Fundamentals of Futures & Options (also applicable to NFA Series 3 Exam)

Fundamentals of Futures & Options (also applicable to NFA Series 3 Exam)


For more than 30 years, IFM has consistently provided learners with a solid foundation and understanding of futures and options markets and trading including terminology, risk management, pricing, and basic trade strategies.

This instructor-led virtual course includes lecture from an engaging instructor with real-world expertise and supported by class discussion, practice exercises and educational materials. The course fee includes two must-read industry books - Futures and Options and the Guide to U.S. Futures Regulation.

Learning Outcome

After the course you will be able to:

  • Describe trading and uses of futures and be able compare and contrast futures to securities and cash market products.
  • Understand futures trading theory, basic functions, characteristics, pricing and terminology.
  • Interpret problems faced by those who are either long or short the market and understand how using listed contracts alleviates those problems by calculation of profit or loss with/without futures implementation.
  • Explain the principles of margins, offset, settlement.
  • Understand the strategy used in different order types.
  • Describe the nature of “basis risk” and how it may impact normally robust hedging results.
  • Describe the nature of future spreads as “relative positions”.
  • Identify the principles of hedging and cash-futures price relationships as well as the importance of the basis.
  • Understand the use of futures to hedge exposure to an underlying commodity or to speculate on a future price.
  • Enumerate the uses of stock-indexes, foreign exchange, energy, metals and other futures-based commodities.
  • Understand options nomenclature including premiums, exercise, assignment and settlement.
  • Describe option price determinants of option price and how they affect the option premium.
  • Understand use of option spreads to focus on a given market forecast; implementing vertical spread, horizontal spread, straddle, strangles, butterfly and condor strategies.
  • Compare futures and options on futures as risk management tools.
  • Understand portfolio management strategies and tactics using various futures and options products to modify the risk characteristics of a given portfolio.


Who Should Attend

Anyone requiring an in-depth understanding of futures and options markets, their institutions and their participants.

  • Prospective and new markets users
  • Commercial commodity producers and suppliers
  • Companies that provide financial, energy, industrial and food products
  • Asset managers
  • Pension fund managers
  • Corporates
  • Legal and compliance staff
  • Support and IT staff
  • Exchange personnel


The course is also highly beneficial for those who support trading from information technology, risk management, operations, marketing, sales, supply and distribution, to treasury and accounting. Industry regulators and policy makers, who will receive demonstrable return.


Series 3 Exam Candidates

This course is well-suited for those preparing for the Series 3 Exam — the National Commodities Futures Examination —  which is basic proficiency standards for industry professionals. The course covers all the market knowledge section (85 questions) of the Series 3 Exam and major aspects of the regulation section (35 questions). Additional test taking tips are covered at the end of the class. 

The course fee also includes a 6-month subscription to IFM's PassMaster — a comprehensive, Web-delivered program (desktop/mobile app) that helps students customize and streamline study time.  PassMaster consists of two distinct components  — a Tutorial with test questions and answers and an Series 3 Exam Simulator for NFA candidates.

Level: Fundamental to Intermediate

Delivery: Live-instruction online for 2 hours per day on five (5) consecutive days. This allows attendees the flexibility to fit education into their work day. IFM's live course offers the benefit of a live education — including the ability to interact with other attendees and our knowledgeable faculty — without the travel expense or days away from work.

Note class hours are in U.S. Eastern Time to provide maximum convenience for most U.S. and global participants.

Registration Options

Virtual Live. 2-hour sessions on 5 days.
Class Size
Registration is limited to approximately 20 participants to promote student participation and interaction.
Group Discount: 10% off any registration with 3+ participants. To take advantage of this discount, please contact the IFM at 202-223-1528, or via e-mail at

If you have any questions or are unable to complete your online order, please contact the IFM at 202-223-1528, or via e-mail at