Interest rate derivative

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In finance, an interest rate derivative (IRD) is a derivative whose payments are determined through calculation techniques where the underlying benchmark product is an interest rate, or set of different interest rates. There are a multitude of different interest rate indices that can be used in this definition.

Finance Academic discipline studying businesses and investments

Finance is a field that is concerned with the allocation (investment) of assets and liabilities over space and time, often under conditions of risk or uncertainty. Finance can also be defined as the art of money management. Participants in the market aim to price assets based on their risk level, fundamental value, and their expected rate of return. Finance can be split into three sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.

Derivative (finance) financial instrument whose value is based on one or more underlying assets

In finance, a derivative is a contract that derives its value from the performance of an underlying entity. This underlying entity can be an asset, index, or interest rate, and is often simply called the "underlying." Derivatives can be used for a number of purposes, including insuring against price movements (hedging), increasing exposure to price movements for speculation or getting access to otherwise hard-to-trade assets or markets. Some of the more common derivatives include forwards, futures, options, swaps, and variations of these such as synthetic collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. Most derivatives are traded over-the-counter (off-exchange) or on an exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange, while most insurance contracts have developed into a separate industry. In the United States, after the financial crisis of 2007–2009, there has been increased pressure to move derivatives to trade on exchanges. Derivatives are one of the three main categories of financial instruments, the other two being stocks and debt. The oldest example of a derivative in history, attested to by Aristotle, is thought to be a contract transaction of olives, entered into by ancient Greek philosopher Thales, who made a profit in the exchange. Bucket shops, outlawed a century ago, are a more recent historical example.


IRDs are popular with all financial market participants given the need for almost any area of finance to either hedge or speculate on the movement of interest rates.


The most basic subclassification of interest rate derivatives (IRDs) is to define linear and non-linear.

Linear IRDs are those whose net present values (PVs) are overwhelmingly (although not necessarily entirely) dictated by and undergo changes approximately proportional to the one-to-one movement of the underlying interest rate index. Examples of linear IRDs are; interest rate swaps (IRSs), forward rate agreements (FRAs), zero coupon swaps (ZCSs), cross-currency basis swaps (XCSs) and single currency basis swaps (SBSs).

In finance, an interest rate swap (IRS) is an interest rate derivative (IRD). It involves exchange of interest rates between two parties. In particular it is a linear IRD and one of the most liquid, benchmark products. It has associations with forward rate agreements (FRAs), and with zero coupon swaps (ZCSs).

In finance, a forward rate agreement (FRA) is an interest rate derivative (IRD). In particular it is a linear IRD with strong associations with interest rate swaps (IRSs).

In finance, a zero coupon swap (ZCS) is an interest rate derivative (IRD). In particular it is a linear IRD, that in its specification is very similar to the much more widely traded interest rate swap (IRS).

Non-linear IRDs form the set of remaining products. Those whose PVs are commonly dictated by more than the one-to-one movement of the underlying interest rate index. Examples of non-linear IRDs are; swaptions, interest rate caps and floors and constant maturity swaps (CMSs). These products' PVs are reliant upon volatility so their pricing is often more complex as is the nature of their risk management.

A swaption is an option granting its owner the right but not the obligation to enter into an underlying swap. Although options can be traded on a variety of swaps, the term "swaption" typically refers to options on interest rate swaps.

A constant maturity swap, also known as a CMS, is a swap that allows the purchaser to fix the duration of received flows on a swap.

Further classification of the above is then made to define vanilla (or standard) IRDs and exotic IRDs. The categorisation of linear and non-linear and vanilla and exotic is not universally acknowledged and a number of products might exist that can be arguably assigned to different categories. These terms may also overlap.

Vanilla, in vanilla IRSs and vanilla swaptions, is often taken to mean the basic, most liquid and commonly traded variants of those products.

Exotic is usually used to define a feature that is an extension to a IRD type. For example an in-arrears IRS is a genuine example of an exotic IRS, whereas an IRS whose structure was the same as vanilla but whose start and end dates might be unconventional, would not generally be classed as exotic. Typically this would be referred to as a bespoke IRS (or customised IRS). Bermudan swaptions are examples of swaption extensions that qualify as exotic variants. Other products that are generally classed as exotics are;power reverse dual currency note (PRDC or Turbo), target redemption note (TARN), CMS steepener , Snowball (finance), [1] [2] Inverse floater, Strips of Collateralized mortgage obligation, Ratchet caps and floors, and Cross currency swaptions.

