In-depth introduction: Innovation

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Prawns, GDP, rainfall, scrap metal, electricity, longevity – the list of things on which exchanges and dealers have tried to launch derivatives is much, much longer than there is room for here. Most of these attempts spluttered along for a year or two, before being consigned to history, others – such as weather derivatives – carved out a niche without taking off in the way their backers hoped, while a handful have become huge, globally traded markets.

This constant, restless search for new terri

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