Defination of DERIVATIVE FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS — Also known as derivatives. These are financial instruments whose values are linked to or depend on the value of a primary (underlying) asset, e.g. debt assets, liabilities and equity securities, commodities or currency. The primary types of derivatives include forward contracts, futures, options and swaps.
Source: OECD Glossary of Tax Terms http://www.oecd.org/ctp/glossaryoftaxterms.htm