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EDHEC research paper reveals benefits of diversifying equity portfolios with volatility derivatives

Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Following the collapse of worldwide equity markets in 2008, and the subsequent rally in long positions in equity volatility, interest has grown in the possible use of equity volatility derivatives as diversifiers for traditional and alternative portfolios. In a new publication entitled “The Benefits of Volatility Derivatives in Equity Portfolio Management,” produced with the support of Eurex Exchange, EDHEC-Risk researchers show how volatility derivatives can be used to optimise access to the equity risk premium in a controlled volatility risk environment, and to engineer equity portfolios with attractive downside-risk properties.

The key findings of the research are as follows:

  • A long volatility position shows a strongly negative correlation with respect to the underlying equity portfolio and adding a long volatility exposure to an equity portfolio results in a substantial improvement of the risk-adjusted performance of the portfolio.
  • The benefits of the long volatility exposure are found to be the strongest in market downturns, where they are needed the most.
  • The benefits of adding volatility exposure to equity portfolios are also found to be robust with respect to the introduction of trading costs associated with rolling over volatility derivatives contracts.

Noël Amenc, Director of EDHEC-Risk Institute, said, “This research proposes a novel approach to the design of attractive equity solutions with managed volatility, based on mixing a well-diversified equity portfolio with volatility derivatives, as opposed to minimising equity volatility through minimum variance approaches, and shows that trading in volatility index futures or options can provide access to the equity risk premium while allowing for explicit management of the volatility risk budget.”

Michael Peters, member of the Eurex Executive Board, said, “As a longstanding partner of EDHEC-Risk Institute’s research, we regard academic research and education as one major element of our business strategy. This cutting-edge academic research on optimal approaches to investing in volatility proves the potential usefulness of trading volatility futures and options in an equity portfolio management context. My expectation is that the study will be welcomed by the international investment management community.”

A copy of “The Benefits of Volatility Derivatives in Equity Portfolio Management” can be downloaded here: Source

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