What is Mark-to-Market?

One of the defining features of the futures markets is daily mark-to-market (MTM) prices on all contracts. The final daily settlement price for futures is the same for everyone.

MTM was a distinctive difference between futures and forwards until the regulatory reform enacted after the financial crises of 2007-2008. Prior to those reforms most OTC forwards and swaps did not have an official daily settlement price so clients never knew their daily variation except as described by a theoretical pricing model.

Futures markets have an official daily settlement price set by the exchange. While contracts may have slightly different closing and daily settlement formulas established by the exchange, the methodology is fully disclosed in the contract specifications and the exchange rulebook.