An inverse floating rate note, or simply an inverse floater, is a type of bond or other type of debt instrument used in finance whose coupon rate has an inverse relationship to short-term interest rates. With an inverse floater, as interest rates rise the coupon rate falls. The basic structure is the same as an ordinary floating rate note except for the direction in which the coupon rate is adjusted. These two structures are often used in concert.

Collateralized mortgage obligation

A collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) is a type of complex debt security that repackages and directs the payments of principal and interest from a collateral pool to different types and maturities of securities, thereby meeting investor needs.


The interest rate derivatives market is the largest derivatives market in the world. The Bank for International Settlements estimates that the notional amount outstanding in June 2012 [3] were US$494 trillion for OTC interest rate contracts, and US$342 trillion for OTC interest rate swaps. According to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, 80% of the world's top 500 companies as of April 2003 used interest rate derivatives to control their cashflows. This compares with 75% for foreign exchange options, 25% for commodity options and 10% for stock options.

Derivatives market

The derivatives market is the financial market for derivatives, financial instruments like futures contracts or options, which are derived from other forms of assets.

Bank for International Settlements International financial institution owned by central banks

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international financial institution owned by central banks which "fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks". The BIS carries out its work through its meetings, programmes and through the Basel Process – hosting international groups pursuing global financial stability and facilitating their interaction. It also provides banking services, but only to central banks and other international organizations. It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.

The notional amount on a financial instrument is the nominal or face amount that is used to calculate payments made on that instrument. This amount generally does not change and is thus referred to as notional.

Modeling of interest rate derivatives is usually done on a time-dependent multi-dimensional Lattice ("tree") built for the underlying risk drivers, usually domestic or foreign short rates and foreign exchange market rates, and incorporating delivery- and day count conventions; see Short-rate model. Specialised simulation models are also often used.

In finance, the underlying of a derivative is an asset, basket of assets, index, or even another derivative, such that the cash flows of the (former) derivative depend on the value of this underlying. There must be an independent way to observe this value to avoid conflicts of interest.

A short-rate model, in the context of interest rate derivatives, is a mathematical model that describes the future evolution of interest rates by describing the future evolution of the short rate, usually written .

The foreign exchange market is a global decentralized or over-the-counter (OTC) market for the trading of currencies. This market determines the foreign exchange rate. It includes all aspects of buying, selling and exchanging currencies at current or determined prices. In terms of trading volume, it is by far the largest market in the world, followed by the Credit market.

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In finance, the style or family of an option is the class into which the option falls, usually defined by the dates on which the option may be exercised. The vast majority of options are either European or American (style) options. These options—as well as others where the payoff is calculated similarly—are referred to as "vanilla options". Options where the payoff is calculated differently are categorized as "exotic options". Exotic options can pose challenging problems in valuation and hedging.

In mathematical finance, the Greeks are the quantities representing the sensitivity of the price of derivatives such as options to a change in underlying parameters on which the value of an instrument or portfolio of financial instruments is dependent. The name is used because the most common of these sensitivities are denoted by Greek letters. Collectively these have also been called the risk sensitivities, risk measures or hedge parameters.

In finance, an exotic option is an option which has features making it more complex than commonly traded vanilla options. Like the more general exotic derivatives they may have several triggers relating to determination of payoff. An exotic option may also include non-standard underlying instrument, developed for a particular client or for a particular market. Exotic options are more complex than options that trade on an exchange, and are generally traded over the counter (OTC).

Swap (finance) financial derivative product

A swap is a derivative in which two counterparties exchange cash flows of one party's financial instrument for those of the other party's financial instrument. The benefits in question depend on the type of financial instruments involved. For example, in the case of a swap involving two bonds, the benefits in question can be the periodic interest (coupon) payments associated with such bonds. Specifically, two counterparties agree to exchange one stream of cash flows against another stream. These streams are called the legs of the swap. The swap agreement defines the dates when the cash flows are to be paid and the way they are accrued and calculated. Usually at the time when the contract is initiated, at least one of these series of cash flows is determined by an uncertain variable such as a floating interest rate, foreign exchange rate, equity price, or commodity price.

