A futures contract in currencies, interest rates (see interest-rate futures), or other financial assets. The contract is a standard one, which is exchange-traded. Until about 1970 trading in financial futures did not exist, although futures and options were dealt in widely on commodity markets. However, instantaneous trading across the world coupled with accelerated international capital flows combined to produce great volatility in interest rates, stock-market prices, and currency exchanges. The result has been an environment in which organizations and individuals responsible for managing large sums need a financial futures and options market both to manage risks effectively and as a source of additional profit. In the UK financial futures and options are traded on the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (now Euronext.liffe). See also hedge; index futures; portfolio insurance.
Subjects: Financial Institutions and Services.