What Is an Embedded Derivative? Meaning, Example, 10+ Facts

An embedded derivative is part of a financial instrument that also includes a non-derivative host contract.

The embedded derivative requires that some portion of the contract’s cash flows be modified in relation to changes in a variable, such as an interest rate, commodity price, credit rating, or foreign exchange rate.

In this post, we’ll discuss the what is an embedded derivative and how you can make one.

What Is an Embedded Derivative?

A provision in a contract that affects the cash flow of a contract by making it reliant on some underlying measurement is an embedded derivative.

Similar to conventional derivatives, embedded derivatives may be based on a range of assets, including common stock, currency rates, and interest rates.

Combining derivatives with regular contracts, or embedding derivatives, modifies the risk allocation among contracting parties.

What Is an Embedded Derivative?

Any financial instrument whose value depends on an underlying asset, price, or index is a derivative. A derivative that is embedded is identical to a conventional derivative. its location, however, is different.

Traditional derivatives are traded separately and stand alone. The contract into which embedded derivatives are inserted is known as the host contract. The combination of the host contract and the embedded derivative is referred to as a hybrid instrument.

The embedded derivative affects the underlying contract by altering the cash flow that would have otherwise been promised. For instance, when you obtain a loan, you commit to return the principal amount plus interest.

When you engage into this agreement, the lender is concerned that interest rates will rise, but you will lock in a cheaper rate.

He is able to amend the loan arrangement by including a derivative, so that the interest payments are contingent on another measurement. For instance, they might be changed based on a benchmark interest rate or stock index.

In several forms of contracts, embedded derivatives exist. They are commonly found in leases and insurance policies. Also including embedded derivatives are preferred stock and convertible bonds or bonds that may be swapped for common stock.

The particular accounting requirements for embedded derivatives are complex, but the fundamental notions are that the embedded derivative must be recorded at fair value and should only be recorded independently from the host contract if it could stand alone as a typical derivative.

A contract with an embedded derivative might serve as an alternative to another kind of risk management. Some businesses undertake transactions in many currencies, for instance.

By incurring manufacturing costs in one currency and selling the product in another, companies are exposed to the risk of unfavourable variations in the interest rate.

These corporations frequently engage in foreign exchange futures trading as a risk-hedging strategy. The foreign exchange future might also be incorporated into the sales contract.

This varies from the previous technique in that the buyer now assumes the risk when a third party trades futures contracts with the company.

What Is an Embedded Derivative?

This example demonstrates the fundamental purpose of embedded derivatives. to shift risk. They modify the terms of a conventional contract such that the party who would have been exposed to risks linked with, for instance, interest rates or currency rates, is now protected, while the other party is exposed.

Embedded derivatives are utilized to entice investors to engage in otherwise unappealing contracts by reducing their risk.

Accounting for Embedded Derivatives

Originally, the obligation to individually account for some embedded derivatives served as an anti-abuse measure. The creators of these standards believed that entities would seek to “embed” derivatives in contracts unaffected by the derivatives and hedging activities advice in order to circumvent the obligation to reflect the economics of derivative instruments in profits.

Efforts have been made in the aim of ensuring that embedded derivatives are accounted for similarly to derivative instruments in order to offer uniformity in accounting practices. Bifurcation is the process of separating an embedded derivative from the host contract. Let’s examine this with an illustration.

Embedded Derivatives Accounting – Bifurcation

An investor in a convertible bond is obliged to bifurcate the stock option component before purchasing the bond. The component of the stock option that is an embedded derivative must then be accounted for as any other derivative.

This is performed using the fair value level. Accounting is performed according to the GAAP standard for the host contract, as there is no derivative connected. As described above, the two instruments are handled and accounted for independently.

However, it is crucial to recognize that not all embedded derivatives must be separated and properly accounted for. A call option included within a fixed-rate bond is a derivative that does not necessitate bifurcation and separate accounting.

Criteria or situation which defines bifurcation?

  • In accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the embedded derivative must be isolated from the underlying contract and recorded separately.
  • Unless the economic and risk characteristics of the host contract and embedded derivative are closely connected, this accounting requirement must be maintained.
  • An embedded derivative must be dealt in a certain manner for accounting purposes.

Embedded Derivatives Accounting Examples

Example 1

Suppose XYZ Ltd offers bonds on the market whose coupon and principal payments are linked to the price of gold. In this instance, it is evident that the host contract lacks the economic and risk features of embedded derivatives (which is, in this case, the price of Gold).

In this instance, the embedded derivative must be isolated from the host contract and must be separately accounted for.

Example 2

Suppose the same firm, XYZ Ltd, releases bonds on the market with coupon and principal payments linked to the company’s share price. In this instance, it is evident that the host contract possesses the economic and risk features of embedded derivatives (which is, in this case, the share price of the company).

