What are the Benefits of Derivatives?

What are the Benefits of Derivatives?

A derivative is a financial contract whose value is derived from an underlying asset. A vast array of these assets, such as indices, currencies, exchange rates, commodities, stocks, or interest rates, can be included in derivatives. In these contracts, the seller and the buyer estimate the future trade price differently. Both parties wager on the underlying asset's potential worth to turn a profit.

Trading derivatives is comparable to doing conventional buys and sells. A trader gives a stockbroker an initial margin, rather than the entire sum upfront. We shall examine several benefits of derivatives in this article.

What are Derivatives?

A formal financial contract known as a derivative allows investors to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price with an expiration date set in the future. It's a type of trading that uses leverage to make big profits and buy many underlying assets cheaply. Futures and options are the two categories of derivative contracts. While options let buyers or sellers purchase or sell before the contract's expiration, futures impose legal obligations on both parties to uphold the terms of the agreement at its expiration. There are two types of options: call and put. Investors purchase call options when they believe the asset's price will rise, and they purchase put options when they believe its price will fall. Now, we will look into the benefits of derivatives.

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Table of Content

  1. What are Derivatives?
  2. Benefits of Derivatives
  3. Drawback of Derivatives 
  4. How do Derivatives Work?
  5. Participants of the Derivatives Market

Benefits of Derivatives

We've covered a few significant benefits of derivatives below. Let's talk about:

Risk Management:

Derivatives are the ideal instruments for risk hedging, lowering the risk associated with one investment by making another. Derivatives are frequently used to reduce market risk and as a type of risk insurance. 

By providing a hedge against possible losses, derivatives assist investors in controlling the amount of risk they take. Investors can lessen their exposure to certain risks, such as changes in interest rates or currency values, by employing derivatives.


Their high liquidity makes derivatives easy to purchase and sell on the open market. This makes it possible for investors to profit quickly and affordably from price variations.


Leverage is one of the best benefits of derivatives. One way to boost returns and enhance leverage is through using derivatives. Investors can borrow money through derivatives, enabling them to make bigger transactions. 


Investors may trade in a range of asset classes thanks to derivatives, which provide them access to several marketplaces. This might be helpful to investors who want to diversify their holdings.

Low Transaction Costs:

Compared to traditional assets like shares or bonds, trading in derivatives offers lower transaction costs. Derivatives function as an excellent risk management tool, which lowers transaction costs.

Drawback of Derivatives 

Derivatives trading may provide several benefits of derivatives, but here are some of the drawbacks of derivatives trading mentioned below:

  1. High Risk: Due to their market linkage, these instruments get their value in real-time from changes in the underlying asset's price. These prices are erratic and based on supply and demand. These financial contracts are vulnerable to risk due to volatility, which might result in significant losses for the organisations involved. 
  2. Speculation: The derivatives market is mostly based on an assumption-based approach. To benefit from the discrepancy between the strike price and the exercise price, entities wager on the future price direction of the underlying asset. Nevertheless, entities may suffer losses if the speculation turns poor. 
  3. Counterparty Risk: Market entities transact options contracts over the counter, but they can trade futures contracts through controlled exchanges. It means that there's no simple way to check everything before making a deal, and the other person might not keep their promise to pay or follow through. This can put companies in a position where they might lose money because the other party doesn't hold up their end of the deal. This is called "counterparty risk."

How do Derivatives Work?

After understanding the drawbacks and benefits of derivatives, let’s look at how derivatives work with this easy example.

Consider a buyer of a derivative contract, such as a put option. He can keep that option until the exercise date, at which point he can sell the necessary number of assets at the strike price. This is only advised, though, if the individual carrying out the deal is profiting from it. For instance, if the asset's spot price is ₹1000 and the option's strike price is ₹1200, it would be prudent for the asset seller to proceed with the option contract as he can sell the product for more than the going rate. 

Holding the put option contract at ₹1200 is not advised. But if spot pricing was getting close to ₹1500, this means the market can give a better rate. The put option holder now has two options: either he sells the option contract in the market to someone who is still willing to buy it at a premium (albeit one that is less than what he paid to purchase the put option) or he keeps the contract and loses the entire option premium.

Now, a different trader could see that the cost (i.e., premium) of a different put option contract is rising. Thus, she has the option to speculate on the contract by purchasing it and then selling it for a greater price.

Participants of the Derivatives Market

Market firms can gain significantly from derivatives. Every participating entity has a different goal than the others, thus it's important to comprehend how they influence this market and the financial transactions that are a part of it. 


They are the players in the market who exchange financial contracts to reduce or hedge their risk exposure. Typically, hedgers are producers or makers of the underlying assets, which are mostly commodities like metals, oils, pulses, and other commodities. 

Hedgers employ financial contracts to make sure that, if the price of the underlying assets decreases within the contract's expiration date, they will get a predetermined price for their goods or products. Hedgers guarantee they receive a guaranteed price and minimise their losses by drafting a financial agreement with a precise strike price. Such a contract may be created and used as a hedge for any underlying asset, including stocks, commodities, currencies, and so on. 


These traders use incorporated financial contracts to benefit from the difference between the spot price, which is the current market price, and the striking price, which is a fixed price. Speculators attempt to forecast the future price of the underlying assets by utilising a variety of instruments and methods to analyse the market. 

To profit, they purchase a financial contract for the underlying asset if they believe its price will increase over the next months and sell it before its expiration date when the spot price has increased. Traders have access to a wide range of contracts, covering anything from stocks to commodities. They typically sell the contract before it expires because they want to avoid having to deliver the asset yet still turn a profit. 


These traders profit from the geographic discrepancies in two markets' pricing for identical underlying securities. These companies make sure they can obtain a better price for the same underlying assets when they enter the market.

When arbitrageurs are found, they purchase the securities linked to the financial contracts in one market and then sell them at a higher price in another market. These companies profit on hidden flaws in the market that nobody else can 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. 

These margin traders take a margin as credit from the stockbrokers when they find successful financial transactions. They give the brokers their money back with interest once they sell.


With the benefits of the derivatives market, different investors might profit from price differences or use them as a hedge against potential losses. They may offer a lot of advantages to the players, but you have to trade them carefully since you need to know a lot about them. For this reason, it's advisable to speak with your stockbroker and develop a plan based on a practical analysis of the market to handle these financial contracts effectively. To do this, you need to open a demat account using a reputable stock market app.

FAQs on Benefits of Derivatives

Derivatives play a crucial role in risk management by enabling individuals and businesses to hedge against fluctuations in asset prices, interest rates, or commodities. They offer a means to mitigate financial risks and safeguard against market uncertainties.

Derivative trading involves high levels of risk due to leverage and market volatility. It isn't inherently a safe way to earn a living. Success requires expertise, a thorough understanding of markets, risk management strategies, and disciplined trading practices.

Retail investors entering derivative markets should start with comprehensive education. Learn about different derivative products, and risk management techniques, and start with small investments. Practice in simulated environments before engaging with real funds.

Derivatives can be transacted over the counter or on an exchange. Derivatives prices are based on changes in the underlying asset.

Indeed, these types of financial agreements may subject the involved parties to a variety of dangers, including the possibility of financial loss. Therefore, before engaging in such financial arrangements, due diligence is essential.

Contracts for derivatives, known as futures, require both parties to exercise their rights before the contract expires. Derivatives involve contracts like options, forwards, and swaps, much like futures do.