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Writing an Option


Writing an option refers to the act of selling an options contract, which provides the buyer with the right to buy or sell a certain asset at a specified price within a specific period. The person who writes the option, the writer, effectively becomes the seller. By writing the option, the writer accepts the obligation to sell or buy the asset if the buyer chooses to exercise the option.


The phonetics of the keyword “Writing an Option” is: ‘rait-ing æn ˈɒpʃən

Key Takeaways

  1. Responsibility on the Option Writer: When you write an option, you’re selling the right but not the obligation, for someone to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specific price within a certain time frame. As the writer, you take on the obligation to fulfill the terms of the contract if the option buyer decides to exercise the option. This implies that writing an option involves a great deal of responsibility.
  2. Risks and Returns: Writing an option can generate immediate income, as writers receive the price of the option upfront (the premium). However, the potential risk is much higher because the writer will have to buy or sell the underlying asset if the option is exercised. The asset’s price could have moved unfavorably, resulting in a major loss. Hence, managing the risk-reward balance is crucial for an option writer.
  3. Consider Market Conditions: Market conditions can greatly affect the success or failure of an option. It’s crucial to understand and frequently monitor the market’s conditions, the underlying asset, and your risk tolerance. The decision of writing an option should not only be based on the potential profit but also on a comprehensive analysis of market trends and volatility.


Writing an Option is a critical concept in business and finance as it involves essentially creating a contract which grants the rights to buy (in case of a call option) or sell (in case of a put option) an underlying asset at a predetermined price within a specified timeframe. This business strategy is employed by investors who aim to generate extra income from the premium received from the buyer of the option or to hedge against potential price fluctuations in the market. The importance of this mechanism lies in its potential for risk management and financial leverage in trading contexts. Nevertheless, it’s also associated with high risk, as the option writer is obligated to fulfill the contract if the buyer chooses to exercise the option, possibly leading to significant financial loss depending on market conditions.


Writing an Option is a fundamental strategy employed in financial markets primarily to generate income, reduce risk, or take advantage of market prices that are seen as either too high or too low. Primarily utilized by investors and traders, this strategy enables them to earn a premium – the price of the option – by taking on the obligation of buying or selling an asset at a pre-determined price known as the strike price. Depending on the direction of the market, this strategy can enable the investor to potentially buy the asset below market price or sell above market price.The purpose of option writing has more to do with trade optimization rather than investment. By writing a call option, the option writer essentially sells the right to buy assets at a predetermined price, anticipating that the market value of such assets will not exceed the strike price within the contract period. They aim to pocket the premium without the obligation of selling the asset. Conversely, writing a put option means selling the right to sell assets, forecasting that their market value will not drop below the strike price. In this case, the investor takes in the premium with no obligation to purchasing the asset. Option writing, therefore, offers traders a unique way to capitalize on their market predictions.


1. Stock Options: Consider a tech company such as Google, for example. A Google executive might receive stock options as part of their compensation. This gives them the right (the ‘option’) to buy Google shares at a predetermined price (the ‘strike’ price). If the share price rises above the strike price, the executive can ‘write’ (exercise) the option and buy shares at the cheaper price, then sell them for a profit. 2. Commodities Trading: In the agriculture sector, a corn farmer could write an option to sell a certain amount of their crop at a set price. This would protect the farmer if corn prices fell in the future. A food company that uses corn might buy this option as a hedge against rising corn prices. If corn prices rise above the strike price, the company can exercise the option and buy corn at the cheaper price.3. Real Estate: A property developer might write an option to purchase land at a specific price at a future date. If the value of the land increases more than the cost of the option, the developer can exercise the option, securing the land for lower than its current market value and potentially making profit when developing and selling the property.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does writing an option mean in finance?

Writing an option refers to the act of selling an options contract. The person who writes the option becomes the options writer and accepts the obligations associated with the contract in return for receiving the premium.

What are the responsibilities of an option writer?

An option writer sells the option with the obligation to either buy or sell the underlying asset at a predetermined price, before a certain date, in case the buyer of the option chooses to exercise it.

What is the risk associated with writing an option?

The risk involved in writing an option is that the market’s movement may not be as predicted by the writer. For instance, if the writer of a call option is not holding an equivalent position in the underlying stock, they may face unlimited losses if the prices rise significantly.

What are the types of options that can be written?

There are two main types of options that can be written: a ‘call option’ which gives the holder the right to buy the underlying asset, and a ‘put option’ which gives the holder the right to sell the underlying asset.

Why would someone choose to write an option?

Writing an option can generate immediate income because the writer receives the premium upfront. It can be used as a way to profit if the writer believes the price of the underlying asset is unlikely to move in a certain way.

Is writing an option only for sophisticated investors?

While option writing can be a part of a sophisticated investment strategy, it’s not limited to advanced investors only. However, understanding the complexities of options and the risks involved is important before attempting to write an option.

What is meant by ‘covered’ and ‘uncovered’ in option writing?

In ‘covered’ option writing, the writer holds the underlying asset. For a ‘covered call’ , the writer owns the underlying stock. For a ‘covered put’ , the writer has a short position in the stock. In ‘uncovered’ or naked option writing, the writer does not have a position in the underlying asset, bearing higher risk.

Related Finance Terms

Sources for More Information

  • Investopedia:
  • The Balance:
  • Fidelity:
  • Charles Schwab:

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