Types Of Financial Derivatives To Help Investors Better Manage Risk


If you buy and sell stocks, and have been in the investment industry for a while, you may already be familiar with the term “financial derivatives.” However, many investors do not understand this complex type of contract. Derivatives are contracts made between two or more parties whose value is based on an agreed-upon underlying financial asset, index or security. Essentially, this is a type of security that is linked to other securities, such as stocks or bonds. They can also be used as a tool by investors to manage and reduce risk. In order to fully grasp the concept of financial derivatives, it is important to have concrete examples. There are many different types of these contracts, but we have compiled a list of the most common ones. See our list of financial derivatives below so that you can better understand financial derivatives.


The most infamous of all the financial derivatives are CDOs, or collateralized debt obligations. CDOs were partially responsible for the Great Recession back in 2008. These financial derivatives bundle different types of debt, like auto loans or mortgages. These bundles are grouped into a security with a value based on repayment of those loans. There are two types of CDOs: asset backed commercial paper and mortgage backed securities. The values of these financial derivatives have significantly dropped since the recession caused by the 2008 housing crisis. However, they are still a must know for investors or anyone that wants to be a financial accountant.


Forwards are a form of contract that involves two parties who agree on buying or selling an asset at an approved price. The actual exchange does not immediately take place. Instead, it will happen at a future date, which is why this type of contract is referred to as a “forward.” This is the simplest and oldest form of financial derivatives.


Similarly to a forward contract, a futures contract mandates the sale of goods or services at a future date with an agreed upon price. However, futures contracts trade on organized exchanges. These exchange documents come in a pre-decided format with pre-determined sizes and pre-decided expirations, offered by many of the best places to buy stocks online. They are also subject to daily settlement procedure, which helps investors negate counter-party credit risk.


Options are contracts between two parties to buy or sell securities at a given price. They are often used to trade stock options. An options contract binds one party, while allowing the other party to decide at a later date. If you are an active investor, you have likely come across this through trading stock options. Most of the time, investors will pay a premium to have the option to decide to buy at a later date. Similar to futures, options are traded on the exchange as well.


Swaps are contracts that allow transactions to occur before a future date. Counter-parties can exchange cash flow or other variables associated with different investments without using day trading software. There are many different types of swaps including interest rate swaps, currency swaps and commodity swaps. The distinguishing feature of all these types of swaps is to allow transactions to occur prior to a futures date.


A warrant is a type of derivative that confers the right, but not obligation, to buy or sell a security at a certain price before a certain time. This type of financial derivative is most similar to options. However, their key difference involves who takes part in the stock vesting agreement. Unlike options, warrants are issued by the company itself. This is a key thing to keep in mind if you hope to understand the many types of derivatives.

It can be difficult to understand the meaning of financial derivatives without examples of over the counter trading. Hopefully, by studying forwards and swaps you can get a better idea of what these financial contracts truly are. Refer back to this post any time you are struggling to grasp the meaning of this intricate investment strategy.

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  2. Allison Williams

    Financial derivatives really is a topic you need to study thoroughly to understand.

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