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Risk aversion and the dynamics of optimal liquidation strategies in illiquid markets

Schied, Alexander and Schoeneborn, Torsten (2008): Risk aversion and the dynamics of optimal liquidation strategies in illiquid markets.

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Abstract

We consider the infinite-horizon optimal portfolio liquidation problem for a von Neumann-Morgenstern investor in the liquidity model of Almgren (2003). Using a stochastic control approach, we characterize the value function and the optimal strategy as classical solutions of nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations. We furthermore analyze the sensitivities of the value function and the optimal strategy with respect to the various model parameters. In particular, we find that the optimal strategy is aggressive or passive in-the-money, respectively, if and only if the utility function displays increasing or decreasing risk aversion. Surprisingly, only few further monotonicity relations exist with respect to the other parameters. We point out in particular that the speed by which the remaining asset position is sold can be decreasing in the size of the position but increasing in the liquidity price impact.

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