R.J. McGee, F. McGroarty, “The Risk Premium That Never Was: A Fair Value Explanation of the Volatility Spread”

We present a new framework to investigate the profitability of trading the volatility spread, the upward bias on implied volatility as an estimator of future realized volatility. The scheme incorporates the first four option-implied moments in a growth-optimal payoff that is statically replicated using a portfolio of options. Removing the upward bias on implied volatility worsens the likelihood score of … Read More »


R. Israelov – “Pathetic Protection: The Elusive Benefits of Protective Puts”

Conventional wisdom is that put options are effective drawdown protection tools. Unfortunately, in the typical use case, put options are quite ineffective at reducing drawdowns versus the simple alternative of statically reducing exposure to the underlying asset. This paper investigates drawdown characteristics of protected portfolios via simulation and a study of the CBOE S&P 500 5% Put Protection Index. Unless your option purchases and their maturities are timed just right around equity drawdowns, they may offer little downside protection. In fact, they could make things worse by increasing rather than decreasing drawdowns and volatility per unit of expected return.Read More »


N. Branger, H. Hulsbusch, T. F. Middelhoff, “Idiosyncratic Volatility, its Expected Variation, and the Cross-Section of Stock Returns”

This paper explains the negative relation between the realized idiosyncratic volatility (IVOL) and expected returns. Using implicit information from the cross-section of options we extract expectations about the volatility of idiosyncratic volatility (IVOLVOL) in an almost model-free fashion. We show that IVOL is mean-reverting and that IVOLVOL serves as proxy for the meanreversion speed. Running double sorts on both measures … Read More »