InvestorQ : What are the major products and the key players in the derivatives market in India and are they safe use?
Tisha Malhotra made post

What are the major products and the key players in the derivatives market in India and are they safe use?

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Moii Chavate answered.
11 months ago

Broadly, there are four types of products in the derivative market as under.

Market Forwards

It is a contractual agreement between two parties to buy/sell an underlying asset at a certain future date for a particular price that is pre-decided on the date of contract. Both the contracting parties are committed and are obliged to honour the transaction irrespective of price of the underlying asset at the time of delivery. Since forwards are negotiated between two parties, the terms and conditions of contracts are customized. These are Over-the-counter (OTC) contracts.


A futures contract is similar to a forward, except that the deal is made through an organized and regulated exchange rather than being negotiated directly between two parties. Indeed, we may say futures are exchange traded forward contracts.


An Option is a contract that gives the right, but not an obligation, to buy or sell the underlying on or before a stated date and at a stated price. While buyer of option pays the premium and buys the right, writer/seller of option receives the premium with obligation to sell/ buy the underlying asset, if the buyer exercises his right.


A swap is an agreement made between two parties to exchange cash flows in the future according to a pre-arranged formula. Swaps are a series of forward contracts. Swaps help market participants manage risk associated with volatile interest rates, currency exchange rates and commodity prices.

Let us now turn to the major market participants in derivatives

There are broadly three types of participants in the derivatives market - hedgers, traders (also called speculators) and arbitrageurs. An individual may play different roles in different market circumstances.


They face risk associated with the prices of underlying assets and use derivatives to reduce their risk. Corporations, investing institutions and banks all use derivative products to hedge or reduce their exposures to market variables such as interest rates, share values, bond prices, currency exchange rates and commodity prices.


They try to predict the future movements in prices of underlying assets and based on the view, take positions in derivative contracts. Derivatives are preferred over underlying asset for trading purpose, as they offer leverage, are less expensive (cost of transaction is generally lower than that of the underlying) and are faster to execute in size (high volumes market).


Arbitrage is a deal that produces profit by exploiting a price difference in a product in two different markets. Arbitrage originates when a trader purchases an asset cheaply in one location and simultaneously arranges to sell it at a higher price in another location. Such opportunities are unlikely to persist for very long, since arbitrageurs would rush in to these transactions, thus closing the price gap at different locations.

Coming to your question of whether they are safe products, they are absolutely fine if you know how to use the product and apply appropriate risk management measures. Derivatives become risky only if you use these derivatives to leverage your positions and speculate in the market. That is when losses can multiply in the markets very rapidly.