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TAIL RISK HEDGING: Creating Robust Portfolios for Volatile Markets

Book Description

"TAIL RISKS" originate from the failure of mean reversion and the idealized bell curve of asset returns, which assumes that highly probable outcomes occur near the center of the curve and that unlikely occurrences, good and bad, happen rarely, if at all, at either "tail" of the curve. Ever since the global financial crisis, protecting investments against these severe tail events has become a priority for investors and money managers, but it is something Vineer Bhansali and his team at PIMCO have been doing for over a decade. In one of the first comprehensive and rigorous books ever written on tail risk hedging, he lays out a systematic approach to protecting portfolios from, and potentially benefiting from, rare yet severe market outcomes.

Tail Risk Hedging is built on the author's practical experience applying macroeconomic forecasting and quantitative modeling techniques across asset markets. Using empirical data and charts, he explains the consequences of diversification failure in tail events and how to manage portfolios when this happens. He provides an easy-to-use, yet rigorous framework for protecting investment portfolios against tail risk and using tail hedging to play offense. Tail Risk Hedging explores how to:

  • Generate profits from volatility and illiquidity during tail-risk events in equity and credit markets
  • Buy attractively priced tail hedges that add value to a portfolio and quantify basis risk
  • Interpret the psychology of investors in option pricing and portfolio construction
  • Customize explicit hedges for retirement investments
  • Hedge risk factors such as duration risk and inflation risk

Managing tail risk is today's most significant development in risk management, and this thorough guide helps you access every aspect of it. With the time-tested and mathematically rigorous strategies described here, including pieces of computer code, you get access to insights to help mitigate portfolio losses in significant downturns, create explosive liquidity while unhedged participants are forced to sell, and create more aggressive yet tail-risk-focused portfolios. The book also gives you a unique, higher level view of how tail risk is related to investing in alternatives, and of derivatives such as zerocost collars and variance swaps. Volatility and tail risks are here to stay, and so should your clients' wealth when you use Tail Risk Hedging for managing portfolios.


"Managing, mitigating, and even exploiting the risk of bad times are the most important concerns in investments. Bhansali puts tail risk hedging and tail risk management under a microscope--pricing, implementation, and showing how we can fine-tune our risk exposures, which are all crucial ways in how we can better weather our bad times." -- ANDREW ANG, Ann F. Kaplan Professor of Business at Columbia University

"This book is critical and accessible reading for fiduciaries, financial consultants and investors interested in both theoretical foundations and practical considerations for how to frame hedging downside risk in portfolios. It is a tremendous resource for anyone involved in asset allocation today." -- CHRISTOPHER C. GECZY, Ph.D., Academic Director, Wharton Wealth Management Initiative and Adj. Associate Professor of Finance, The Wharton School

"Bhansali's book demonstrates how tail risk hedging can work, be concretely implemented, and lead to higher returns so that it is possible to have your cake and eat it too! A must read for the savvy investor." -- DIDIER SORNETTE, Professor on the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks, ETH Zurich

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Tail Risk Hedging: Creating Robust Portfolios for Volatile Markets
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Introduction
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. Chapter 1 Introduction to Tail Risk and Tail Risk Management
    1. Lessons Learned
    2. Distressed Liquidation and Failure of Diversification
  10. Chapter 2 Basics: Tail Risk Hedging for Defense
    1. Formal Derivation of Portfolio Hedges Using Factor Hedges
    2. Rolling Tail Hedges
    3. Benchmarking Tail Risk Management
    4. Cash Versus Explicit Tail Hedging
  11. Chapter 3 Offensive Tail Risk Hedging
    1. A Model to Compute the Value of Tail Hedging
    2. Model Calibration
  12. Chapter 4 Active Tail Risk Management
    1. Creating a Long History
    2. Active Monetization Rules
  13. Chapter 5 Indirect Hedging and Basis Risk
    1. Quantifying Basis Risk
    2. Hedge Matching at the Attachment Point
    3. “Soft” Indirects: Comparing Puts versus Put Spreads
    4. Basis Risk from Correlated Asset Classes
  14. Chapter 6 Other Tail Risk Management Strategies
    1. Tail Risk Hedging versus Asset Allocation in a Multimodal World
    2. The Hedging Value in Trends and Momentum
    3. A Look at the Risks and Rewards of Costless Collars
    4. Variance Swaps and Direct Volatility-Based Hedging
    5. Dynamic Hedging
  15. Chapter 7 A Behavioral Perspective on Tail Risk Hedging
    1. Narrow Framing and Tail Risk Hedging
    2. Pricing of Put Options on a Standalone Basis
    3. Multiple Equilibria and Expected Returns on Tail Hedges
    4. Precommitment and Procyclicality
  16. Chapter 8 Tail Risk Hedging for Retirement Investments
  17. Chapter 9 Inflation and Duration Tail Risk Hedging
    1. Hedging at the Money Inflation versus Inflation Tails
    2. Tail Hedging Realized Inflation versus Inflation Expectations
    3. Inflation Dynamics and Inflation Spikes
    4. Framework for Inflation Tail Hedging
    5. Benchmarking Inflation Tail Hedges
    6. Pricing of Inflation Options
    7. Options on CPI
    8. Options on the Breakeven Inflation Rate
    9. Indirect Inflation Tail Risk Hedging and Basis Risk
    10. Pricing of Tail Interest-Rate Swaptions
    11. Indirect Hedges
    12. Example of Gold Options as Proxy Tail Hedge
  18. Notes
  19. Bibliography
  20. Index