After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.

Well, the clocks changed last weekend, by going back an hour. I don’t know what it all really means but I’m now enjoying my cup of tea in the morning in daylight and cooking on the bbq in the 6.30pm darkness.

The biggest effect on me and the family though, is someone has to remember how to change the clock on the oven and the microwave. Most years, they just sit for six months, an hour wrong.

The car is easy and the mobiles are automatic but the household appliances need a degree in time management just to move them back or forward by an hour.

As Warren Buffett says, he can buy anything in the world with his wealth but he can’t buy time and I’ve sort of lost an hour of bbq daylight without any compensation.

One of the guys from the golf club was spotted outside his phone repair shop at 8.00am, so we thought he must be under the pump.

Turns out his home appliances had given him a bum steer and he was an hour early to open his shop before he looked at his own phone clock.

So, the powers that be can change my internal body clock by mucking around with my time for free, though in the financial world time = money.


When you trade options on equities, they have a time limit on them before they vanish off the books and everyone squares off their profits and losses.

Seeing as 90% of all equity options expire worthless, there is a game to be played or, as it turns out, it’s mainly the retail punters getting played.

This Easter weekend coming up means that the markets are shut for an extra couple of days, so an extra couple of days on either side of a normal weekend means that when an option has 30 days to expiry, the ones involved in April will have (back of envelope workings here)… 22 trading days instead of 25 trading days. Let’s not forget Anzac Day on the 25th.

As option premiums include a time till expiry pricing in them, then time does suddenly become money.

Here is an example of an option over 100 CBA shares, which has 14 days until it expires.

Source: ASX

As their strike price is $104 and CBA closed at $99.06, the holder of these options needs CBA to rally to $104.01 by 20th April 2023, to have any value.

There are 14 days till the 20th April, of which six days (next two weekends and two Easter holidays) neither of them will trade on, as the markets will be shut.

This only leaves eight trading days for CBA to rally $5.00 or so before they disappear, worthless. Their last trade was at 12c, which means that one option contract was worth 12c x 100 shares or $12 in total.

As there are currently 1,909 of these 20th April 2023 $104 call options out there, then at 12c their combined value would be (1,909 contracts over 100 CBA shares each) 190,900 x 12c = $22,908.

Fourteen days to go and $22,908 is at stake if CBA doesn’t rally to above $104… and on six of those days there will be no trading whatsoever.

Who says a fool and their money isn’t easily parted with. Not me!


I say that, but there are many technical reasons for being long or short of CBA call and put options as they can be used as hedging tools to protect your portfolio against market turbulence.

Otherwise you can just use them as a pure punt and try to use that expiry time to create you some money.

In the last 30 days of an equity options, life becomes very margin heavy and the example I used at $104 is termed ‘out of the money’, though with CBA at $99.06, their April $99 call options are now termed ‘in the money’

In theory, those $99 April call options will now move cent for cent with the CBA share price, so they become ‘seat of your pants trading’, especially if you are short and trading naked.

Short and trading naked. Now that’s something for the imagination, ahead of a Holy Easter Break.

What it actually means is that you are short the options whilst you have absolutely no position in CBA shares, so you are termed to be ‘naked’.

You have to stump up margin by the bucketload. Too nerve-wracking for me.

I have shorted options over the SPI ASX200 futures contracts, with 30 days to expiry, but that was a bit more of a calculated risk.

It’s very rare for an index to move 3% in a day, but not for an individual share.

AMP holders, are you hearing me?

AMP once fell 10% in a day but the index only fell 2%.

So yes, there are options over futures contracts if you really want to become prematurely grey haired and not sleep for 30 days and 30 nights. Which I suppose is not as bad as not sleeping for 40 days and 40 nights.

And no Noah, you can’t put up a couple of camels or elephants as margin.

It’s cash, blue chips or chocolate bunnies only.

Happy Easter!


The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at [email protected].

Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.