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What is Receiver Swaption?

Have you heard of swaptions? They are fascinating derivative contracts that can give you the right to enter into an interest rate swap on a future date without any obligation. It’s like having an option on a swap! These contracts come in two main types – receiver swaptions and payer swaptions. 

This article provides an explanatory overview of receiver swaptions and explores what they are all about. 

Understanding receiver swaptions

A swaption is a contract that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to enter into an interest rate swap at a future date. The interest rate swap allows parties to exchange interest rate payments as one party pays a fixed interest rate, whereas the other pays a floating rate. 

A receiver swaption gives a holder the right to pay the fixed interest rate and receive a floating interest rate. These are useful for hedging interest rate risk. For example, if interest rates are expected to fall, the receiver swaption allows the holder to lock in a higher fixed rate.

Key features of receiver swaptions

1. Notional principal amount

The notional principal amount sets the level on which the interest payments are calculated. For example, if the notional amount is ₹1 crore, the interest payments will be calculated based on this amount, although no actual principal changes hands.

2. Swap rate/strike rate  

This is the fixed interest rate that the receiver swaption holder has the right to pay. This rate is decided at the inception of the swaption contract. The holder will exercise the swaption only if the prevailing interest rates fall below this strike rate.

3. Premium

The buyer of the receiver swaption needs to pay a premium to the seller for the right to exercise the option. The premium amount depends on the strike rate, tenor of the swaption and volatility of interest rates.

4. Expiry date 

The expiry date is the last date the holder can exercise his right to enter into the underlying interest rate swap. The most common expiry types are European (single expiry date) and Bermudan (multiple expiry dates).

How do receiver swaptions work?

Let’s understand receiver swaptions with an example. 

Suresh, a businessman, has taken a ₹2 crore business loan at a 10% floating interest rate. He worries that falling interest rates will incentivise him to prepare a loan and take a cheaper loan. To hedge this, he purchases a 2-year receiver swaption from a bank with the following terms:

  • Notional principal: ₹2 crore 
  • Fixed interest rate: 9% 
  • Premium paid: ₹5 lakhs
  • Expiry date: 2 years (European)

Here, Suresh has purchased the right to pay a 9% fixed interest rate instead of the floating rate. The swaption expires after 2 years. 

If interest rates fall to 8% during this period, Suresh can exercise his swaption and start paying fixed 9% interest instead of an 8% floating rate, locking in interest savings. He will let the swaption expire if rates stay above 9% and continue paying the floating rate.

In essence, Suresh has capped the interest rate at 9% for his loan by paying a premium of ₹5 lakhs. The swaption protects him from very low/falling interest rates.

Short receiver swaptions

A short receiver swaption involves the seller/writer instead of the buyer. Here, the seller receives the premium amount and must enter into the underlying swap if the buyer exercises the swaption.

Short receiver swaptions allow banks and other large institutions to earn premium income. However, it also exposes them to the risk that interest rates may fall sharply, forcing them to receive lower floating rates versus the fixed rates they have committed to. Appropriate risk management is essential for institutions selling short receiver swaptions.

Difference from receiver swaps

It is easy to confuse receiver swaptions with receiver swaps. The critical difference is that a receiver swaption provides the right to enter into a receiver swap in the future. There is no obligation to exercise this right. On the other hand, a receiver swap is an obligation from Day 1 for both parties to make interest rate payments.

In a nutshell, receiver swaptions provide flexibility, while receiver swaps provide obligation and cash flows.

Valuation of receiver swaptions  

The premium or price of the receiver and other types of swaptions depends on the following:

  • Current interest rates
  • Expectations on future rate movements 
  • Tenor/expiry date of the swaption
  • The fixed swap rate

Generally, premiums are higher when interest rate volatility is expected to be high in the swaption period. Also, longer-dated swaptions command higher premiums. The premium varies directly with the swaption’s strike rate relative to market swap rates.

Sophisticated financial models are used to value swaptions based on the above parameters. The two most common valuation models are the Black and Binomial Tree models. Banks have dedicated teams to price the swaptions they buy and sell accurately.

Usage of receiver swaptions

Some typical users of receiver swaptions include:

1. Corporates: Suresh showed you can use a hedging method to protect yourself from lower interest rates. This method can help you ensure a steady flow of cash.

2. Banks: To hedge risks in their asset/liability portfolios or to earn premium income by selling short receiver swaptions. It is also helpful in structured products. 

3. Investors: Certain funds and institutional investors use receiver swaptions to express views on interest rates or earn premium income. These investors have very rigorous risk management systems.


Receiver swaptions provide the buyer the flexibility to benefit from falling interest rates in the future. They serve as practical hedging tools for corporates and banks to manage interest rate risks on their balance sheet. At the same time, swaptions also provide premium income opportunities for large institutions. Understanding pricing and risk dynamics is essential for anyone participating in this market.


What is a receiver swaption?

A receiver swaption gives the buyer, but not the obligation, the right to pay a pre-defined fixed interest rate and receive a floating interest rate in an interest rate swap starting at a specific date. It helps hedge against falling interest rates.

Who are the typical buyers of receiver swaptions?

Corporates like Suresh, for example, can buy receiver swaptions to hedge against declining interest rates on their business loans. Banks also use these to hedge risks in their asset-liability portfolios or structure products for clients.

What is the difference between a receiver swaption and a receiver swap?

A receiver swaption provides the right to enter into a receiver swap in the future, while a receiver swap creates the obligation to exchange cash flows from Day 1. A swaption provides flexibility; a swap provides certainty.

What happens to the seller of a short receiver swaption?

The seller of a short receiver swaption must pay fixed and receive floating interest if the buyer decides to exercise the swaption. This can adversely impact if interest rates decline sharply.

How does one value a receiver’s swaption?

Factors like current/future interest rates, swaption expiry, fixed swap rate and interest rate volatility impact the premium amount of a receiver swaption. Banks use the Black and Binomial Tree Model to arrive at suitable values.

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