The Value of Millisecond Expiry Options in Spot Foreign Exchange Markets

7 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2016

Date Written: June 20, 2016


The spot foreign exchange marketplaces are split into two types by their respective trading rules: markets with conventional resting orders versus markets with resting orders that include optionality. This optionality is owned by the counterparty who placed the resting order and provides the option to refuse the aggressive order matched against the resting order. This paper describes and contrasts these two types of markets. A valuation method for these very short expiry options on the later marketplace is proposed. Appropriate historical volatility metrics are defined and applied for these uniquely short expiry timescales. These historical volatility and valuation methods are used to describe some historical intraday periods, and are applied to various trading scenarios. Unique behaviors driven by the value of these options are highlighted. The benefits and risks of trading on these markets are described in light of this valuation approach. The effects of various addition constraints on the liquidity providers for these optionality matching marketplaces are introduced. Through judicious timing of order placement and appropriate constraints on the behaviors of the liquidity providers on these markets, the result is shown to be tighter spreads, greater breath and depth of liquidity, and the high fill ratios than the more conventional non-optionality matching markets.

Keywords: Last Look, Forex, Foreign Exchange, Latency Arbitrage, High-Frequency Trading, Regulation, Low Latency Traders, Market Making

JEL Classification: F31,G15,G18

Suggested Citation

Stevenson, John, The Value of Millisecond Expiry Options in Spot Foreign Exchange Markets (June 20, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

John Stevenson (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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