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Publication# Linear Stochastic Dividend Model

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a new model for pricing stock and dividend derivatives. We jointly specify dynamics for the stock price and the dividend rate such that the stock price is positive and the dividend rate nonnegative. In its simplest form, the model features a dividend rate that is mean-reverting around a constant fraction of the stock price. The advantage of directly specifying dynamics for the dividend rate, as opposed to the more common approach of modeling the dividend yield, is that it is easier to keep the distribution of cumulative dividends tractable. The model is nonaffine but does belong to the more general class of polynomial processes, which allows us to compute all conditional moments of the stock price and the cumulative dividends explicitly. In particular, we have closed-form expressions for the prices of stock and dividend futures. Prices of stock and dividend options are accurately approximated using a moment matching technique based on the principle of maximal entropy.

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This thesis studies the valuation and hedging of financial derivatives, which is fundamental for trading and risk-management operations in financial institutions. The three chapters in this thesis deal with derivatives whose payoffs are linked to interest rates, equity prices, and dividend payments.
The first chapter introduces a flexible framework based on polynomial jump-diffusions (PJD) to jointly price the term structures of dividends and interest rates. Prices for dividend futures, bonds, and the dividend paying stock are given in closed form. Option prices are approximated efficiently using a moment matching technique based on the principle of maximum entropy. An extensive calibration exercise shows that a parsimonious model specification has a good fit with Euribor interest rate swaps and swaptions, Euro Stoxx 50 index dividend futures and dividend options, and Euro Stoxx 50 index options.
The second chapter revisits the problem of pricing a continuously sampled arithmetic Asian option in the classical Black-Scholes setting. An identity in law links the integrated stock price to a one-dimensional polynomial diffusion, a particular instance of the PJD encountered in the first chapter. The Asian option price is approximated by a series expansion based on polynomials that are orthogonal with respect to the log-normal distribution. All terms in the series are fully explicit and no numerical integration nor any special functions are involved. The moment indeterminacy of the log-normal distribution introduces an asymptotic bias in the series, however numerical experiments show that the bias can safely be ignored in practice.
The last chapter presents a non-parametric method to construct a maximally smooth discount curve from observed market prices of linear interest rate products such as swaps, forward rate agreements, or coupon bonds. The discount curve is given in closed form and only requires basic linear algebra operations. The method is illustrated with several practical examples.

This thesis presents new flexible dynamic stochastic models for the evolution of market prices and new methods for the valuation of derivatives. These models and methods build on the recently characterized class of polynomial jump-diffusion processes for which the conditional moments are analytic. The first half of this thesis is concerned with modelling the fluctuations in the volatility of stock prices, and with the valuation of options on the stock. A new stochastic volatility model for which the squared volatility follows a Jacobi process is presented in the first chapter. The stock price volatility is allowed to continuously fluctuate between a lower and an upper bound, and option prices have closed-form series representations when their payoff functions depend on the stock price at finitely many dates. Truncating these series at some finite order entails accurate option price approximations. This method builds on the series expansion of the ratio between the log price density and an auxiliary density, with respect to an orthonormal basis of polynomials in a weighted Lebesgue space. When the payoff functions can be similarly expanded, the method is particularly efficient computationally. In the second chapter, more flexible choices of weighted spaces are studied in order to obtain new series representations for option prices with faster convergence rates. The option price approximation method can then be applied to various stochastic volatility models. The second half of this thesis is concerned with modelling the default times of firms, and with the pricing of credit risk securities. A new class of credit risk models in which the firm default probability is linear in the factors is presented in the third chapter. The prices of defaultable bonds and credit default swaps have explicit linear-rational expressions in the factors. A polynomial model with compact support and bounded default intensities is developed. This property is exploited to approximate credit derivatives prices by interpolating their payoff functions with polynomials. In the fourth chapter, the joint term structure of default probabilities is flexibly modelled using factor copulas. A generic static framework is developed in which the prices of high dimensional and complex credit securities can be efficiently and exactly computed. Dynamic credit risk models with significant default dependence can in turn be constructed by combining polynomial factor copulas and linear credit risk models.