This thesis examines the growth of an exciting new innovation in the financial world - the swap. Swaps evolved against a background of great change in the international economy, fulfilling a number of roles and serving as the basis for the birth of numerous secondary products. The impact of this tool is analysed with respect debt management, one of the swap's most vital uses over recent years, and the benefits are outlined in detail. The main focus of this thesis is, however, to discuss the gains from swap transactions in a net sense, incorporating the negative aspects associated with the swap. The fundamental issue of risk is one that has traditionally received little attention in the relevant literature, but is coming into increasing prominence. The result of this study justifies the concern with respect to this problem, and indicates that to evaluate a swap, one needs to consider both the advantages and the disadvantages in a net sense if the economic gains are to be accurately assessed.