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There are many different types of options with different characteristics subject to the following conditions. Buying options: Buying options involves less risk than selling options because, if the price of the underlying asset moves against you, investors can simply allow the option to lapse. The maximum loss is limited to the premium, plus any commission or other transaction charges. However, if investors buy a call option on a futures contract and investors later exercise the option, they will acquire the future. This will expose investors to the risks described under ‘futures’ and ‘contingent liability investment transactions’.
Writing options: If investors write an option, the risk involved is considerably greater than buying options. Investors may be liable for margin to maintain their position and a loss may be sustained well in excess of the premium received. By writing an option, investors accept a legal obligation to purchase or sell the underlying asset if the option is exercised against them however far the market price has moved away from the exercise price. If you already own the underlying asset which you have contracted to sell (when the options will be known as ‘covered call options’) the risk is reduced. If you do not own the underlying asset (‘uncovered call options’) the risk can be unlimited. Only experienced persons should contemplate writing uncovered options, and then only after securing full details of the applicable conditions and potential risk exposure.