In India, all attempts are being made to introduce derivative instruments in the capital market. The National Stock Exchange has been planning to introduce index-based futures. A stiff net worth criteria of Rs.7 to 10 corers cover is proposed for members who wish to enroll for such trading. But, it has not yet received the necessary permission from the securities and Exchange Board of India.
In the forex market, there are brighter chances of introducing derivatives on a large scale. Infact, the necessary groundwork for the introduction of derivatives in forex market was prepared by a high-level expert committee appointed by the RBI. It was headed by Mr. O.P. Sodhani. Committee’s report was already submitted to the Government in 1995. As it is, a few derivative products such as interest rate swaps, coupon swaps, currency swaps and fixed rate agreements are available on a limited scale. It is easier to introduce derivatives in forex market because most of these products are OTC products (Over-the-counter) and they are highly flexible. These are always between two parties and one among them is always a financial intermediary.
However, there should be proper legislations for the effective implementation of derivative contracts. The utility of derivatives through Hedging can be derived, only when, there is transparency with honest dealings. The players in the derivative market should have a sound financial base for dealing in derivative transactions. What is more important for the success of derivatives is the prescription of proper capital adequacy norms, training of financial intermediaries and the provision of well-established indices. Brokers must also be trained in the intricacies of the derivative-transactions.
Now, derivatives have been introduced in the Indian Market in the form of index options and index futures. Index options and index futures are basically derivate tools based on stock index. They are really the risk management tools. Since derivates are permitted legally, one can use them to insulate his equity portfolio against the vagaries of the market.
Every investor in the financial area is affected by index fluctuations. Hence, risk management using index derivatives is of far more importance than risk management using individual security options. Moreover, Portfolio risk is dominated by the market risk, regardless of the composition of the portfolio. Hence, investors would be more interested in using index-based derivative products rather than security based derivative products.
There are no derivatives based on interest rates in India today. However, Indian users of hedging services are allowed to buy derivatives involving other currencies on foreign markets. India has a strong dollar- rupee forward market with contracts being traded for one to six month expiration. Daily trading volume on this forward market is around $500 million a day. Hence, derivatives available in India in foreign exchange area are also highly beneficial to the users