Thursday, 22 March 2012

More option risk management changes

I have acquired a relatively simple option calculator spreadsheet and have been making a number of "enhancements" to it. It was originally designed for US stock options, but can be altered into something that can just about cope with UK equity indices or commodity options. The over-riding aim has been to produce something that would allow relatively quick calculation of the current delta equivalency of a portfolio of options, together with an estimate of where certain other delta equivalency points would be. For instance, that from a sold strangle, in a falling market, current delta equivalency is +8.5 while +10, +15, +20, +25 and so on are at index levels a, b, c, d . . .

Then our day's routine would be one of initally calibrating the day's opening prices, say at 8:15am, calculating current delta equivalency and then adjusting some already-existing hedging trades for when delta equivalency has reached a point of intolerable pain (yet to be defined adequately).

So far, the spreadsheet seems up to the task and generates some rather nice charts of the option greeks over time, and has an analysis page which seems to give the delta points. I have been using the spreadsheet to experiment with my crude oil options hedging overlay idea and am nearly ready to action a first trade in CL. Given our past history of trading crude, there is some trepidation involved in this, but I think the boost to various important stats is worth dipping our toe in the water for.

The main question concerns "regime switches" which for us means a huge jump in implied volatility, usually associated with sharp drops in equity markets. Despite the papers running their usual views that "markets remains volatile" actually they are not at all at the moment - quite the opposite, they are extremely becalmed. So our option trading is quite short term with positions going out about 5 weeks at max at the moment. When vol does rise again, we don't want to hold long dated positions, but instead be able to manage a position with not much time to expiry and then quickly into a new cycle of options which we can sell for vol-enhanced premia. A challenging idea about which I do remain somewhat concerned, yet I hope I am not tested on this too soon.

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