What Is the Iron Butterfly Option Strategy? A High-Risk Reward Approach for Novice Traders
If you are new to options trading and want a strategy with low risk but high potential for rewards, you should consider the Iron Butterfly Option. This approach is ideal for beginners because it requires only a tiny amount of capital. "Butterfly spread" refers to an options strategy combining bull and bear spreads with a fixed risk and a maximum profit through an options trading app

These spreads are according to the market-neutral strategies with an approach to gain profitable outcomes. Further in this article, we will explore the Iron Butterfly option strategy and its related aspects.

Iron Butterfly Options Strategy: An Overview

Options present various opportunities for generating lucrative income that cannot be practiced using traditional securities. Most of all, not all involve high levels of risk. One such example is the butterfly strategy, which allows for steady income generation while simultaneously managing and limiting risks and profits. This specific strategy comes up with the risk-reward ratio of 2.5:1 which is indeed alluring for investors. 

The iron butterfly strategy is part of a group of wingspread options strategies and can be formed with an options strategy builder. This strategy combines a bear call spread and a bull put spread with the same expiration date. These come together at a middle-strike price.

Iron butterfly option strategy is a type of trading strategy that does not favor any particular direction in the market. They aim to profit by taking advantage of low market volatility and minimal fluctuations in the underlying stock on the options trading app.

When opening an iron butterfly option position, the trader receives a credit. The maximum risk for this strategy is determined by the spread width of the butterfly option, which is the difference between the strike prices. The risk is limited to the spread width subtracted from the premium received. Investors typically initiate an iron butterfly option when they expect the stock price to remain within a specific range until expiry and predict a decrease in suggested volatility.

Working of Iron Butterfly Options Strategy

The iron butterfly option strategy works when the investor merges four options contracts with the same end date and three strike prices. It is to establish a stable price range in the option chain, which can lead to profits. The trader then purchases two option contracts, one at a higher and another at a lower strike price.

This process is followed by selling two option contracts with a strike price that falls between the previously mentioned range. The middle strike price is set to equal the difference between the primary asset's high and low strike prices. The Calls and Puts within the same expiry date can be used for a butterfly spread.

The iron butterfly option strategy is the most effective in the market, which lacks clear direction. It means the trader does not expect significant fluctuations in security prices with upcoming trades. 

Thus, the trader can earn an expected profit by accepting a limited level of risk by options strategy builder. The ideal outcome for the butterfly option strategy occurs when it reaches its expiration date, and the middle strike price supports the price of the primary asset.

Construction of Iron Butterfly Strategy

In simple terms, an iron butterfly is a trading strategy that has buying options to protect against potential losses. It comprises two spreads - a bear call and a bull put credit spread. Both have approximately the same strike price and have the same expiration date. 

The total credit received from both spreads determines the maximum trade profit through the options trading app. Also, the maximum risk is calculated by deducting the credit received from the spread width. Here are the steps to set up the iron butterfly strategy:
  • The trader primarily sets the specific price level where they predict the primary asset for settling the identified future day. This price is referred to as the target price.
  • The trader plans to use options with expiry dates on or near the day they predict the target price. The trader buys the call option with a strike price, which is relatively higher than the target price. The expectation is for this call option to be valueless till the expiry date. It protects the critical increase in the original asset's value and limits the potential loss to a set amount.
  • The trader offers for sale both a call and a put option with a strike price near the target price. This strike price is less than the call option purchased earlier and more significant than the put option bought later.
  • The trader buys the put option having a lower strike price than the desired price within the option chain. The trader predicts that this put option is not lucrative until expiration. However, it protects the substantial decrease in the primary asset and limits potential losses to a decided limit.

Exit the Iron Butterfly Option Trading

An iron butterfly strategy aims to benefit from decreased option value over time with limited stock price variations and reduced volatility. When the options reach the expiry stage, it is one of the short options having the profitable position having the possible assigned risk. It makes it necessary to close the position to avoid assignment. The iron butterfly is a single spread with short strikes and can be closed to exit the position before expiration. If the options are purchased at a lower price than their purchase, the strategy earns a profit for the trader.


There are multiple advantages of the iron butterfly option trading strategy. Here are some of them:

It can be established with a small sum of money and generate a consistent income.

  • It also carries less risk compared to directional spreads.
  • If the price turns from the specified range, traders can change the position by rolling it up or down like any other spread.
  • The traders can decide to close out half of the position and earn a profit on the remaining bear call or bull put spread.

Final Word

Iron butterflies option trading is created to offer traders and investors a stable income source and modify the potential risks. Before implementing this strategy on the options trading app, it is essential to understand the possible rewards and risks thoroughly. Moreover, various brokerage platforms direct clients to use this or similar strategies with complete knowledge and specific skill sets and meet lucrative financial benefits.

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What Is the Iron Butterfly Option Strategy? A High-Risk Reward Approach for Novice Traders
Nisarg S 5 October, 2023
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