Tag Archives: IFM2

Advanced methods in trees

I will give a talk tomorrow morning at the Mathematical  Finance Days, organized in HEC Montréal Monday and Tuesday, on Advanced methods in trees with (as mentioned in the subtitle of the first slide) a some thoughts on teaching mathematical finance. It is mainly a survey on advanced tools, based on the idea expressed in Price (1996),

The paper that showed that European option pricing could be put on a rational mathematical basis was Black and Scholes published in 1973. It was so revolutionary that the authors had to submit it to a number of journals before it was accepted. Although there are now numerous approaches to the result, they mostly require specialized methods, including Ito calculus and partial differential  equations, and perhaps Girsanov theory and Feynman-Kac methods. But it is the binomial method due initially to Sharpe and substantially extended by Cox, Ross, and Rubinstein that made the theory of option pricing accessible to everyone with limited mathematical background.  Even though it requires only routine algebraic manipulations, the method is still able to elucidate many of the ideas behind the full theory. Furthermore, all the surprising results mentioned in the opening can be located in this approach. For these reasons it is usually the first method presented in text books and finance courses; we shall follow this trend and step through it. The binomial method is, however, much more than a pedagogical breakthrough, since it allows for the development of numerical approximation methods for a wide range of options for which there are no  known analytic solutions.

Some recent results, obtained in work in progress with colleagues in combinatorial analysis will also be mentioned at the end of the talk (slides can be downloaded in a pdf format, with animations)

I will also be chairing the Numerical Methods session.

Crash course on R for financial and actuarial econometrics

Next Friday, I will give in Montréal a crash course entitled Econometric Modeling in Finance and Insurance with the R Language. Since IFM2 wanted this course to be an opportunity to discover R, the first part o fthe course will be on the R language. Slides can be downloaded from here.

(since the course is still scheduled, all comments and remarks are welcomed)

Econometric Modeling in Finance and Insurance with the R language

On February 15th, IFM2, the Institute of Financial Mathematics in Montréal will organize an (one day) Executive workshop on Econometric Modeling in Finance and Insurance with the R language. The event is not yet mentioned in the calendar, but the syllabus can be downloaded here. Additional details (slides and R code) will be available soon, on this blog. In the morning, it will be an introduction to the R langage, and in the afternoon, we will focus on applications,

  • Principal components analysis and application to yield curves
  • Regression tree, logistic regression and application to credit scoring
  • Poisson regression and applications to claims reserving (IBNR) and projected mortality tables (LifeMetrics)

Correlations, dimension, and risk measure

Yesterday, while I was attending the IFM2 conference, at HEC Montreal, I heard a nice talk about credit risk, and a comparison between contagion (or at least default correlation), for corporate and retail companies (in the US). And it was mentioned that default correlation was much lower for retail companies than it could be for corporate risk. In a discussion that followed those slides, it was mentioned that banks in the US should actually have been working more with those small firms, since contagion risk was much lower.

A problem here is that the link between correlation, risk and dimension is rather complicated:

  • corporate means a small number of firms, high correlation (and possible large individual losses)
  • retail means a large number of firms (even perhaps extremely large), lower correlation (and small individual losses)

A simple model for default models is based on the assumption that we deal with an exchangeable portfolio (as in a previous post). With the following code, given an (individual) default probability, a default correlation, and a number of firms, it is possible to calculate the probability to have more than a given number of defaults.

 stop.on.error =  FALSE)$value}

a=m*(1-r)/r ;
 for(i in 0:n){
 return(sum(V[1:(x+1)])) }

It is possible to calculate, for a large range of correlations, the probability to have – at least – 20% of default in the portfolio (in order to compare things that are comparable).

for(i in 1:length(A)){

With 20 firms (corporate) we want to have at least 4 defaults, while with 1000 firms (retail) there should be 200 defaults. As mentioned in the previous post, the relationship between correlation and quantiles of sums is not simple. Hence, it might not be monotone. The dotted line is the probability to have at least 4 defaults when default correlation is 50% (around 10%). The plain line is the probability to have at least 200 defaults, as a function of the correlation,


In that case, with only a correlation of 10% among retail firms, the probability of having 20% defaults is the same as the same probability for corporate, but with 50% correlation… One should remember that in portfolio analysis, the links between correlation, dimension and risk measure is a sensitive issue…