R. Israelov, L. Nielsen: Still Not Cheap: Portfolio Protection in Calm Markets

March 17, 2015

Recent equity volatility is near all-time lows. Option prices are also low. Many analysts suggest this represents a good opportunity to purchase put options for portfolio insurance. It is well-known that portfolio insurance is expensive on average, but what about in calm markets? History suggests it still is. We investigate the relationship between option richness and volatility across ten global equity indices. Option prices may be low, but their expected values tend to be even lower.