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In finance, “exercise” refers to the action taken by the holder of an option contract. If the holder chooses to exercise an option, they are deciding to use their right to buy (call option) or sell (put option) the underlying security at a predetermined price, known as the strike price, before the option’s expiration date. It is an essential concept in options trading.


The phonetic spelling of the word “Exercise” is /ˈeksəˌsīz/.

Key Takeaways

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Exercise, in the context of business/finance, is a key term because it refers to the act of implementing the rights of a financial contract, primarily used in options trading. When an investor exercises an option, they are essentially activating the right to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined price within a specified timeframe. This is crucial because it allows investors to capitalize on certain market conditions, making potential profits or mitigating the risk of losses on their investments. The decision to exercise an option right can have significant implications for both the investor’s portfolio and the overall market, determined by factors like market volatility, the asset’s current price, and the option’s strike price and expiry date. Thus, understanding the concept of “exercise” is crucial for anyone involved in options trading or similar investment strategies.


The term ‘exercise’ in finance and business is crucial when handling derivative contracts, such as options. Its purpose is to enable the option holder to take action on the obligations enforced by the contract. Essentially, through the act of exercising an option, the individual is deciding to implement the rights they possess to either buy or sell the underlying asset at the pre-decided, ‘strike’ price. When an individual chooses to exercise, they’re putting their decision-making rights into action to potentially benefit from price fluctuations depending on the type of option they hold.In terms of its practical use, the exercise is carried out when the option holder believes they can gain financially from the deal. If the option is a ‘call’ (giving the holder the right to buy an asset), it is exercised when the market price of the underlying asset is higher than the agreed-upon strike price. This allows the holder to buy at a lower rate and sell at the current market price to make a profit. In contrast, if the option is a ‘put’ (granting the holder the right to sell an asset), it is exercised when the market price is lower than the strike price. This way, the holder can sell the asset at a higher value than its existing market worth. However, any decision to exercise hinges on the holder’s belief in making an optimal financial gain.


Sure, here are three real-world examples related to exercising financial options. 1. Employee Stock Options: Suppose an employee is working for a technology company, like Google, and as part of their compensation package, they receive stock options. These options give them the right to buy Google’s stock at a predefined price, known as the strike price. If the current market price of Google’s shares is significantly higher than the strike price, they could “exercise” their option to buy the stock and then sell it at the market price for a profit.2. Real Estate options: An investor has an option contract enable him to buy a property at $200,000 anytime within the next six months. During that period, the value of the property increases to $250,000 due to infrastructural developments in the neighborhood. The investor could “exercise” his option, purchasing the property for $200,000 and potentially selling it for $250,000.3. Options Trading: A trader buys a call option for a particular stock with a strike price of $100, valid for two months. Within that period, if the stock price rises to $120, the trader can exercise the option, allowing him to buy the stock for $100 and sell it at the current market price of $120, making a $20 profit per share (minus the cost they paid for the option itself).

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does the term ‘Exercise’ mean in finance and business?

‘Exercise’ in finance refers to the act of implementing the rights given by a derivative contract such as an options contract. Usually, this means buying or selling the underlying asset of the contract at the stipulated strike price.

When would an investor decide to ‘Exercise’ an option?

An investor would typically decide to exercise an option if it results in a favorable financial outcome. For instance, if having the right to buy a stock at a lower price than the current market price, or sell a stock at a higher price than the marketplace.

Is it mandatory to ‘Exercise’ an option once bought?

No, it is not mandatory to exercise an option. An investor can choose to let the option expire without exercising it, especially if exercising the option would not result in any financial benefit.

What are the types of option exercise?

The three types of option exercises are: European style (can be exercised only at expiration), American style (can be exercised at any time before or at expiration), and Bermudan style (can be exercised at specific dates up to expiration).

What does the term ‘Exercise Price’ mean?

The ‘Exercise Price’ or ‘Strike Price’ is the price at which an option holder can buy or sell the underlying asset when exercising the option.

What happens after an option is ‘Exercised’?

After an option is exercised, the transaction of the underlying asset takes place. For a call option, the holder buys the asset at the strike price from the option writer. For a put option, the holder sells the asset at the strike price to the option writer.

What is ‘Early Exercise’ of an option?

‘Early Exercise’ is when the holder decides to exercise the option prior to its expiration date. This is typically done if the investor believes that it will result in a better financial outcome.

How can I as an investor decide whether to ‘Exercise’ an option or let it expire?

Investors usually make this decision based on the comparison of strike price and the current market price of the underlying asset, along with the time value left in the option. It’s also recommended to consult with a financial advisor or do thorough research before making such decisions.

Related Finance Terms

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