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What is F&O Margin Penalty: SEBI Rules & How to Avoid it?

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Derivatives or Future & Options (F&O) segment accounts major volume of trades in the stock market where people buy and sell underlying stocks, and indices in lots through contracts that expired at a specified period and squared off or end on that date.

However, trading in the F&O segment you don't need to invest all the money as per the value of your trade, instead, you have to deposit a certain portion as margin money and when the stock price changes the margin money is adjusted or trade settled when a contract is expired on the date of expiry of the contract.

Also Read: Options Trading: How it Works, Example & How to Trade

And maintaining the margin is one of the challenging tasks for traders to avoid the margin penalty that is imposed by the exchange. As per the SEBI Rules, a margin shortfall penalty is levied on any positions that do not have appropriate margins.

Thus, if you are dealing with intraday or trading in the F&O segment, you must understand the F&O Margin Penalty and everything else to maintain the margins and how to avoid the penalty. Here, we will discuss the F&O margins, penalty charges, what are the rules & regulations formed by SEBI and how to avoid F&O Margin Penalty charges.

Also Read:7 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid While Doing Intraday Trading

What is F&O Margin?

If you want to trade in F&O, your broker will ask you to deposit a certain amount as a margin of money in your trading account. In this segment without funding your account with margin money, you cannot initiate the trade, either you are buying or selling.

The Future & Options margins are collected by the brokers, on behalf of stock exchanges to cover any potential risk of any unexpected rise or fall in the stock or underlying index's price. And the margin keeps changes the end of the day as per the price changes.

Also Read:NSE Option Chain Analysis: How It Works & What Does Indicate

Why F&O Margins are Collected?

When you buy an options contract the risk is limited to the premium you paid at the time of buying the contract. While, when you sell the future or options contract, the risk is unlimited and here to cover this risk, the broker collects the margins from you. Collecting the margin money from the traders in F&O helps to reduce the risk of any default by traders.

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Types of F&O Margins Attract Penalty

Three types of F&O margins are charged by the broker as per the different market conditions and types of trade that take place.

SPAN Margin: Standardised Portfolio Analysis of Risk (SPAN) is the margin based on the concept of value at risk. This margin is calculated in such a way, that it can cover the maximum potential loss that can happen in same-day trading. And as per the underlying stocks' high volatility or volatility of index (VIX) for indices, the F&O contracts on the stock or index will have a higher SPAN margin.

Also Read: VIX India: How it Works, Calculated & Used for Share Trading

Exposure Margin: The exposure margins are imposed extra and beyond the SPAN margin. These exposure margins are created to cover the risks that are not covered under the SPAN margins. As per the SEBI, for the Indian stock market, trading in the F&O segment, the exposure margin for stock F&O contracts is fixed at 5% and for index F&O it is set at 3%.

MTM Margin: MTM or mark-to-market margin is deposited with brokers to cover the daily volatility that happens in the price of the F&O contracts. This margin is required as your underlying security price keeps changing. Suppose the security contacts price you bought, is falling or the security contract you sold is rising against your expectations, then a broker will collect MTM each day to cover the loss that arises due to an unexpected price change.

How to Calculate F&O Margin?

As per the buying and selling of the underlying assets, the F&O margins are calculated. You can find the F&O margin calculator as per the below situations.

In Case of Buying Options Contracts:

The option premium + other delivery margins may be charged before the physical settlement.

In the case of Selling Options Contracts and Futures Contracts:

SPAN + exposure margin + other delivery margins that may be charged before the physical settlement + any other margins levied by the exchange

Apart from these two, depending on the trader’s background or trading history in the F&O segment, to cover any additional risk, the broker might also charge an additional margin that may be far beyond the margins levied by the stock exchange.

What is F&O Margin Penalty?

The F&O margin penalty is you can say a type of fee or charge you have to pay to your broker that is further paid to the stock exchange for not maintaining the required margins when it is short. And this penalty is calculated, in percentage on the margin amount shortfall and charged on daily basis till the required margin is settled.

SEBI F&O Margin Rules

According to the SEBI, the penalty is applied when sufficient margins are not maintained and as per the rules, it is mandatory required that the latest SPAN & Exposure or stock physical delivery margins be available in the client's derivatives allocation.

However, the shortfall of margin can be happened due to various reasons like an increase in the margins requirement by the exchange, removal of hedge position, and mark-to-market losses. Under these conditions, the penalty is imposed as a proportion of the shortfall amount that is defined by the regulations that are deducted by the broker and deposited to exchanges.

Types of Margins Shortfall Penalty

Usually, two kinds of penalty are imposed when F&O margins are not maintained by the traders or shortfall during the trades.

EOD Shortfall: In the first case, if the client’s positions at the end of the day have a shortfall against the margins required, then a penalty is applied here.

Peak Margin Shortfall: In another situation, the exchange takes 4 snapshots of client positions at random times during market trading hours, and in this case, if there is any shortfall found during that time then the penalty is applied to the trader.

