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The Benefits of Volatility Derivatives in Equity Portfolio Management

The focus of this paper is to provide a formal analysis of the benefits of volatility derivatives in equity portfolio management from the perspective of a European investor. Its main contribution is to compare the risk/return characteristic of equity portfolios combined with long volatility exposure to those of a GMV equity portfolio – the conventional approach to managing equity volatility. This paper is in fact the first to provide an explicit comparison of managed volatility strategies based on GMV portfolios and managed volatility strategies based on volatility derivatives. The results unambiguously suggest that the latter approach is a more efficient way to manage equity volatility, especially in market downturns periods.