Futures trading isn't just for big institutions, but also for average investors who want access to markets virtually around the clock, a top CME Group official says.

"A lot of people historically have thought that the futures markets were for professional traders only, [but] we actually believe that our markets offer a very cost-efficient way for individuals to trade," said Mark Omens of the CME Group, which runs the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and other futures and options markets.

Omens told TheStreet that futures "can offer traders a cost-effective way to manage portfolio risk nearly 24 hours a day. ... For example, if you were long stock in a major technology company and they missed on earnings after the stock market closed, futures would allow one the ability to sell stock-index contracts to hedge their stock portfolio."

He said perhaps the best example of futures' after-hours role came in June 2016, when Britain unexpectedly voted for the "Brexit" -- an exit from the European Union.

"Most stock markets were closed during this time and people wanted access to the markets, [so] we saw a huge increase in overnight trading," Omens said. "We saw more than a million trades come from individual retail traders that night."

More on Futures

The CME Group recently co-sponsored TheStreet's Financial Success Strategies symposium in New York City. Click here for a full report on what experts told the symposium about futures, options, bitcoin, ETFs and more, including Jim Cramer's thoughts on where markets are heading.

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This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.

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