What are Derivatives in the Share Market?

What are Derivatives in the Share Market?

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The Indian stock market is a great area to make consistent investments that will eventually increase your wealth. Of all the asset classes that may be utilised to diversify and generate high returns, derivatives are the most popular. Investors used to find derivatives trading confusing since it involved a lot of financial jargon and several different strategies. However, because of the development of internet trading platforms and financial literacy, both beginners and seasoned investors who seek to do derivatives trading in the share market may know with ease. 

Understanding of Derivatives in the Share Market

Derivatives in the share market are formal financial contracts that allow investors to purchase and sell an asset with a defined expiry date in the future. It is a leveraged style of trading that allows for significant gains and the acquisition of large amounts of underlying assets at a cheap cost. 

Futures and options are the two types of derivative contracts. Futures contracts entail both buyers and sellers being legally obligated to honour the contract when it expires. Options, on the other hand, allow buyers and sellers to purchase or sell before the contract expires by exercising their rights or letting the contract expire without exercising any rights. Call options are purchased when investors are convinced that the underlying asset will increase, while put options are purchased when they are confident that the value will fall.

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Table of Content

  1. Understanding of Derivatives in the Share Market
  2. Types of Derivatives
  3. How Does One Trade Derivatives?
  4. Advantages & Disadvantages of Derivatives
  5. Who Participates in the Derivatives Market? 
  6. What are the Prerequisites for Trading in Derivatives? 

Types of Derivatives

A financial agreement between two parties that derives its value from an underlying asset, such as stocks, currencies, commodities, etc., is referred to as a derivative. These products are successfully used by entities in India to hedge positions, leverage holdings, and speculate on the price movement of the underlying asset. After understanding the derivatives meaning in the share market, let’s check the types of derivatives. In the derivatives market, there are four categories of tradable assets: 

Options Contract

Depending on the kind of options contract, the buyer has the opportunity, but not the responsibility, to purchase or sell the underlying assets to another investor within a certain time frame. The seller of the contract is referred to as the option's writer, and the strike price is the security price in the options contract. After paying the option writer's premium, the buyer of an options contract is free to transfer the exercise right without any obligation. Options contracts come in two varieties: put and call options. 

Futures Contract

In the derivatives context, a futures contract legally obligates both parties to exercise the agreement within the specified time frame. The parties involved determine the quantity of the underlying assets and the price that the buyer must pay on a future date. In contrast to options, contracts for futures require execution by either the seller or the buyer before the expiration date. Futures contracts on currencies, indices, commodities, etc. are among them.


These are financial agreements between two parties that must be fulfilled before the expiration date and are based on a preset amount and price of the underlying securities. Forward contracts, like futures, require both parties to exercise their rights before they expire. Nevertheless, rather than utilising a regulated stock market exchange, investors may only trade these contracts through an over-the-counter trading market. 


These financial instruments enable the swapping or exchanging of financial responsibilities or obligations between two parties. Based on an interest rate, both parties determine the cash flow inside the contract. One cash flow under this contract is typically set, whereas the other fluctuates under the benchmark interest rate. 

How Does One Trade Derivatives?

Financial markets are influenced by various economic, political, and social issues, causing significant market shifts. It's crucial to stay informed about market conditions and be prepared to act.

Here's how you can trade derivatives:

  • Step 1: You must first establish an online trading account before you can begin trading in various forms of derivatives. You can take orders over the phone or even online if you trade derivatives through a broker.
  • Step 2: When you begin trading derivatives and their varieties, you must pay a margin amount that you cannot withdraw until the contract is completed and the deal is completed. If your margin falls below the minimum allowable amount during trading, you will be notified to rebalance it.
  • Step 3: Confirm that you understand everything there is to know about the underlying asset. Maintain your budget and ensure that it is sufficient to meet the financial requirements of the trading margin, cash on hand, and contract pricing.
  • Step 4: Maintain your investment in the contract until the deal is completed.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Derivatives

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of derivatives:

Advantages of DerivativesDisadvantages of Derivatives
Lower Transaction Costs: Trading in derivatives markets incurs lower transaction costs compared to stocks or bonds, aiding in risk control.Loss of Adaptability: Standardised contracts in exchange-traded derivatives limit flexibility, lack negotiation opportunities, and pre-specifying contract terms.
Hedging Risks: Derivatives serve as effective tools for hedging risks in investments, acting as insurance policies to mitigate market risks.

Who Participates in the Derivatives Market? 

Every participant has a different financial goal than the others, thus it's important to comprehend how they influence this market.


Market traders who trade financial contracts to reduce or hedge their risk exposure are known as hedgers. Usually, they are producers or makers of fundamental goods like metals, pulses, and oil. By using these contracts, companies may ensure that the underlying asset's price drops before the contract's expiration date. Hedgers can create contracts for any underlying asset, such as currencies, commodities, and equities.


Speculators use financial contracts as a means of making money by contrasting the strike and spot prices. To forecast future asset prices, they employ a variety of methods. They purchase a contract and sell it before its expiration date if they think the price will increase. They can deal in commodities or stocks, and they can profitably avoid asset delivery by selling contracts before they expire.


Arbitrageurs exploit geographic discrepancies in two markets' pricing for identical underlying securities by purchasing securities linked to financial contracts in one market and selling them at a higher price in another. They exploit hidden market flaws that others cannot see.

Margin Traders

These traders employ stockbroker margins, but they also use a portion of their investment to purchase and sell financial contracts. Every day, they buy and sell contracts, and their earnings are determined by how much the underlying assets' prices fluctuate in a given day. 

What are the Prerequisites for Trading in Derivatives? 

To begin trading derivatives, you must meet three essential requirements:

  • First and foremost, to open a Demat account.
  • Second, you need to check the eligibility of commodity trading with your stock broker.
  • Next, you need to check for the derivative contract for your trade.
  • Finally, to trade derivatives, you must keep a certain amount of funds in your trading account. You can also use the margin money.

With derivatives, different investors might gain returns from price differences or use them as a hedge against potential losses. They may offer a lot of advantages to traders, but you have to trade them carefully since you need to know a lot about them to trade them well. For this reason, it's advisable to open a Demat account with a reliable stock market app, you also need to develop a plan based on a practical analysis of the market to handle these financial contracts effectively. 

FAQs on Derivatives in the Share Market

Stocks are not derivatives. Stocks represent ownership in a company, while derivatives derive their value from underlying assets like stocks, serving as contracts based on their price movements.

The key difference: Stocks signify ownership in a company, while derivatives derive value from underlying assets, representing contracts based on their price fluctuations.

In swap contracts, the two parties agree in secret. Parties that participate in swap contracts agree to exchange their cash flow in the future in accordance with a preset formula, with the investment banker acting as a middleman between these contracts.

Financial contracts known as derivatives derive their value from a collection of assets.

Derivatives can involve higher risks due to leverage and market volatility. Without a thorough understanding of how they function, they can lead to significant losses.