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cwelsh

Trading our strategies in IRAs

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Several people have asked if our strategies can be implemented in IRA accounts.

 

The short answer is yes, but it depends on the broker.

 

The longer answer is "not exactly as it is done on this site."  

 

First, some brokers won't allow it. This is unusual, but I have come across brokers who won't allow option trading in IRAs.  Find this out before you open an account.  Second, the rules are different.  IRAs basically can't use margin trading and everything has to be cash secured.  

 

Let's say I have 4 positions in my account:

Long 100 shares of AAPL bought at $120 (stock price at $120)

Short 1 call of AAPL at the $110 strike, sold for $5

Long 10 puts of XOM at the $50 strike bought for $10 (stock price at $60)

Short 5 puts of XOM at the $40 strike (sold for $5)

 

In a non-IRA account, enabled for margin, there will be no issue with these positions when opened.  If AAPL moves up a LOT or XOM moves down a lot, your account may go into a margin call eventually (Reg-T call), but you likely can satisfy that by closing the positions.  If you have a regular account, you may have noticed from time to time that your "available funds for trading" goes into a negative amount as positions move around.  

 

On the other hand, in an IRA, you will have to have the cash already in the account for potential losses on the trade.  So on the AAPL trade, in addition to those positions, you'll also have to have $500 in cash.  (As if the price stays above $110, you stand to lose $500).  The same goes on the put side.

 

You see this in Anchor as well.  If we have a long put at 390 and sell the 400 put, we have to have that $10/contract ($1000) on deposit in cash in an IRA, whereas in a regular account, you likely won't.  

 

 

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@Kim, do you know if SS can be implemented within Canadian Registered Accounts (TFSA or RRSP)?

I tried to place "Sell to Open Covered" order in my TFSA account which has a long call position (but no stock) and iTrade didn't allow it. My account is approved for Level 2 Options trading (the highest we can get for registered accounts - long put, long call, sell covered call). I am not sure if this is a CRA rule or brokerage restriction. 

P.S. Sorry for bothering you with tax related questions lately.

Edited by ixero@20

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3 hours ago, Kim said:

But if SS trades only debit spreads which are defined risk, and no margin is used, why this could be an issue?

If you ONLY do debit spreads, it would not be an issue (unless you try to trade more than you have in your account, as can be done in a margin account).  

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1 hour ago, ixero@20 said:

@Kim, do you know if SS can be implemented within Canadian Registered Accounts (TFSA or RRSP)?

I tried to place "Sell to Open Covered" order in my TFSA account which has a long call position (but no stock) and iTrade didn't allow it. My account is approved for Level 2 Options trading (the highest we can get for registered accounts - long put, long call, sell covered call). I am not sure if this is a CRA rule or brokerage restriction. 

P.S. Sorry for bothering you with tax related questions lately.

No, they don't allow spreads at all. Here is what IB allows:

https://www.interactivebrokers.ca/en/index.php?f=13406&p=rsp

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