Category archives for Trading Strategies

Historical performance lies! Beware of survivor bias.

Often you find studies how well a specific fund or trading strategy has performed. You must be aware of the fact that basically all studies based on historical data lie – or at least do not tell the full story. There are two highly underestimated effects: Survivor bias and fat tails. Both effects make poor […]

Early Exercise: Curse or Blessing

Many financial contracts come with the right of exercising a right prematurely. Such early exercise rights are a clear advantage for the option holder. But, these rights create optimal stopping problems for the contract parties. Is this really an advantage? In the following, I will show you a little example from my last shopping trip and […]

What is Historical Volatility and Why Do We Need Implied Volatilities?

Chart of VDAX and DAX volatility

Looking at financial instruments, one often finds the term implied volatility. In this post, we want to describe what it is and what you can do with it. We start refreshing the term historical volatility and then we explain the implied volatility. An example of German DAX with real data concludes this post. Historical Volatility […]

What is Model Risk and What Can I Do About it?

Falling Tower of Bricks

Model risk is the risk that the market models in investment banking do not properly reflect the reality. This risk is often neglected or simply ignored. But, it is one of the most important risks as we could see in the mispricing of CDO, ABS, MBS etc at the beginning of the financial crisis (early […]

Feedback: What is the Effect of Hedging Options on the Underlying?

Plot from Theta Suite Result Explorer

More and more investors insist on guarantees on the investments. Theses investments are often created using options or dynamic strategies like CPPI. Recently, these strategies were made available in secularized form: Leveraged Exchange Traded Funds   (LETF) and Exchange Traded Notes (ETN). Also, life insurance instruments often include guarantees on funds like Variable Annuities. In this […]

The Easiest Back-Testing of Trading Strategies: MS Excel Pivot Table!

MS Excel Pivot Table in Backtesting of a Trading Strategy

Before using specialized tools for back-testing I propose that one tries the MS Excel Pivot Table first. The pivot table tool is great for inspection, filtering and analyzing large data sets. In this article, I will present how to create a simple timing-based strategy and how to compute its historical performance.

Sell in May and Go Away But Remember to Come Back in September. Really?

Sell in May and go away is an old wisdom which is interesting to analyze. And the continuation “Remember to come back in September” completes this wisdom to a real trading strategy. This strategy is quite old. Many sources say that the original saying comes from traders in the City of London and was “Sell in May […]

What is the Difference Between Risk-Neutral Valuation and Real-World Valuation?

Open door to new life

In option pricing, two technical terms often create confusion. One term is “risk-neutral” and the other “real-word”. You hear these terms in the context of option pricing, backtesting, risk management and hedging. In this article I try to clarify the terminology. Background First, we start with “risk-neutral”. The term risk-neutral refers to option pricing: The […]

What would be the effect of the proposed transaction tax on Life Insurance Guarantees?

Under the current stress of the financial crisis, governments all over Europe discuss the introduction of a transaction tax for financial instruments. Especially, the German and French government propose a 0.1% tax on every equity trade and 0.01% tax on derivative instruments. This does not sound large, but what would happen to guarantees of life insurances, e.g. […]

What happens to Portfolio Protection (esp. CPPI) under Transaction Costs and Financial Transaction Tax?

One of the most popular portfolio protection trading strategies is the Constant Proportion Portfolio Insurance (CPPI). This strategy maximizes the exposure in stock at each rebalancing time while  ensuring that the portfolio level never drops under the so-called floor. Modeling Financial Transaction Tax The currently proposed financial transaction tax is nothing else than a proportional […]

How can I optimize my quantitative trading strategy, e.g. MACD signal?

In the previous post, we saw how to backtest a quantitative trading strategy. The result was, that we suspected that we should be able to find better constants for the MACD trading signal strategy. Now, we will use Matlab and Theta Suite in order to create an efficient optimization. Furthermore, we create a simple visualization […]

How can I backtest my quantitative trading strategy, e.g. MACD signal?

Many popular quantitative trading strategies are public for quite a while. Now, if you like to utilize such a strategy with real money, you must make sure that your strategy performs well. For simple strategies, MS Excel is perfect for this task. But, since we would like to use an optimization and a specific visualization […]