Volatility Trading Strategies

Professor Menelaos Karanasos

Abstract

Volatility is essentially the risk aspect of the market. It is the perception of risk that is “securitized”in the time value component of an option premium. The volatility can be implied in the options price (which includes traders’expectations of future price movements) or be based upon the actual ‡fluctuations in the price of the asset which underlies the option. Traders buy or sell volatility as their perception of risk in the future changes.

The ideal way to trade volatility is to maximize the exposure to both kinds of volatility (actual and implied) and minimize the exposure to the other factors which influence option prices, such as small movements in the underlying market and if possible time decay. This is done by using the “Greeks” to assess the exposure the trading strategy has to all the variables which drive option prices. To bene t from a change in actual volatility of the market, the trader will want to establish a gamma positive or negative position. To benefit from a change in implied volatility, the trader will focus on her kappa (vega) exposures. For the other derivatives such as delta, theta, and rho, she will try to minimize her exposure to these Greeks by driving their level to zero.

By doing so, the trader can focus her viewpoint on volatility alone. When one is completely neutral to the underlying market and is just trading volatility, it is termed pure volatility trading. In addition to pure volatility trading one can establish trading strategies that are initially neutral to the underlying market but can become an equivalent long or short position as the underlying market price moves to a particular level. These trades are usually called leaning volatility trades.


Professor Menelaos Karanasos' complete article can be found here.

Disclosure

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Carefully consider the Strategy’s investment objectives, risk factors, charges and expenses before investing. This Strategy is actively managed and there is no guarantee investments selected and strategies employed will achieve the intended results. Strategy is subject to change. Active management may also increase transaction costs. The Strategy is not diversified, and narrowly focused investments may be subject to higher risk.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. This information has been provided by Invest In Vol. All material presented is compiled from sources believed to be reliable and current, but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This is not to be construed as an o er to buy or sell any financial instruments and should not be relied upon as the sole factor in an investment-making decision. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations to purchase or sell such securities. The views and opinions expressed are those of the portfolio manager at the time of publication and are subject to change. There is no guarantee that these views will come to pass. As with all investments there are associated inherent risks. Please obtain and review all financial material carefully before investing.


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