Options vs Warrants

Differences Between Options vs Warrants

In this article, we discuss the differences between Options and Warrants in detail.


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Options vs. Warrants Infographics

Let us understand the differences between Options vs. Warrants through infographics.

Options vs Warrants

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Options vs. Warrants – Similarities

Both Options vs. warrants are treated on similar lines and include the following similarities:

Options vs. Warrants – Differences

Despite the above, there are the following differences between Options vs. Warrants in detail:

  1. The option is an agreementOption Is An AgreementThe option agreement is a legally binding contract between two parties, one seller and the other buyer of the option, in which one party has the right but not the obligation to buy or sell the asset and each party's responsibilities to the other, which must be honored until either party exits the agreement.read more wherein buyers possess the right but not the obligation to buy or sell stock at a specified price and date. Conversely, a warrant is an instrument registered to provide the buyer the right to get a specified number of shares at a pre-decided date and prices.
  2. Options are standard contracts and are required to adhere to rules governing maturity, duration, size of the contract, and exercise price, whereas warrants are securities (non-standardized), making it flexible.
  3. Options are issued by the exchange, such as U.S. Chicago Board Options Exchange, whereas warrants get issued by a specific company.
  4. A stock option is a secondary marketSecondary MarketA secondary market is where securities are offered to the general public after being offered in the primary market. Such securities are usually listed on the stock exchange. A significant portion of trading happens in such a market and are of two types – equities and debt markets.read more instrument as trading takes place between investors, whereas a warrant is a primary market instrument since it is issued by the company itself.
  5. In options trading, the selling party writes the options while warrants have a single issuer responsible for the rights offered.
  6. The maturity period also differs with options having until two years and warrants having a maturity of 15 years.
  7. The underlying assets with respect to options are Domestic shares, bonds, and indices, whereas warrants shall have securities such as Currencies and international shares.
  8. In terms of making a profit, the company does not receive any direct benefit, which ultimately is passed on to the investor. Conversely, the issue of warrants is to encourage the sale of shares and offer a hedge against fall in the value of the firm, which can lead to a dip in the share price of the company.
  9. Options do not involve the issuance of new stock, but warrants result in dilution creating issuance of new stock.
  10. Trading in options involves following principles of a futures market, and warrants follow the principle of cash markets.
  11. Options can be issued independently, but warrants are combined with other instruments, such as bonds.
  12. The taxation rules applicable will differ. Stock options are subject to rules governing compensatory items. Warrants, on the other hand, are not compensatory in nature and hence taxable in nature.
  13. Options can be bought/shorted/written involving multiple trading and hedging strategies, whereas warrants cannot be easily sold. They are largely used by speculators for stock replacement due to possible hedging.
  14. Margin calls are applicable in options since minimum balance is required for options trading but not so in case of warrants.

Options vs. Warrants (Comparison Table)

Basis of comparison between Options vs. WarrantsOPTIONSWARRANTS
MeaningThe buyer has the right to buy or sell the underlying asset at a predetermined price and date.Instrument giving the holder the right to get a specified number of shares at a predetermined price and date.
NatureStandardized ContractNon-standardized security
Underlying AssetDomestic shares, BondsBondsBonds refer to the debt instruments issued by governments or corporations to acquire investors’ funds for a certain period.read more, and various indicesCurrencies and International shares
IssuerOptions ExchangeIssued by a specific company
OwnershipEmployeesInvestors, Companies or Partners
Terms and ConditionsSet by the equity exchangesSet by the issuer
Type of ProductsEquity and Index Calls/PutVarious capital guaranteed investments and other high risk/return trading warrants
LifespanEquity – till five years and

Index – till 18 months

Between 3 months – 15 years
DilutionDoes not involve the issuance of new stockResults to dilution


In a nutshell, both these derivatives are essential for businesses permitting investors to consider investing in the stock without holding the security. The minute details of both instruments need to be studied and accordingly weigh the pros and cons for the same before considering the final decision from a financial perspective. Options can be considered as compensation mediators, whereas warrants are targeted towards aiding the firm in raising capital, debt, or equity securities, and improving the deal for investors. Both instruments have their level of risks, and investors have to carefully understand the derivativesUnderstand The DerivativesDerivatives in finance are financial instruments that derive their value from the value of the underlying asset. The underlying asset can be bonds, stocks, currency, commodities, etc. The four types of derivatives are - Option contracts, Future derivatives contracts, Swaps, Forward derivative contracts. read more and consider the tax consequences before making use of them.

The risk appetiteRisk AppetiteRisk appetite refers to the amount, rate, or percentage of risk that an individual or organization (as determined by the Board of Directors or management) is willing to accept in exchange for its plan, objectives, and innovation.read more and long-term financial objective of the investor have to be assessed and maintain caution accordingly. Warrants are highly leveraged and speculative instruments, and hence cautious approach should be taken, and in contrast, options involve less risk with high growth potential with a limited capital requirement.

This has been a guide to the top differences between Options vs. Warrants. Here we also discuss the Options and Warrants with examples, infographics, and comparison tables. You may also have a look at the following articles for gaining further knowledge in Derivatives –

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