August 20, 2014

Most of the concern with derivatives derives only from the fact that “derivatives” sounds so deliciously sophisticated.

Sir, Tracy Alloway and Michael Mackenzie when reporting on the “Dangers to system from derivatives´ new boom", August 20, might not understand the most important differences between underlying markets and the derivatives traded based on these.

In a derivative, there is a buyer and a seller, and so whatever happens someone wins and someone loses and in essence it’s a wash out… of course as long as all can live up to their commitments.

But, in a real market loss, like that of a lower value of a stock, a lower value of a painting, or a lower value of a real estate, there is at that time only a loser… and no winner… that is unless you count he who might have way back earlier sold the stock.

And in this respect the trading in derivatives will depress much less the market than a depression of the values of the underlying vanilla assets.

The big fuss that is raised around the issue of trading of derivatives, again, besides the possibility of one side of the trade not living up to his commitments, has much more to do with the fact that “derivatives” sounds so deliciously sophisticated.