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Derivatives on volatility: some simple solutions based on observables

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  • Steven L. Heston
  • Saikat Nandi
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    Abstract

    Proposals to introduce derivatives whose payouts are explicitly linked to the volatility of an underlying asset have been around for some time. In response to these proposals, a few papers have tried to develop valuation formulae for volatility derivatives—derivatives that essentially help investors hedge the unpredictable volatility risk. This paper contributes to this nascent literature by developing closed-form/analytical formulae for prices of options and futures on volatility as well as volatility swaps. The primary contribution of this paper is that, unlike all other models, our model is empirically viable and can be easily implemented. ; More specifically, our model distinguishes itself from other proposed solutions/models in the following respects: (1) Although volatility is stochastic, it is an exact function of the observed path of asset prices. This is crucial in practice because nonobservability of volatility makes it very difficult (in fact, impossible) to arrive at prices and hedge ratios of volatility derivatives in an internally consistent fashion, as it is akin to not knowing the stock price when trying to price an equity derivative. (2) The model does not require an unobserved volatility risk premium, nor is it predicated on the strong assumption of the existence of a continuum of options of all strikes and maturities as in some papers. (3) We show how it is possible to replicate (delta hedge) volatility derivatives by trading only in the underlying asset (on whose volatility the derivative exists) and a risk-free asset. This bypasses the problem of having to trade numerously many options on the underlying asset, a hedging strategy proposed in some other models.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2000-20.

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    Date of creation: 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2000-20

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    Keywords: Derivative securities ; Hedging (Finance) ; Options (Finance);

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    References

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    1. Robert C. Merton, 1973. "Theory of Rational Option Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(1), pages 141-183, Spring.
    2. Rubinstein, Mark, 1994. " Implied Binomial Trees," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(3), pages 771-818, July.
    3. Tim Bollerslev, 1986. "Generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 1986/01, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    4. Mark Rubinstein., 1994. "Implied Binomial Trees," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-232, University of California at Berkeley.
    5. Grunbichler, Andreas & Longstaff, Francis A., 1996. "Valuing futures and options on volatility," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 985-1001, July.
    6. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
    7. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
    8. Harrison, J. Michael & Pliska, Stanley R., 1981. "Martingales and stochastic integrals in the theory of continuous trading," Stochastic Processes and their Applications, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 215-260, August.
    9. Heston, Steven L, 1993. "A Closed-Form Solution for Options with Stochastic Volatility with Applications to Bond and Currency Options," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(2), pages 327-43.
    10. Breeden, Douglas T & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1978. "Prices of State-contingent Claims Implicit in Option Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 621-51, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Dimitris Psychoyios & George Dotsis & Raphael Markellos, 2010. "A jump diffusion model for VIX volatility options and futures," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 245-269, October.
    2. Windcliff, H. & Forsyth, P.A. & Vetzal, K.R., 2006. "Pricing methods and hedging strategies for volatility derivatives," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 409-431, February.

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