In mathematical finance, a Monte Carlo option model uses Monte Carlo methods to calculate the value of an option with multiple sources of uncertainty or with complicated features. The first application to option pricing was by Phelim Boyle in 1977. In 1996, M. Broadie and P. Glasserman showed how to price Asian options by Monte Carlo. In 2001 F. A. Longstaff and E. S. Schwartz developed a practical Monte Carlo method for pricing American-style options.

In finance, a currency swap is an interest rate derivative (IRD). In particular it is a linear IRD and one of the most liquid, benchmark products spanning multiple currencies simultaneously. It has pricing associations with interest rate swaps (IRSs), foreign exchange (FX) rates, and FX swaps (FXSs).

Lattice model (finance)

In finance, a lattice model is a technique applied to the valuation of derivatives, where a discrete time model is required. For equity options, a typical example would be pricing an American option, where a decision as to option exercise is required at "all" times before and including maturity. A continuous model, on the other hand, such as Black–Scholes, would only allow for the valuation of European options, where exercise is on the option's maturity date. For interest rate derivatives lattices are additionally useful in that they address many of the issues encountered with continuous models, such as pull to par. The method is also used for valuing certain exotic options, where because of path dependence in the payoff, Monte Carlo methods for option pricing fail to account for optimal decisions to terminate the derivative by early exercise., though methods now exist for solving this problem.

An exotic derivative, in finance, is a derivative which is more complex than commonly traded "vanilla" products. This complexity usually relates to determination of payoff; see option style. The category may also include derivatives with a non-standard subject matter, developed for a particular client or a particular market.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to finance:

In finance, inflation derivative refers to an over-the-counter and exchange-traded derivative that is used to transfer inflation risk from one counterparty to another. See Exotic derivatives.

Option (finance) right to to buy or sell a certain thing at a later date at an agreed price

In finance, an option is a contract which gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset or instrument at a specified strike price prior to or on a specified date, depending on the form of the option. The strike price may be set by reference to the spot price of the underlying security or commodity on the day an option is taken out, or it may be fixed at a discount or at a premium. The seller has the corresponding obligation to fulfill the transaction – to sell or buy – if the buyer (owner) "exercises" the option. An option that conveys to the owner the right to buy at a specific price is referred to as a call; an option that conveys the right of the owner to sell at a specific price is referred to as a put. Both are commonly traded, but the call option is more frequently discussed.

A basket option is a financial derivative, more specifically an exotic option, whose underlying is a weighted sum or average of different assets that have been grouped together in a basket. For example, an index option, where a number of stocks have been grouped together in an index and the option is based on the price of the index.

A dual-currency note (DC) pays coupons in the investor's domestic currency with the notional in the issuer’s domestic currency. A reverse dual-currency note (RDC) is a note which pays a foreign interest rate in the investor's domestic currency. A power reverse dual-currency note (PRDC) is a structured product where an investor is seeking a better return and a borrower a lower rate by taking advantage of the interest rate differential between two economies. The power component of the name denotes higher initial coupons and the fact that coupons rise as the foreign exchange rate depreciates. The power feature comes with a higher risk for the investor, which characterizes the product as leveraged carry trade. Cash flows may have a digital cap feature where the rate gets locked once it reaches a certain threshold. Other add-on features include barriers such as knockouts and cancel provision for the issuer. PRDCs are part of the wider Structured Notes Market.

LCH is a British clearing house that serves major international exchanges, as well as a range of OTC markets. Based on 2012 figures LCH cleared approximately 50% of the global interest rate swap market, and is the second largest clearer of bonds and repos in the world, providing services across 13 government debt markets. In addition, LCH clears a broad range of asset classes including: commodities, securities, exchange traded derivatives, credit default swaps, energy contracts, freight derivatives, interest rate swaps, foreign exchange and Euro and Sterling denominated bonds and repos.

In mathematical finance, convexity refers to non-linearities in a financial model. In other words, if the price of an underlying variable changes, the price of an output does not change linearly, but depends on the second derivative of the modeling function. Geometrically, the model is no longer flat but curved, and the degree of curvature is called the convexity.


  1. "Snowballs". FINCAD. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  2. Levine, Matt (2014-05-02). "Portuguese Train Company Was Run Over by a Snowball". Bloomberg. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  3. Bank for International Settlements "Semiannual OTC derivatives statistics" at end-June 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2013.

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