Derivatives usage in UK non-financial listed companies

Christine Mallin, Kean Ow-Yong, Martin Reynolds

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3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the authors present the results of a 1997 survey of derivative used by some 231 UK non-financial companies. The questionnaire instrument used in this research is based upon the postal survey methodology of Bodnar et al. (1995). A glossary was attached to the questionnaire survey to enable consistency in defining terminology used. A direct comparison between US and UK findings was undertaken together with an analysis of results from other published surveys conducted in the last four years. We find broadly similar trends in the use of derivatives. The results of our research show that derivatives usage to hedge financial price risk is well established amongst larger UK companies. Our findings support the size effect phenomena reported in other empirical studies. The primary objective cited in using derivatives was to manage fluctuations in accounting earnings, a focus that is inconsistent with the theoretical view of paying attention to cash flow benefits of hedging. The predominant issues of concern to UK inancial directors are the lack of evaluation of risk of proposed derivative transactions and the level of transaction costs incurred. This contrasts with the greater concerns of credit risk and market risk raised by their US counterparts in Bodnar's study. A possible explanation for these concerns could be the impact of the currency crisis happening in Asia especially for firms that are exposed to the affected currencies. It also suggests a lower level of sophistication and liquidity in UK derivatives market. The value of developing a basis for benchmarking good management practice in the use of derivatives to manage financial price risk represents an important area of research. Such a framework is of relevance to the demand and supply side of the derivatives market and to Government policy makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-91
Number of pages29
JournalThe European Journal of Finance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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