In the derivatives market, the amount of margin is small relative to the value of the derivatives contract so the transactions are 'leveraged' or 'geared'. Derivatives trading, which is conducted with a relatively small amount of margin, provides the possibility of great profit or loss in comparison with the margin amount and hence transactions in derivatives carry a high degree of risk.
You should therefore completely understand the following statements before actually trading in derivatives and also trade with caution while taking into account one's circumstances, financial resources, etc. If the prices move against you, you may lose a part of or whole margin amount in a relatively short period of time. Moreover, the loss may exceed the original margin amount.
- Futures trading involves daily settlement of all positions. Every day the open positions are marked to market based on the closing level of the index / derivatives contract. If the contract has moved against you, you will be required to deposit the amount of loss (notional) resulting from such movement. This amount will have to be paid within a stipulated time frame, generally before commencement of trading on next day.
- If you fail to deposit the additional amount by the deadline or if an outstanding debt occurs in your account, the stock broker may liquidate a part of or the whole position or substitute securities. In this case, you will be liable for any losses incurred due to such close-outs.
- Under certain market conditions, an investor may find it difficult or impossible to execute transactions. For example, this situation can occur due to factors such as illiquidity i.e. when there are insufficient bids or offers or suspension of trading due to price limit or circuit breakers, etc
- In order to maintain market stability, the following steps may be adopted: changes in the margin rate, increases in the cash margin rate or others. These new measures may also be applied to the existing open interests. In such conditions, you will be required to put up additional margins or reduce your positions.
- You must ask your broker to provide the full details of derivatives contracts you plan to trade i.e. the contract specifications and the associated obligations.