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Volatility Indexes seem to point to the Past

Schroeder, Gerhard (2009): Volatility Indexes seem to point to the Past.

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Abstract

In theory, by institutional trading options (wholesale), professional market participants asses and set future volatilities that can be identified for the retail using the Black-Scholes-formula in reverse. In reality, as regression analysis suggests, it is historical market data which instead are used to determine future values. Further analysis shows that historical volatilities are insufficient predictors. Yet this questionable practice is considered by international accounting standards (IAS 39/IFRS) to allow "historical data and implied volatilities" for "reasonable estimations". In a kind of short-circuit, historical volatilities are introduced into option trading and returned as implied volatility-indexes. In reality, both differ significantly from future values. Comparing the volatility of the past nine weeks with that of the following nine weeks, estimation error ranges from four to over ten percentage points.

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