What distinguishes listed options from OTC options?

A contract with an expiration date is called an option. It gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specific, pre-determined price by a certain date. Options, like stocks, are traded on international exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and they are also traded over-the-counter (OTC).


The key difference between the two is that listed options are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) as they are listed on stock exchanges, while OTC options are not. This regulation means listed options must meet specific standards to be traded, while OTC options do not have to meet such standards.


A second significant difference between listed and OTC options is their price. Listed options are priced using a model known as the Black-Scholes model. This model considers factors such as the underlying stock’s price, volatility, and time to expiration. On the other hand, OTC options are typically priced using a simpler model known as the Binomial model. This model only considers the underlying stock’s price and time to expiration.


Another critical difference between listed and OTC options is liquidity. Listed options are generally more liquid than OTC options because many more people participate in trading listed options compared to OTC options. This makes it easier for traders who want to buy or sell listed options to find the appropriate counter party, thus also lowering the bid-ask spread for buyers due to the abundance of options on the market.


Finally, there are typically more risks associated with trading OTC options than listed options. This is due to the fact that OTC options are more exotic and traded informally between parties. This means they are much less regulated than listed options, and as such, they may be subject to fraud or other types of misconduct. Additionally, OTC options are often considerably more illiquid and have wider bid-ask spreads, making it difficult and more expensive to trade them.

How to trade listed and OTC options in the Netherlands

Now that we have covered the critical differences between listed and OTC options let’s look at how to trade them in the Netherlands. Listed options can be traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AMS), while you can trade OTC options through a broker.

When trading listed options, you must open an account with a broker that offers access to the AMS. Once you have opened an options trading account, you can place an order for stocks or listed options through your broker. When trading OTC options, you will need to find a broker that offers OTC options trading. Once you have found such a broker, you can place orders for OTC options through them.

It is important to remember that you may have to pay a commission to your broker when trading options. The amount will vary depending on the broker you use. Additionally, you may need to pay taxes on any gains you make from trading options, so always check with local regulations.

So, which one is right for me?

Whether listed or OTC options are best for you as a trader will depend on your individual trading goals and preferences. If you are looking for a more regulated environment, you may prefer to trade listed options. If you are looking for a less regulated environment, you may prefer to trade OTC options. If you would like to trade particular options, you can check if they are listed or not.

Additionally, if you are looking for more liquidity, you may prefer to trade listed options. However, if you are willing to take on more risk in exchange for the potential for higher returns, then you may prefer to trade OTC options.


There are several critical differences between listed and OTC options. These include regulation, pricing, liquidity, and risks. Listed options are regulated by the SEC, while OTC options are not. Ultimately, the choice of whether to trade listed or OTC options is up to you. For more information on getting started, you can explore Saxo’s instrument page here.

Hugh Hudson