Variable Ratio Write

DEFINITION of 'Variable Ratio Write'

An option strategy in which an investor holds a long position in the underlying asset and writes multiple call options at varying strike prices.

Variable ratio writes have limited profit potential because the trader is only looking to capture the premiums paid for the call options. This strategy is best used on stocks with limited volatility.

BREAKING DOWN 'Variable Ratio Write'

In ratio call writing, the ratio represents the number of options sold for every 100 shares owned in the underlying stock. This strategy is similar to a ratio call write, but instead of writing at-the-money calls, the trader will write both in the money and out of the money calls.

For example, in a 2:1 variable ratio write, the trader will be long 100 shares of the underlying stock. Two calls are written: one is out of the money and one is in the money. The payoff in a variable ratio write resembles that of a reverse strangle.