What are Options in Finance?

Exploring Types and Potential Profits

Options provide holders with the right, though not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified price and timeframe. They are known as derivatives, that being they are derived from the underlying asset. In this article, we will delve into the world of options, focusing on two primary types: calls and puts.


Calls grant holders the right to purchase an underlying asset at a predetermined price, known as the strike price, on or before a specific expiration date. When the underlying asset’s price surpasses the strike price, holders can exercise their calls. They can buy the asset at the lower strike price and sell it at the higher market price.


Puts provide holders with the right to sell an underlying asset at a predetermined strike price on or before a specified expiration date. Should the price of the underlying asset fall below the strike price, holders have the opportunity to exercise their options. They can sell the asset at the higher strike price and subsequently repurchasing it at the lower market price.

Beyond the Basics

Additional types exist available sometimes to retail investors:

  1. American. These options can be exercised at any time leading up to the expiration date, offering flexibility to holders.
  2. European. European options, in contrast, can only be exercised on the expiration date itself.
  3. Bermudan. These options allow holders to exercise their rights on specific dates within the period between the purchase and expiration dates, providing a blend of flexibility and structure.
  4. Asian. The payoff of Asian options is contingent upon the average price of the underlying asset over a specified time duration.
  5. Binary. Characterised by fixed payouts, binary options rely on whether the underlying asset reaches a predetermined price level on or before the expiration date.
  6. Exotic. Exhibiting non-standard features, exotic options introduce unique elements such as alternative currencies or underlying assets for payout.


These type of financial instruments offer intriguing possibilities in financial services retail investing. By understanding calls and puts to begin, along with their variations such as American, European, Bermudan, Asian, Binary, and Exotics, investors gain valuable insights into potential profit-making strategies. With this knowledge in hand, individuals can make more informed decisions when venturing into the captivating world of options trading.

TradingJoe is a UK platform offering commission-free trading on stocks, options and ETFs using a Best Execution model.

Sign up to our waitlist to get early access and up to £2000 if you refer friends.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *