Fans all over the world instantly became upset when The Beatles split. Well, there’s no reason to be that upset with your options position after a split. Yes, an options position can get messy after a split, but no need to fret. Here, we will take a gander at how to view a non-standard options chain, or an options contract that does not deliver 100 shares. Generally, options become non-standard after a split or takeover.
What does NS mean?
A non-standard option
Generally, equity options are for 100 shares of stock. However, whenever there is a reverse split, a spin-off, or corporate action, this can cause options to turn non-standard, which may result in a sub-100 share delivery as well as a cash component, a right, etc. Positions that have an "NS" next to it denotes a non-standard delivery option, as pictured below.
*Please Note: You cannot create any opening orders on non-standard options.This includes rolling. Any open options position that turns into non-standard options can only be closed.
To learn more about what happens to options after a split, including how to calculate the underlying price, then please click here.
Where can I view a NS Options Chain?
Non-standard options do not display by default in the trade tab of the desktop platform or web-browser platform. Instead, as a result of the split, a new set of standard options are displayed reflecting new strike prices. Accessing non-standard options is easy and just requires an extra step.
Additionally, if the underlying has experienced more than one reverse split in recent history, then you may see more than one non-standard set of options. Non-standards are numbered sequentially. The most recent split has the lowest number, typically 1, and splits that occurred earlier are bumped to a greater number.
Managing non-standard options positions is just like managing a standard options positions. However, when options become non-standard they generally become less liquid, and you may be subject to slippage when closing (unfavorable closing price). To learn how to close an options position, then please click here.
Lastly, if you're curious about what happened that caused your "standard" option to become non-standard, then please visit the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) information memos site. Just type in the symbol into the keyword field.