DOI: 10.5176/2251-2012_QQE13.32

Authors: Pascal Gantenbein, Andreas Rehrauer


This article examines the feasibility of using volatility as an asset class to diversify equity portfolios. Especially xchange-traded volatility products targeted at retail investors
promise convenient but effective equity hedging. This study looks under the surface of these seemingly simple products, and backtests them in extensive portfolio diversification studies. We apply a wide range of test settings, including different volatility weights, product maturities, time periods, rebalancing patterns, and dynamic allocation strategies while adopting the perspective of U.S. equity investors over the volatile period from 2006 to
2011. We find that volatility exposures of up to 10{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465}, implemented through mid-term volatility products or with a straightforward dynamic allocation strategy based on detecting
trends in implied volatility, would have benefited equity portfolios in most scenarios.

Keywords: volatility, financial crisis, hedging with volatility, VIX, S&P 500, portfolio diversification, implied volatility

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