The embedded derivative does not need to be segregated from the host contract and can be accounted for jointly in this instance. Due to the fact that both have the same economic and risk characteristics, this is the case.

Example 3

Let’s study the above-described notion mathematically by examining a second case. Suppose ABC corporate purchases a $10,000,000 convertible bond with a 10-year maturity from XYZ corporation.

This convertible bond pays an interest rate of 2%, and its conversion terms specify that it can be exchanged for 1,000,000 publicly traded shares of XYZ Company common stock. The corporation must calculate the value of the conversion option, which is incorporated in the debt instrument, and then account for it separately as a derivative in accordance with accounting standards.

What Is an Embedded Derivative?

In order to account for it as a derivative, a fair value estimate was performed, which determined that the bond’s fair value was $500,000. Utilizing an option pricing model, this is determined.

What Is an Embedded Derivative Example?

Consider the subsequent as an example of an embedded derivative. Bonds are issued to the market by LMN Ltd. However, both the coupon payment and principal component of the bond are tied to the price of silver.

In this circumstance, the price of silver and its performance on the market will directly influence whether the cost of the coupon increases or decreases. The bond issued by LMN Ltd. is a debt product that is not a derivative, yet the payments are tied to another instrument. Silver becomes both the derivative and embedded component.

Uses of Embedded Derivatives

Many forms of contracts incorporate embedded derivatives. The embedded derivative is utilized most frequently in leases and insurance contracts. Additionally, it has been shown that both preferred stocks and convertible bonds have imbedded derivatives.

Usage in Risk Management

Embedded derivatives have been utilized in any organization’s risk management strategies. In the present business climate, many firms incur production expenses in one currency while collecting income in another.

In such circumstances, firms expose themselves to the risk of currency rate fluctuations. To protect themselves from currency risk, they utilize various derivatives contracts, such as interest rate swaps, futures trading, and options.

However, the same risk might be incorporated into sales contracts following consultation with the customer.

Under such a system, the company’s revenue may be closely correlated with its production expenses. This is a standard illustration of risk management utilizing embedded derivatives. This reduces the overall risk of the contract for the organization and inspires client trust.

Interest rate derivatives (a sort of embedded derivative instrument) have been viewed as an effective strategy to control interest rate risk for many years. However, the tendency has diminished in recent years as a result of the intricate accounting methods in the industry.

The banks are currently utilizing funding models with incorporated derivatives and variable interest rates. Included among derivatives are interest rate ceilings, floors, and/or corridors.

What Is an Embedded Derivative?

Currently, instruments of this type are excluded from FASB 133 since they are intimately tied to the interest rates paid on borrowings (this concept will be explained in details in the following sections)

Creating structured financial products

The embedded derivative methods permit the creation of structured, complicated financial products by the financial sector. In the majority of these instances, the risk component of one instrument is transferred to the return component of the other instrument.

In the previous 20 to 30 years, the global financial markets have introduced a large number of these goods to the market, and this is the primary reason why knowing these products is crucial.

How To Identify Embedded Derivatives

Even though ASC 815 provides a clear definition of an embedded derivative, not all contract participants and business experts are able to recognize these instruments. In the first place, these derivatives reside within a hybrid instrument, which includes a host contract and an embedded derivative.

Hybrid instruments provide a problem, as it must be assessed if the instrument remains a single instrument for accounting and valuation purposes or if it should be split into two separate instruments.

Consequently, while implementing the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the host contract and embedded derivatives are reported separately.

If the embedded derivative must be freed from the host contract, a separate entry will be made on the balance sheet based on the embedded derivative’s fair value. Any adjustments to the fair value must be immediately reflected in profits. Normal GAAP accounting would apply to the underlying instrument.

Steps for Identification

Determining embedded derivatives involves three simple procedures. When broken down, they are simpler to comprehend.

Step One

Initially, the embedded derivative and host of the hybrid instrument must be identified. The host contract can be identified by one of the following categories.

Lease agreements, equity instruments, loans, insurance contracts, and other forms of debt. The subsequent analysis must evaluate if the embedded feature complies with the ASC 815 characteristic requirements. These consist of:

Step Two

You must select whether or not the hybrid instrument should be distinct. This is possible by posing three questions.

How To Value an Embedded Derivative

It is essential to consider both the host and the embedded derivative when determining the value of an embedded derivative. If bifurcation is necessary for the hybrid instrument (based on the answers to the identification questions), the embedded derivative’s fair market value is recorded.

