The Commodity Futures Trading Commission voted unanimously yesterday to suspend all commodity options sales in the United States beginning June 1.
The suspension does not apply to options purchased by customers prior to that date.
The action is expected to trigger a barrage of lawsuits from the firms and customers affected. The commission said the suspension, which was triggered by widespread fraud in the sale of London commodity options, may be lifted following successful implementation of a pilot program to permit options, trading on U.S. exchanges, improved of an association similar to the National Association of Security Dealers and the strengthening of the CPTC's enforcement staff and resources.
The commission noted yesterday that final votes for exchange-traded options could be in effect by fall and trading could begin by the end of the year. But the commission said the program cannot be initiated unless Congress approves the CFTC's request for a supplemental budget of $1.8 million for 1979 to overseas options trading and no unforeseen delays occur.
After a lengthy discussion, the commission, decided against exempting some areas of the options market that have notbeen involved in the trading and sales abuses that allegedly have marked London options sales.
A congressional exempting for dealer options sales, however, is expected to be proposed by Sen. Walter Huddleston (D-Ky.).
The commission stressed that customers with open options contracts are entitled to have their existing commitments met. Customers with questions or complaints about their dealings with brokers on such contracts may call the CPTC's consumer hotline for information. For the District and states west of the Mississippi, except California, the number is 800-227-4428; for California and other states, the number is 800-424-9838.