Advantages and Disadvantages of Derivatives

May 18, 2021 Tom Clark | Comments Off

Interested in derivative trading? It is important to know several important facts about it before you use it. Derivatives are a more complicated financial instrument that is being utilized in numerous ways including access to more markets and assets and also hedging. Although derivatives are mostly traded in an over-the-counter transaction there are also assets being traded on exchanges such as futures and options.

Advantages of Derivatives

Hedging Risk Exposure

The value of derivatives is closely linked to the underlying asset’s value, therefore, the contracts are being utilized for hedging risks. For instance, the investor buys a derivative contract with value moving in the opposite direction. During such occurrences, the derivative contract may result in losses.

Derivatives Define The Price of the Underlying Asset

Most of the time, the derivative is the one that determines the underlying asset’s price. For instance, the spot price reflected in futures is the approximate price of a commodity.

Derivatives Offer Market Efficiency

Derivatives effectively increase the market’s efficiency. When you use derivative contracts, you can also copy the asset’s payoff.

Provides Access to Markets and Assets That Are Unavailable

Through the use of derivatives, organizations can access markets and assets that are unavailable. Through the use of interest rate swaps, you can get a more favorable interest rate that you can get from direct borrowing.

Disadvantages of Derivatives

When you invest money, there will enjoy the advantages but also have to embrace the disadvantages. As for derivatives, there are a couple of disadvantages that you have to learn to deal with.

High Risk

Derivatives are exposed to high volatility and it is a major drawback. High volatility means that you can also incur large losses. There are several contracts that are very sophisticated that can sometimes become impossible to handle. Therefore, they have high innate risks.

Speculative Features

Known to all, a derivative is a powerful tool of speculation. But because it has a risky nature and unpredictable behavior, it then leads to big losses.

Counterparty Risks

Despite the fact that derivatives that are being traded undergo a strict due process, there are still contracts being traded in the OTC transaction that fail to get included in the benchmark of careful examination. This results in counterparty default.

Types of Derivatives

Forwards and Futures

Futures and Forwards are financial contracts obligating buyers to buy a certain asset within a pre-agreed price given specific future date. These two works the same naturally. The only difference is that the contracts in forwards are more flexible since the parties involved are able to customize the quantity and underlying commodity as well as the date of transaction. Meanwhile, futures are known to be standardized contracts and only traded through exchanges.


Options are something that doesn’t force the buyer. It is not an obligation to buy or sell the underlying asset according to the price that’s already predetermined. It is an option type and the buyer can exercise at the given maturity date (either European options or American options).


They are derivative contracts that go through an exchange of cash flows of two parties used in derivative trading. It involves a floating cash flow and a fixed cash flow.