What is Peak Margin Penalty?

As per the rules introduced by SEBI in Dec 2020, new norms for intraday peak margin reporting the corporations responsible for clearing have to randomly take the snapshots a minimum of four times during all the margins and out of these snapshots, the highest margin will become the peak margin, and failure to maintain or peak margin shortfall attracts a penalty.

To understand the peak margin penalty let’s take an example –

Suppose you have created a long position in the Nifty, in which you have to maintain a margin of Rs 1,30,000, but due to index price fluctuations, the exchange increased the margin requirement by Rs 10,000 to Rs 140,000. Here, the system will check if you maintain the additional Rs 10,000 in your account or not.

Here, If you have made available Rs 10000 in your account, it will be clocked based on a fresh span file processed in the trading systems during the intraday. However, if such a margin is not maintained or unavailable in your account, then it is considered a peak margin shortfall on that exchange and imposes the penalty as a fee or charges.

Here, the peak margin penalty will be Rs. 50 is calculated on 0.5% on Rs 10,000 which was a shortfall beyond the main margins of Rs 130000.

Short Collection for Each Client Percentage of Penalty
(< Rs 1 lakh) And (< 10% of applicable margin) 0.5%
(= Rs 1 lakh) Or (= 10% of applicable margin) 1.0%

However, if the shortfall margins continue for more than 3 successive days, then 5% of the shortfall amount is levied as a penalty for each day of continued shortfall after the 3rd day of the shortfall.

And if the shortfall margins for anyone continue for more than 5 days, then a 5% penalty is levied on the shortfall amount for each day during the month but after the 5th day of the shortfall.

Apart from all the above conditions, if the short collection of margin from the client is triggered due to an index price change of 3% or more in the Nifty 50 on any given day (Day T), here the penalty for short collection is levied only if this shortfall remains for T+2 day.

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    Top Reasons for F&O Margin Penalty

    There are numerous reasons behind the F&O margin penalty that is imposed on traders. Mainly to cover the potential losses, traders have to maintain a certain amount of margin and failure to maintain the peak margin shortfall attracts a penalty by the exchange. The main reasons for the F&O margin penalty imposed by the exchange are mentioned below.

    Volatility in Market: The main reason behind the sudden change in the price of indices or underlying security that moves significantly resulting in margin shortfall.

    Extra Leveraging: This is another reason behind the margin penalty. Here, if any trader uses too much leverage allowed by the brokers, leads to a margin shortfall that resulted in a penalty by the exchange.

    How to Trace the Intraday F&O Margin?

    I think we have already discussed how peak margins for intraday are calculated by the exchanges, but let’s remind again. During the day, the exchange takes a minimum of 4 snapshots of the holdings of the clients to calculate the intraday margin requirements. Here, the client's peak intraday margin demand is calculated by the highest margin requirement based on these four snapshots.

    And any kind of shortfall in the collection of the highest peak margin requirements is evaluated for imposing the peak F&O margin penalty as per the framework for the exchange.

    How to Avoid F&O Margin Penalty?

    Peak margin penalty can affect your profit margins earned through, buying and selling of underlying securities in the F&O segment. Here, you can do, keep tracing the peak margins daily and maintain any shortfall to avoid the penalty.

    Also Read: Future & Options Strategies

    And to know the peak margin for intraday, use the F&O margin calculator that will tell you the exact figure as per the change in the price of the underlying asset.

    Also Read:What is Intraday Trading: Is it Profitable, How to Learn& Earn Money

    Moreover, also keep monitoring the exchange peak margin change policy to ensure you have enough margin available in your account. And after placing the orders, keep checking the excess or shortfall margin and square off every time your position if you can’t maintain the margin, otherwise, you will enjoy the penalty in exchange for such shortfall.


    Understanding the F&O margin penalty is very important for traders, especially trading in the derivatives market. Exchange imposes the peak margin penalty to ensure any shortfall of funds due to sudden movement in the price of the underlying security.

    And traders must keep watching their accounts while trading to ensure any shortfall in the margin. And to avoid the penalty they should use the F&O margin calculator and regularly keep monitoring their margin requirements, trade with stop-loss and avoid overleveraging their account required to maintain the margin during the trading hours.

    Moneysukh offers a one-stop platform for trading in all segments, such as equity (including derivatives or F&O) commodity and currency market with all trading and demat account facilities for the retail as well as HNI clients looking to invest in the stock market.

    Here, you will get a free trading account if you open demat account with Moneysukh with the highest margins for intraday trading and F&O trading. The broking charges are the lowest in the industry and you will also get daily tips and recommendations to buy stocks, commodities, currencies in cash and the F&O market suggested by experienced analysts.

    Also Read: How to Do Intraday Trading: Best Stocks, Charts & Strategies

    So, what are you waiting for, kick start your stock market trading journey from here now, to enjoy the unexpected profits and maximize your wealth.

    Also Read: Golden Rules of investing in Stock Market

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