How Do I Choose the Best Derivatives Course?

Geri Terzo

Trading in the financial markets includes many different types of securities and investment strategies. Derivatives, including options, futures, and swaps contracts, are among the most sophisticated instruments in the financial industry. Selecting the appropriate derivatives course provides the foundational training needed to be successful in this industry. Reviewing different training courses online, in addition to monitoring the success rate of past alumni, helps to streamline the process.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Options and futures both are financial contracts that derive their value from another investment security, such as a stock or an agricultural commodity. An options contract gives traders and investors an opportunity but not the requirement to buy a security at a set price, and a futures contract is an agreement to buy or sell an item at a future date, also at a predetermined price. Swaps represent the transfer of one financial security for another.

To uncover the best derivatives course, determine what level trader, salesperson, or financial analyst you may be. When a professional is only beginning in the financial industry, the most basic training course is needed. The more experience the professional becomes, the deeper that individual can go in the training material while perhaps avoiding some of the basic, introductory steps.

Market participants use derivatives trading for different purposes. Derivatives can be used for hedging or protecting an investment position. These financial securities can also be used in a more assertive way designed to enhance profits. The style that a trader uses depends on the professional's own comfort level and risk/reward profile. In searching for a derivatives course, make sure that the instructors who are giving the training prepare students for both scenarios so that a trader is not pushed into a style that is not comfortable.

Before selecting any derivatives course, find out if there are any requirements to attend. For instance, you may have had to achieve a financial certification to attend but not necessarily. Searching online is one way to begin, but networking is best. If you know financial professionals in the industry, ask someone you respect which derivatives course is recommended. Of course, networking can be difficult when you are just beginning, so call around to different courses and even financial exchanges where derivatives trade and ask questions.

Look for reliable reviews from past alumni or previous instructors. A training facility may list these comments on a website, or you can ask the program organizers about any well-known financial professionals who might have completed the course. Inquire with the instructors about the career advancement of some previous students.

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