Estimating option-implied distributions in illiquid markets and implementing the Ross recovery theorem
In this research we describe how forward-looking information on the statistical properties of an asset can be extracted directly from options market data and demonstrate how this can be practically applied to portfolio management. Although the extraction of a forward-looking risk-neutral distribution is well-established in the literature, the issue of estimating distributions in an illiquid market is not. We use the deterministic SVI volatility model to estimate weekly risk-neutral distribution surfaces. The issue of calibration with sparse and noisy data is considered at length and a simple but robust fitting algorithm is proposed. We further attempt to extract real-world implied information by implementing the recovery theorem introduced by Ross (2015). Recovery is an ill-posed problem that requires careful consideration. We describe a regularisation methodology for extracting real-world implied distributions and implement this method on a history of SVI volatility surfaces. We analyse the first four moments from the implied risk-neutral and real-world implied distributions and use them as signals within a simple tactical asset allocation framework, finding promising results.
Keywords: Option-implied distributions; SVI volatility model; Ross recovery theorem; Tikhonov regularisation; illiquid derivative markets
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Actuarial Society of South Africa 2020
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