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When Does Cash Settlement Happen to Close Out Short Delivery

26 Jul 2023

Short selling is a crucial component of investment strategies. It enables traders to profit from reducing stock prices in the financial world. However, there are some risks associated with short selling as well. One such probability is the possibility of short delivery. It arises when a trader can’t produce the necessary shares on the settlement date. What happens next? Let’s explore to understand the working of cash settlement and the effects of closing out short delivery positions.

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What is a short delivery?

Short delivery takes place when a trader who has sold securities short, fails to deliver the necessary shares to the buyer on the settlement date. This scenario can happen for several reasons. Some could include the inaccessibility of the loaned shares or faults made during the settlement procedure. Short delivery can thus have serious repercussions, such as fines, harm to one's reputation, and legal issues.

How does cash settlement come into the picture?

The cash settlement procedure gets started when there is a short delivery problem. It includes closing out the short position by buying the required shares. This happens in an open market to meet the delivery requirements. Instead of delivering the actual shares, the trader compensates the buyer with cash. This transaction is equivalent to the value of the shares at the time of the settlement.

What is the timeline for the cash settlement?

Depending on the individual laws and regulatory authorities of particular markets, the timeframe for cash settlement varies. Cash settlement to the trading account typically takes place on T+2 day. The T denotes the transaction date or the day the transaction occurs. 2 is the days after the transaction date that the settlement or the transfer of funds and security ownership happens. The trader risks serious consequences, such as monetary fines, the termination of their trading privileges, or even legal action, if they fail to comply with the deadline.

Explaining with an example 

Trader "A" sells 200 shares of a company short to Trader "B". The settlement date is set for Monday (Day 0). However, Trader "A" fails to deliver the shares on time. In a T+2 cash settlement scenario, Trader "A" has to resolve the short delivery by Wednesday (Day 2). 

  1. On Tuesday (Day 1), Trader "A" purchases 200 shares of the company from the market. 
  2. On Wednesday (Day 2), Trader "A" delivers the cash equivalent of the purchased shares to Trader "B". 

This ensures proper completion of the T+2 cash settlement process.

What are the advantages of cash settlement while closing out short delivery?

Awareness of the possible benefits of cash settlement is crucial for traders, investors, and regulators. It is critical to safeguarding the integrity and effectiveness of financial markets. Some of the key advantages of cash settlement include: 

  1. Timely Resolution against short delivery situations. The buyer is paid in cash, allowing them to work on their investment strategy immediately.
  2. Risk Mitigation by preventing any disputes and potential market fluctuations resulting from failed deliveries. It provides an alternate way to meet the deliverance obligations.
  3. Market Liquidity via open market transactions of the required shares. As trading activity rises, the market becomes more liquid and more effective as a whole.
  4. Flexibility through choosing the most suitable time and price to buy the shares. This includes analysing market conditions and accordingly coming up with own trading strategies to minimise losses and maximise profits. 
  5. Market Confidence rises when traders are compensated for the shares they fail to deliver. It helps in promoting fair trading practices by reducing any attempts at market manipulation.

Are you deciding to use a cash settlement?

The last step in closing out short delivery positions is the cash settlement. It provides an effective solution to an otherwise challenging scenario. Traders can compensate through cash for their inability to deliver the shares. Market participants need to understand the timeline and significance of cash settlement for the fair and effective operation of the financial markets.


Related Articles: Using futures as a form of Margin Trading in Stocks | What is Mark to Market Margin in Futures and Options and when is it Applicable? | The importance of operating margins for a company

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