For decades, the world of option trading has enticed both aggressive and conservative investors with its quick profits and risk management potential for portfolios of any size. It has also functioned as a form of gambling for the uneducated, who have lost untold millions of dollars by purchasing put and call options that expired worthless. However, in many cases, the risks that are posed by options have been far more publicized than the benefits. The Options Industry Council (OIC) was therefore created in an attempt to educate the investing public about both the risks and benefits of option trading. (To learn more, see How To Use Options To Make Earnings Predictions.)

TUTORIAL: Options Basics

The OIC was formed in 1992 through the joint effort of several securities organizations, including the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE), The Options Clearing Corporation (OCC), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), the Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX) and the Pacific Exchange (PCX). The OIC was founded to provide a platform of learning for individual investors, and has since grown to become one of the premier sources of options education for the investing public in America and elsewhere. The Boston Options Exchange (BOX) joined the OIC in 2004, and the BATS Option and C2 Options Exchange have also become sponsors. The OIC has since reached out to exchanges in other countries, such as Poland and Thailand, in an effort to educate their investors on the mechanics of options. (To learn more, see Who Owns The Stock Exchanges?)

Scope and Purpose
Although the OIC was created through the joint efforts of several official trading entities, it is purely an educational organization, and has no legal or regulatory authority of any kind. The OIC was originally formed in order to keep pace with the growth in the equity options market, but this market's rate of growth increased, substantially, as a result of the OIC's efforts over the years. The OIC attempts to educate investors of all levels by using several different mediums of communication, including:

The OIC sponsors a variety of educational seminars that are taught by experienced professional options traders. Approximately 90 of these seminars are given around the country each year for beginner, intermediate and advanced option traders. Those for beginners focus on how to get started with options, while intermediate-level investors learn how to manage options portfolios and advanced traders are given a breakdown on the significance of option volatility.

There are several websites hosted by the OIC that are dedicated to educating investors about options. These include:
This site is designed to educate institutional investors on the benefits of options. It offers many different types of education for learners, including news, educational articles, interactive tools, online classes, real-time quotes and other news that are supplied by
This site is designed for individual retail investors and provides a plethora of tools and educational alternatives for options traders of all levels. It offers online classes, options pricing calculators, real-time trading data (including quotes and news), free online registration for options seminars, quizzes designed to test the knowledge of potential investors, access to OIC resources and programs, trading strategies, expiration calendars and press releases, as well as a complete dictionary of options-related terms. It also contains a range of pod and webcasts that cover all aspects of options trading, such as covered call writing, LEAPS, volatility and pricing. These hour-long programs are typically taught by the live-seminar instructors, and are appropriate for options traders of any level of expertise. (To learn more, see Using LEAPS In A Covered Call Write.)
This is the site for the OIC itself, and contains an overview of the options industry as a whole and outlines the nature and purpose of the OIC for the public. Many educational resources are available here, as well, that cover topics such as ETFs and the taxation of options. This site also provides a virtual trading program that permits investors to trade hypothetical option contracts in a simulated environment. (To learn more, see How To Reduce Taxes On ETF Gains.)

Brochures, Educational Materials and Newsletters
The OIC publishes a great deal of printed material that echoes what is available on its websites. Many of these brochures and flyers can be downloaded from the website, but they are also distributed at seminars and can be mailed to investors upon request. These brochures cover various topics relating to the risks, rewards and mechanics of options. Interactive DVDs and other computer materials that cover specific topics and strategies are also available.

The OIC also houses a help desk that investors can contact with questions, problems or feedback. All materials, seminars and other avenues of education are created by qualified options industry personnel who are backed by a staff of legal and compliance experts who insure that all materials adequately describe the risks of options, as well as the potential benefits.

The OIC is perhaps the most well-known source of information for option traders in America. It offers a wealth of educational resources for both novice and veteran options traders via seminars, websites and printed materials. Those who are seeking instruction in this arena should visit one of their websites or enroll in one of their upcoming seminars. For more information on the OIC, consult your stockbroker or financial advisor.

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    The Birth Of Stock Exchanges

    Learn how British coffeehouses helped give rise to the juggernaut that is the NYSE.
  2. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    How To Pick The Best ETF

    Of the hundreds of exchange-traded funds on the market, some are bound to fail. Learn how to pick the best of the bunch.
  3. Options & Futures

    The Importance Of Time Value In Options Trading

    Move beyond simply buying calls and puts, and learn how to turn time-value decay into potential profits.
  4. Options & Futures

    Should Your Options Go Naked?

    Compare naked strategies to credit spreads and see if the unlimited risk of going naked is worth it.
  5. Options & Futures

    Profiting From Stock Declines: Bear Put Spread Vs. Long Put

    If you're bearish, you should compare the risk/reward characteristics of these two strategies.
  6. Options & Futures

    Stock Option Expiration Cycles

    Understanding expiration cycles is just one more way to help you increase your success rate when trading options.
  7. Investing Basics

    Explaining Options Contracts

    Options contracts grant the owner the right to buy or sell shares of a security in the future at a given price.
  8. Home & Auto

    When Are Rent-to-Own Homes a Good Idea?

    Lease now and pay later can work – for a select few.
  9. Fundamental Analysis

    Is India the Next Emerging Markets Superstar?

    With a shift towards manufacturing and services, India could be the next emerging market superstar. Here, we provide a detailed breakdown of its GDP.
  10. Technical Indicators

    Using Moving Averages To Trade The Volatility Index (VIX)

    VIX moving averages smooth out the natural choppiness of the indicator, letting traders and market timers access reliable sentiment and volatility data.
  1. Principal-Agent Problem

    The principal-agent problem develops when a principal creates ...
  2. Derivative

    A security with a price that is dependent upon or derived from ...
  3. Security

    A financial instrument that represents an ownership position ...
  4. Series 6

    A securities license entitling the holder to register as a limited ...
  5. Discount Bond

    A bond that is issued for less than its par (or face) value, ...
  6. Internal Rate Of Return - IRR

    A metric used in capital budgeting measuring the profitability ...
  1. Can I use my IRA to pay for my college loans?

    If you are older than 59.5 and have been contributing to your IRA for more than five years, you may withdraw funds to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I use my 401(k) to pay for my college loans?

    If you are over 59.5, or separate from your plan-sponsoring employer after age 55, you are free to use your 401(k) to pay ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the utility function and how is it calculated?

    In economics, utility function is an important concept that measures preferences over a set of goods and services. Utility ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does a forward contract differ from a call option?

    Forward contracts and call options are different financial instruments that allow two parties to purchase or sell assets ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the best MBA programs for corporate finance?

    Opinions vary based on which publications you consult, but the best MBA programs for a career in corporate finance are at ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the main risks associated with trading derivatives?

    The primary risks associated with trading derivatives are market, counterparty, liquidity and interconnection risks. Derivatives ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!