SPAN Margin

What is 'SPAN Margin'

SPAN margin is calculated by standardized portfolio analysis of risk (SPAN), a leading system that has been adopted by most options and futures exchanges around the world. SPAN is based on a sophisticated set of algorithms that determine margin requirements according to a global (total portfolio) assessment of the one-day risk for a trader's account.


Options and futures writers are required to have a sufficient amount of margin in their accounts to cover potential losses. The SPAN system, through its algorithms, sets the margin of each position in a portfolio of derivatives and physical instruments to its calculated worst possible one-day move. The main inputs to the models are strike prices, risk-free interest rates, changes in prices of the underlying securities, changes in volatility, and decreases in time to expiration. The system, after calculating the margin of each position, can shift any excess margin on existing positions to new positions or existing positions that are short of margin.