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Leif Doering, Blanka Nora Horvath, Josef Teichmann

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48
JournalInternational Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance
Issue number3
Early online date7 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Mar 2017


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The stochastic alpha, beta, rho (SABR) model is a benchmark stochastic volatility model in interest rate markets, which has received much attention in the past decade. Its popularity arose from a tractable asymptotic expansion for implied volatility, derived by heat kernel methods. As markets moved to historically low rates, this expansion appeared to yield inconsistent prices. Since the model is deeply embedded in the markets, alternative pricing methods for SABR have been addressed in numerous approaches in recent years. All standard option pricing methods make certain regularity assumptions on the underlying model, but for SABR, these are rarely satisfied. We examine here regularity properties of the model from this perspective with a view to a number of (asymptotic and numerical) option pricing methods. In particular, we highlight delicate degeneracies of the SABR model (and related processes) at the origin, which deem the currently used popular heat kernel methods and all related methods from (sub-) Riemannian geometry ill-suited for SABR-type processes, when interest rates are near zero. We describe a more general semigroup framework, which permits to derive a suitable geometry for SABR-type processes (in certain parameter regimes) via symmetric Dirichlet forms. Furthermore, we derive regularity properties (Feller properties and strong continuity properties) necessary for the applicability of popular numerical schemes to SABR-semigroups and identify suitable Banach and Hilbert spaces for these. Finally, we comment on the short-time and large time asymptotic behavior of SABR-type processes beyond the heat-kernel framework.

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