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Understanding the Lifecycle of a Derivatives Contract

Derivative contracts play a crucial role in the world of finance, offering opportunities for investors and businesses to manage risk and speculate on price movements. NG Clearing Limited, as a Central Counterparty (CCP) in Nigeria, facilitates the clearing and settlement of derivative contracts. If you’re new to derivatives, this article will guide you through the lifecycle of a derivative contract, breaking down the process step by step.

What Are Derivative Contracts? Before diving into the lifecycle, let’s start with the basics. Derivative contracts are financial instruments whose value is derived from an underlying asset, such as stocks, bonds, commodities, or indices. They allow participants to speculate on or hedge against price fluctuations in the underlying asset.

Derivative contracts typically involve six primary parties:

    1. The Buyer (Long Position): The party who expects the price of the underlying asset to increase and wishes to profit from it.
    2. The Seller (Short Position): The party who anticipates a price decrease and is willing to profit from the decline.
    3. The Exchange: The exchange is the hub of trading where the contracts are listed. For Example, NGX30 and NGXPension index futures are listed on the NGX exchange.
    4. The Central Counterparty (CCP): As the CCP, NG Clearing acts as a neutral intermediary, guaranteeing the contract’s performance, and managing counterparty risk.
    5. Trading Members: Trading members are licenced by the Exchange. Investors go through the trading members to execute their trades.
    6. Clearing Members: The clearing members facilitate the movement of money and due payments from on trading member to another.

Stages in the Lifecycle
Understanding the lifecycle of a derivative contract is vital for managing risks and ensuring a smooth process. It consists of several stages:

A. Trade Initiation:

    • A buyer and a seller match anonymously on the exchange. The terms of the derivative contract, including the underlying asset, contract size, price, and expiration date are already stated.
    • Both parties need to have deposited a margin which is usually predefined.
    • Through the process of Novation, NG Clearing Limited then steps in to become the counterparty to both parties, becoming the buyer to the seller and the seller to the buyer.
    • The trade is executed and recognized on the exchange and clearing platform

B. Clearing and Daily Mark-to-Market:

    • NG Clearing recalculates the contract’s value daily, adjusting margin requirements accordingly.
    • Profits and losses are credited or debited to the accounts of trading parties.

C. Contract Settlement and expiry

    • As the contract approaches its expiration date, the parties must decide whether to settle or close out their positions.
    • Settlement can be through physical delivery of the underlying asset or cash settlement, depending on the contract type.
    • The contract reaches its expiration date, and any outstanding positions are settled according to the terms. Contracts can also be rolled over.


NG Clearing Limited plays a critical role in managing risk throughout the derivative contract’s lifecycle. By acting as a central counterparty, they guarantee the fulfillment of contracts, reducing the risk of default for both parties.

Derivative contracts are powerful tools in the world of finance, enabling investors and businesses to manage risk and speculate on price movements. NG Clearing Limited, as the central counterparty in Nigeria, ensures the smooth functioning of these contracts, from initiation to expiry. Understanding the lifecycle of a derivative contract is essential for anyone looking to participate in this complex financial ecosystem. By following these steps, NG Clearing Limited promotes a transparent and efficient derivatives market in Nigeria.