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Concept# Option (finance)

Summary

In finance, an option is a contract which conveys to its owner, the holder, the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specific quantity of an underlying asset or instrument at a specified strike price on or before a specified date, depending on the style of the option. Options are typically acquired by purchase, as a form of compensation, or as part of a complex financial transaction. Thus, they are also a form of asset and have a valuation that may depend on a complex relationship between underlying asset price, time until expiration, market volatility, the risk-free rate of interest, and the strike price of the option. Options may be traded between private parties in over-the-counter (OTC) transactions, or they may be exchange-traded in live, public markets in the form of standardized contracts.
Definition and application
An option is a contract that allows the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset or financial instrument at a specified strike price

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Participants of this course will master computational techniques frequently used in mathematical finance applications. Emphasis will be put on the implementation and practical aspects.

The objective of this course is to provide a detailed coverage of the standard models for the valuation and hedging of derivatives products such as European options, American options, forward contracts, futures contract and exotic options.

The course applies finance tools and concepts to the world of venture capital and financing of projects in high-growth industries. Students are introduced to all institutional aspects of the venture capital industry. Students analyze various aspects of VC finance using an investors' perspective.

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Options are some of the most traded financial instruments and computing their price is a central task in financial mathematics and in practice. Consequently, the development of numerical algorithms for pricing options is an active field of research. In general, evaluating the price of a specific option relies on the properties of the stochastic model used for the underlying asset price. In this thesis we develop efficient and accurate numerical methods for option pricing in a specific class of models: polynomial models. They are a versatile tool for financial modeling and have useful properties that can be exploited for option pricing.
Significant challenges arise when developing option pricing techniques. For instance, the underlying model might have a high-dimensional parameter space. Furthermore, treating multi-asset options yields high-dimensional pricing problems. Therefore, the pricing method should be able to handle high dimensionality. Another important aspect is the efficiency of the algorithm: in real-world applications, option prices need to be delivered within short periods of time, making the algorithmic complexity a potential bottleneck. In this thesis, we address these challenges by developing option pricing techniques that are able to handle low and high-dimensional problems, and we propose complexity reduction techniques.
The thesis consists of four parts:
First, we present a methodology for European and American option pricing. The method uses the moments of the underlying price process to produce monotone sequences of lower and upper bounds of the option price. The bounds are obtained by solving a sequence of polynomial optimization problems. As the order of the moments increases, the bounds become sharper and eventually converge to the exact price under appropriate assumptions.
Second, we develop a fast algorithm for the incremental computation of nested block triangular matrix exponentials. This algorithm allows for an efficient incremental computation of the moment sequence of polynomial jump-diffusions. In other words, moments of order 0, 1, 2, 3... are computed sequentially until a dynamically evaluated criterion tells us to stop. The algorithm is based on the scaling and squaring technique and reduces the complexity of the pricing algorithms that require such an incremental moment computation.
Third, we develop a complexity reduction technique for high-dimensional option pricing. To this end, we first consider the option price as a function of model and payoff parameters. Then, the tensorized Chebyshev interpolation is used on the parameter space to increase the efficiency in computing option prices, while maintaining the required accuracy. The high dimensionality of the problem is treated by expressing the tensorized interpolation in the tensor train format and by deriving an efficient way, which is based on tensor completion, to approximate the interpolation coefficients.
Lastly, we propose a methodology for pricing single and multi-asset European options. The approach is a combination of Monte Carlo simulation and function approximation. We address the memory limitations that arise when treating very high-dimensional applications by combining the method with optimal sampling strategies and using a randomized algorithm to reduce the storage complexity of the approach.
The obtained numerical results show the effectiveness of the algorithms developed in this thesis.

