Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Volatility Views

Volatility Views is the premier radio program for volatility traders. From interviews with leading industry guests to detailed analysis of volatility products, this program takes you inside the world of volatility trading like never before. If you are an experienced options trader looking to expand your understanding of volatility, or if you are simply curious about VIX and other volatility products, then this is the program for you.

Dec 17, 2012

Volatility Views 73: Once More unto the Black Swan Breach

Volatility Review: NASDAQ vol hits 13.08. Apple, despite its tremendous movement, is having little effect on NASDAQ volatility. S&P realized vol versus implied vol.

Listener Mail: Back to Black Swans.

  • Comment from Asymmetric Risk: According to Don, Nassim will lose money over the long run because the out of the money options he buys have a higher implied volatility than the close to the money options he sells. Since he is paying a spread, Don thinks this is a bad strategy. Far be it for me to disagree with Don, but speaking for Nassim (and I feel confident speaking for Nassim because I've had dozens of conversations with him on this exact topic) Nassim would agree he is paying a spread but the spread between ATM and OTM options is systemically underpriced. Nassim's strategy is based on his belief that asset prices are not normally distributed -- the bell is flatter and the tails are fatter. So options markets overprice one standard deviation risk ("I always sell ATM straddles") and underprice two standard deviation risk (Black Swans). Your critique of him is misplaced because you're focusing on 5- and 10-sigma events which are not required for his strategy to work. He ran a large option book at a major investment bank and was profitable on a monthly basis.
  • Tweet from Don M.: Shouldn't Nassim be a net buyer of tail puts if he feels tail risk is underpriced? If he sells ATM, does he buy OTM on a ratio? Make no sense to me.
  • Email from Tim Vicks, Fredericksburg, VA:  Let me see if I have this straight: Black Swans are extreme outlier events that are unpredictable, yet so catastrophic as to alter the course of human events. But the way to prepare for these events is to sell premium? What am I missing?

The Crystal Ball: Sebastian foresees a massive spike in realized vol with little to no spike in implied vol. Is it time to own gamma and be short vega? Still waiting for some news out of Washington.