Futures Equivalent

DEFINITION of 'Futures Equivalent'

The number of futures contracts needed to be associated with a speculative option position. The futures equivalent can be calculated by taking the number of options and multiplying it by the previous day's risk factor (delta) for the same option series.

BREAKING DOWN 'Futures Equivalent'

This term is generally used to refer to the equivalent position in futures contracts that is needed to have a risk profile identical to the option. This Delta is used in delta-based margining and risk analysis systems. Delta based margining is an option margining system used by certain exchanges. This system is equivalent to changes in option premiums or to changes in future contract prices. Future contract prices are then used to determine risk factors on which to base margin requirements. A margin requirement is the amount of collateral or funds deposited by customers with their brokers.

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