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Derivatives are financial securities - for example swaps, futures, options and forwards - that depend on the value of an asset, for example, shares, to determine their value.
Derivatives are commonly based upon shares, commodities, currencies and bonds. Derivatives traders enter into agreements to exchange assets or cash over a period of time, rather than trading directly in the underlying asset. Derivatives are traded by investors who wish to speculate on the movement (or otherwise) of the value of an asset. They are also commonly used to hedge (reduce the risk in) an investment: a dealer who has invested in a particular asset may use a derivative contract to take the opposite position to the one taken in the initial investment, thereby reducing the risk to the initial investment.
The daily duties of a Derivatives Trader include:
Derivatives traders require a very high standard of mathematical and statistical modelling and analysis skills, commercial acumen and expert understanding of complex financial products and markets.
Recent salaries advertised on TopFinancialJobs (February 2010) include:
Do you work in derivatives? Would you like to contribute to our "Day in the Life of..." series? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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