However, ASC 815 mandates the use of the with and without analysis in the valuation process. Changes in fair value are accounted for as earnings. Fair market factors are evaluated within the framework of extra or implied yield, with baseline cash flows taken into account. These may include put or call options, PIK interest, or warrants.

What Is an Embedded Derivative?

When embedded derivatives are issued, they must be evaluated, and they must be revalued in any following quarters if there are changes in noncash reported values. Continuous valuation offers insight into a company’s consistent price or yield and the rise or decrease in risk.

What about the embedded derivatives which cannot be identified or measured?

FASB has acknowledged that there are several situations in which embedded derivatives cannot be reliably detected or valued for separation from the underlying contract. In this situation, accounting standard 815 mandates that the whole contract be recorded at fair value and that any changes in fair value be included in current earnings. This includes the host contract as well as the embedded derivative.

Real-Life Examples

Let us now examine a few of the circumstances in which the accounting community decides how to account for an embedded derivative. The judgments taken in accordance with this table are based on a comprehension of accounting standard 815.

If readers wish to fully comprehend the consequences of the accounting rules pertaining to embedded derivatives, they are urged to carefully examine the standard.

The hybrid instrument containing an embedded derivative Identifying embedded derivative Is the embedded derivative clearly and closely related to the host? Bifurcation and separate accounting required for embedded derivative?
Bonds with a variable interest rate whose rate is related to an interest index such as LIBOR, the prime rate, or the repo rate.  

There is no instance of an embedded derivative in the current context.

A bond with a set rate of interest.  

There is no instance of an embedded derivative in the current context.

In this type of debt instrument, the issuer has the option to prepay the principal balance. Call option enabling the issuer to prepay the debt instrument Yes, the relationship between interest rate and call options is tight. No
The investor has the opportunity to convert the debt instrument into the issuer’s common stock at a predetermined conversion rate. A call option on the underlying stock. No, the underlying equity-based security is not directly tied to debt securities. However, there may be an exception where the entity’s equity shares are not publicly traded and so no monetary settlement is possible. Yes. The embedded derivative will be reported at its fair value, with any changes reflected in profits.
Indexed stocks In such an instrument, the return of principle and interest are tied to an equity index. A forward exchange contract with an equity index-linked option. The forward contract or options contract is not closely tied to the debt instrument. Yes. The embedded derivative will be reported at its fair value, with any changes reflected in profits.
Credit-sensitive bond: a bond whose coupon rate resets dependent on changes in the issuer’s credit rating A conditional exchange option contract that grants the investor a higher interest rate if the issuer’s credit rating decreases. Yes, the debtor’s creditworthiness is plainly and intimately tied to the loan instrument. No


Risk Management With Embedded Derivatives

People utilize embedded derivatives in a variety of contracts, including leases, insurance policies, and others. Even convertible bonds and shares are able to utilize such derivatives.

This form of derivative can also be used to hedge against currency risk. For example, a corporation incurs production expenditures in one currency and receives sales in another. In this manner, the corporation is exposed to currency rate risk.

Typically, corporations use derivatives contracts, such as interest rate swaps, etc., to reduce such risks. However, firms can also utilize embedded derivatives to protect themselves or cover up such risks.

The corporation can communicate with the client and incorporate this risk into the sales agreement. In this instance, for instance, a corporation can tie income to production costs. In this manner, embedded derivatives reduce the contract’s risk and inspire client trust.


An embedded derivative is part of a financial instrument that also includes a non derivative host contract.

The embedded derivative requires that some portion of the contract’s cash flows be modified in relation to changes in a variable, such as an interest rate, commodity price, credit rating, or foreign exchange rate.

If a derivative is contractually transferable separately from the contract, then it is not an embedded derivative.

When an embedded derivative can be separated from the host contract, then the derivative should be presented separately on the reporting entity’s balance sheet at its fair value. In addition, any changes in the derivative’s fair value should be recorded in earnings for the current period.


An embedded derivative is a provision in a contract that modifies the cash flow of a contract by making it dependent on some underlying measurement. Like traditional derivatives, embedded derivatives can be based on a variety of instruments, from common stock to exchange rates and interest rates.
A derivative is a financial instrument that gets its value from an underlying asset. An embedded derivative is similar to the usual derivative, with the only difference being in its placement. For instance, the usual derivatives are independent products that trade separately
Identifying and Accounting for Embedded Derivatives under ASC 815
  1. Step 1: Identify the host and embedded derivative of the hybrid instrument. …
  2. Step 2: Determine whether or not the hybrid instrument needs to be separated. …
  3. Step 3: Determine the valuation of both the embedded derivative and host.
Embedded Derivatives Accounting – Bifurcation

The stock option portion, which is an embedded derivative, then needs to be accounted like any other derivative. This is done at the fair value level.

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