Structured Products and the Mischief of Self-Indexing
In recent years, investment banks have issued structured products linked to indexes they create rather than just linking to standardized indexes from Standard & Poor's. In doing so, the issuers create additional difficulties for retail investors to understand these, sometimes complex, investments. We illustrate the potential conflicts of interest created with structured products linked to proprietary volatility indexes although the conflicts are present in other proprietary index based...
Ex-post Structured Product Returns: Index Methodology and Analysis
The academic and practitioner literature now includes numerous studies of the substantial issue date mispricing of structured products but there is no large scale study of the ex-post
returns earned by structured product investors. This paper augments the current literature by analyzing the ex-post returns of nearly 18,000 individual structured products issued by
13 brokerage firms since 2007. We construct our structured product index and sub-indices for reverse convertibles,...
Efficient Valuation of Equity-Indexed Annuities Under Lévy Processes Using Fourier-Cosine Series
Equity-Indexed Annuities (EIAs) are deferred annuities which accumulate value over time according to crediting formulas and realized equity index returns. We propose an efficient algorithm to value two popular crediting formulas found in EIAs - Annual Point-to-Point (APP) and Monthly Point-to-Point (MPP) - under general Lévy-process based index returns. APP contracts observe returns of referenced indexes annually and credit EIA accounts, subject to
minimum and maximum returns. MPP contracts...
Valuation of Structured Products
The market for structured products has grown dramatically in the past decade. Their
diversity and complexity has led to the development of many different valuation approaches,
and which approach to use to value a given product is not always clear. In this paper
we demonstrate and discuss four approaches to valuing structured products: simulation of
the linked financial instrument's future values, numerical integration, decomposition, and
partial differential equation approaches. As an...
Crooked Volatility Smiles: Evidence from Leveraged and Inverse ETF Options
We find that leverage in exchange traded funds (ETFs) can affect the "crookedness" of
volatility smiles. This observation is consistent with the intuition that return shocks are
inversely correlated with volatility shocks - resulting in more expensive out-of-the-money
put options and less expensive out-of-the-money call options. We show that the prices of
options on leveraged and inverse ETFs can be used to better calibrate models of stochastic
volatility. In particular, we study a...
Valuation of Reverse Convertibles in the VG Economy
Prior research on structured products has demonstrated that equity-linked notes sold to retail investors in initial public offerings are typically issued at above their
fair market value. A particular type of equity-linked note reverse convertibles embed down-and-in put options and other investors relatively high coupon payments
in exchange for bearing some of the downside risk of the equity underlying the note.
We analytically study the magnitude of the overpricing of reverse...
Modeling a Risk-Based Criterion for a Portfolio with Options
The presence of options in a portfolio fundamentally alters the portfolio's risk and return profiles when compared to an all equity portfolio. In this paper, we advocate modeling a
risk-based criterion for optioned portfolio selection and rebalancing problems. The criterion
is inspired by Chicago Mercantile Exchange's risk-based margining system which sets the
collateralization requirements on margin accounts. The margin criterion computes the losses
expected at the portfolio level using...
Robust Portfolio Optimization with VaR Adjusted Sharpe Ratio
We propose a robust portfolio optimization approach based on Value-at-Risk (VaR) adjusted Sharpe ratios. Traditional Sharpe ratio estimates using a limited series of historical returns are subject to estimation errors. Portfolio optimization based on traditional Sharpe ratios ignores this uncertainty and, as a result, is not robust. In this paper, we propose a robust portfolio optimization model that selects the portfolio with the largest worse-case-scenario Sharpe ratio within a given...
Structured Product Based Variable Annuities
Recently, a new type of variable annuity has been marketed to investors which is based on structured product-like investments instead of the mutual fund-like investments found in traditional variable annuities. Embedding a structured product into a variable annuity introduces substantial complexity into an investment typically considered conservative. In this paper, we describe structured product based variable annuity (spVA) crediting formulas and how they differ from traditional VAs, value...