In the first chapter,which is a joint work with Mathieu Cambou and Philippe H.A. Charmoy, we study the distribution of the hedging errors of a European call option for the delta and variance-minimizing strategies. Considering the setting proposed by Heston (1993), we assess the error distribution by computing its moments under the real-world probability measure. It turns out that one is better off implementing either a delta hedging or a variance-minimizing strategy, depending on the strike and maturity of the option under consideration. In the second paper, which is a joint work with Damir Filipovic and Loriano Mancini, we develop a practicable continuous-time dynamic arbitrage-free model for the pricing of European contingent claims. Using the framework introduced by Carmona and Nadtochiy (2011, 2012), the stock price is modeled as a semi-martingale process and, at each time t , the marginal distribution of the European option prices is coded by an auxiliary process that starts at t and follows an exponential additive process. The jump intensity that characterizes these auxiliary processes is then set in motion by means of stochastic dynamics of Itô's type. The model is a modification of the one proposed by Carmona and Nadtochiy, as only finitely many jump sizes are assumed. This crucial assumption implies that the jump intensities are taken values in only a finitedimensional space. In this setup, explicit necessary and sufficient consistency conditions that guarantee the absence of arbitrage are provided. A practicable dynamic model verifying them is proposed and estimated, using options on the S&P 500. Finally, the hedging of variance swap contracts is considered. It is shown that under certain conditions, a variance-minimizing hedging portfolio gives lower hedging errors on average, compared to a model-free hedging strategy. In the third and last chapter, which is a joint work with Rémy Praz, we concentrate on the commodity markets and try to understand the impact of financiers on the hedging decisions. We look at the changes in the spot price, variance, production and hedging choices of both producers and financiers, when the mass of financiers in the economy increases. We develop an equilibrium model of commodity spot and futures markets in which commodity production, consumption, and speculation are endogenously determined. Financiers facilitate hedging by the commodity suppliers. The entry of new financiers thus increases the supply of the commodity and decreases the expected spot prices, to the benefits of the end-users. However, this entry may be detrimental to the producers, as they do not internalize the price reduction due to greater aggregate supply. In the presence of asymmetric information, speculation on the futures market serves as a learning device. The futures price and open interest reveal different pieces of private information regarding the supply and demand side of the spot market, respectively. When the accuracy of private information is low, the entry of new financiers makes both production and spot prices more volatile. The entry of new financiers typically increases the correlation between financial and commodity markets.

This thesis develops equilibrium models, and studies the effects of market frictions on risk-sharing, derivatives pricing, and trading patterns.
In the chapter titled "Imbalance-Based Option Pricing", I develop an equilibrium model of fragmented options markets in which option prices and bid-ask spreads are determined by the nonlinear risk imbalance between dealers and customers. In my model, dealers optimally exploit their market power and charge higher spreads for deep out-of-the-money (OTM) options, leading to an endogenous skew in both prices and spreads. In stark contrast to theories of price pressure in option markets, I show how wealth effects can make customers' net demand for options be negatively correlated with option prices. Under natural conditions, the skewness risk premium is positively correlated with the variance risk premium, consistent with the data.
In the chapter titled "The Demand for Commodity Options", we develop a simple equilibrium model in which commercial hedgers, i.e., producers and consumers, use commodity options and futures to hedge price and quantity risk. We derive an explicit relationship between expected futures returns and the hedgers' demand for out-of-the-money options, and show that the demand for both calls and puts are positively related to expected returns, and the relationship is asymmetric, tilted towards puts. We test and confirm the model predictions empirically using the commitment of traders report from CFTC.
In the chapter titled "Electronic Trading in OTC Markets vs. Centralized Exchange", we model a two-tiered market structure in which an investor can trade an asset on a trading platform with a set of dealers who in turn have access to an interdealer market. The investor's order is informative about the asset's payoff and dealers who were contacted by the investor use this information in the interdealer market. Increasing the number of contacted dealers lowers markups through competition but increases the dealers' costs of providing the asset through information leakage. We then compare a centralized market in which investors can trade among themselves in a central limit order book to a market in which investors have to use the electronic platform to trade the asset. With imperfect competition among dealers, investor welfare is higher in the centralized market if private values are strongly dispersed or if the mass of investors is large.

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