A Survey of Derivatives Use by UK Nonfinancial Companies

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In the last two decades, a number of studies have examined the risk management practices within nonfinancial companies. For instance, some studies report on the use of derivatives by nonfinancial firms. Yet, another group of researchers has investigated the determinants of corporate hedging policies. These and other studies of similar focus have made important contributions to the literature. This study sheds light on derivatives usage in the UK market. This paper presents the results of a questionnaire survey, which focused on determining the reasons for using or not using derivatives for 401 UK nonfinancial companies. The results indicate that (i) larger firms are more likely to use derivatives than medium and smaller firms, (ii) public companies are more likely to use derivatives than private firms, and (iii) derivatives usage is greatest among international firms. The results also show that, of firms not using derivatives, half of firms do not use these derivative instruments because their exposures are not significant and that the most important reasons they do not use derivatives are: concerns about disclosures of derivatives activity required under FASB rules, and costs of establishing and maintaining derivatives programmes exceed the expected benefits. The results show that foreign exchange risk is the risk most commonly managed with derivatives and interest rate risk is the next most commonly managed risk. The results also indicate that the most important reason for using hedging with derivatives is managing the volatility in cash flows.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSSRN Electronic Journal
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2004
Externally publishedYes


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