Options are great instruments to dodge the risk. With a capacity to create a pay-off where there is no limit on the amount of money you can make but there is still comfort on the potential loss. It always stays limited to the premium we pay.
However, for getting this kind of comfort we do have to be careful about a few things other than just the price movements. If you are guessing about Time, you are right but that is not it. Yes, we do have to make sure that we execute the entry and exit in a timely fashion so that the decline in premium that certainly happens with the passage of time does not hurt us.
Here we are talking about one more aspect. That aspect is the risk premium. Option premiums do rise or fall with absolutely no change in Price or Time also. This happens when the assumption of risk among option traders, especially option sellers, goes up.
Taking the recent example of Nifty, we saw a down move in Nifty in recent weeks. As a result, the risk of falling rose significantly. This has created a significant impact on the Option Premiums as well. Just to give an approximation, the Nifty Option closest to the current level of index with the same time to expiry a few weeks back was roughly 50 percent cheaper than now.
This rise in premium due to rise in risk level will definitely help Option Buyers. However, after a fall like this one, if Nifty witnesses a comeback and rises the risk premiums will go down pushing the Option Premiums also down. The exact opposite scenario.
To avoid that there is a very simple solution. Convert you Option Buy position into a Vertical Spread position. Vertical Spread here means, Buy and Sell into Options of same Kind (Call/Put), same underlying stock/index and same expiry.
We can create this by Buying a Call/ Put with strike close to current market price and simultaneously Selling Higher Strike Call/ Lower Strike Put.
How to Create a Vertical Spread
Stock X @ 100
Buy Call 100 @ 5
Sell Call 110 @ 3
Net Premium Paid = 2
Max Profit = 110- 100 – 2 = 8 (Difference of Strikes minus the Net Premium Paid)
Max Loss= 2 (Net Premium Paid)
Yes, we are losing out on the unlimited profit potential but at the same time we are bringing down our initial cost significantly. Also, the drop in risk premium will now happen in both the options at the same time so no need to worry about that either.
When do we do this?
One of the easiest to access indicators of Risk Premium is India VIX. An index that gives you a number representation of riskiness in the market. If India VIX goes up by more than 20-30 percent from the recent low, convert your Option Buy Trades into Vertical Spreads. India VIX is computed by NSE and is available for free over the internet.
Finally, Vertical Spread is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of combinations of options like this that can help us with such problems that could potentially ruin our profit potential.Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts on Moneycontrol.com are their own and not those of the website or its management. Moneycontrol.com advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decisions.