Volume-weighted average price

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In finance, volume-weighted average price (VWAP) is the ratio of the value traded to total volume traded over a particular time horizon (usually one day). It is a measure of the average price a stock traded at over the trading horizon.

VWAP is often used as a trading benchmark by investors who aim to be as passive as possible in their execution. Many pension funds, and some mutual funds, fall into this category. The aim of using a VWAP trading target is to ensure that the trader executing the order does so in-line with volume on the market.

VWAP can be measured between any two points in time but is displayed as the one corresponding to elapsed time during the trading day by the information provider.

VWAP is often used in algorithmic trading. Indeed, a broker may guarantee execution of an order at the VWAP and have a computer program enter the orders into the market in order to earn the trader's commission and create P&L. This is called a guaranteed VWAP execution. The broker can also trade in a best effort way and answer to the client the realized price. This is called a VWAP target execution; it incurs more dispersion in the answered price compared to the VWAP price for the client but a lower received/paid commission. Trading algorithms that use VWAP as a target belong to a class of algorithms known as volume participation algorithms.

VWAP adjustments to Final Price for US Shares

Where share Final Price is determined by reference to the Volume Weighted Average Price during a trading session you may see this following amendment:

(a) Section 6.3(a) is amended by deleting “at any time during the one hour period that ends at the relevant Valuation Time, Latest Exercise Time, Knock-in Valuation Time or Knock-out Valuation Time, as the case may be” and replacing it with “at any time during the regular trading session on the Exchange, without regard to after hours or any other trading outside of the regular trading session hours”.
(b) Section 6.3(d) is amended by deleting the remainder of the provision following the term “Scheduled Closing Time” in the fourth line thereof;
(c) If the final Valuation Date is a Disrupted Day, the Calculation Agent may determine that such day is a Disrupted Day only in part, in which case the Calculation Agent must designate the Valuation Date determined pursuant to Section 6.6(a) for the remaining portion and the Calculation Agent must adjust the Number of Shares for which the Disrupted Day is the Valuation Date and must determine the Final Price based on such adjustments which will be based on such factors as the Calculation Agent considers relevant.

The current US tax interpretation is that benchmarking an equity swap on a US Share to the close is viewed a cross (and one is guilty until proven innocent). Therefore, do not use the official closing price for US Shares at maturity as it would then invalidate them as true derivatives and recharacterise them as repos. Instead, confirm VWAP over the day as an observable benchmark price for termination.

This does not, however, prevent one early-terminating an Equity Swap Transaction on a US Share using methods other than VWAP. Now, if you are a synthetic prime brokerage sort of camper, you might wonder why all this fuss as equity swaps are treated, for most purposes, as undated and are always terminated at the client’s motion as an optional early termination.

See also