Risks vs reasons to trade listed options in the UK

When it comes to investing, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some investors would rather take on more risk to potentially earn higher returns, while others prefer a more conservative approach. It is also applicable to trading listed options.

Listed options are a derivative, which means they derive their value from an underlying asset. In the case of listed options, the underlying asset is a stock or other security traded on an exchange. Options enable the holder to buy or sell the underlying asset at a specified price within a specific period.

There are two main listed options: call options and put options. Call options let the holder buy the underlying asset, while put options enable them to sell it.

Options are typically traded over-the-counter (OTC) or on an exchange. OTC options are not standardised, which means they are customised to meet buyers’ and sellers’ needs. On the other hand, exchange-traded options are standardised contracts traded on an exchange.

Risks of Trading Listed Options

Volatility risk

Volatility risk is the risk that the underlying asset will experience sudden and significant price changes, making it difficult to predict how an option will perform and lead to losses.

Liquidity risk

Liquidity risk is the risk that there may not be enough buyers or sellers in the market to allow you to buy or sell an option when you want to. It can cause you to miss out on opportunities or be forced to accept a lower price than you wanted.

Counterparty risk

Counterparty risk is when the other party in a transaction will not fulfil their obligations. It can be a problem if you are trading with someone who is not reputable or if there is a chance that the other party may default on their obligations.

Expiration risk

Expiration risk is that an option will expire worthless if the underlying asset does not move in the desired direction. It is a risk that all options traders face, but it is essential to be aware of trading OTC options with a short expiration date.

Margin requirements

Margin requirements are the minimum amount of money you must deposit to buy or sell an option. These requirements can vary depending on the broker you use and your trade options.

Platform risk

Platform risk is the risk that the trading platform you are using will not work correctly or that you will not be able to access it when you need to. It can be a problem if you rely on the platform to trade options or need to access your account to manage your positions.

Reasons to Trade Listed Options

Despite risks, listed options remain a popular choice for many traders because they carry a number of advantages.


Leverage is the ability to control a large amount of capital with a relatively small amount of money. It allows you to make more significant profits with a smaller amount of capital to begin with.


Options allow you to customise your trades to fit your specific needs. You can choose the underlying asset, strike price, expiration date, and other factors, which allows you to tailor your trades to your own investment goals.

Limited risk

When you buy an option, the most you can lose is the premium you paid for the option. Options only give you the entitlement to buy or sell the underlying asset, not the obligation. This limited risk makes options a good choice for investors looking to minimise their risk.

Access to more assets

Options give you access to a broader range of assets than you would have if you were only trading the underlying asset. It includes stocks, indexes, currencies, and commodities.

Potential for high returns

Options offer the potential for high returns, especially if you are using leverage. It can help you make big profits quickly, but it also means that you could magnify your losses.


Hedging allows you to protect yourself from losses in the underlying asset. You can hedge your position and limit your downside risk by buying put options. It can be a valuable tool for investors worried about a potential decline in the markets.

Click here to start trading listed options with Saxo Bank.