker. The broker will notify the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) of the event.

  23. What Is an Option Assignment?

    As an individual investor, the concern about assignment arises primarily if you're selling options, but this occurrence is not very common. Less than 7% of options face assignment, and it becomes more likely as the option's expiration date approaches. When an option is assigned, it means facing a loss as the option must be fulfilled.

  24. Manage your Microsoft 365 subscription or Office product

    If you selected My Microsoft account, the Microsoft account dashboard will open.This is where you manage your Microsoft account and any Microsoft products associated with this account. On the Microsoft account dashboard, select Services & subscriptions to view all Microsoft products associated with this account. For non-subscription versions of Office (such as Office 2013 and later):