The hedge that carries positively but delivers convex returns during a market panic is about as elusive as our lawmakers coming together in bipartisan fashion. As head of option strategies at AQR, Roni Israelov not only confirmed this but saw in the empirical data distinctly unpromising results for hedging strategies that utilized put options.
Trained with a PhD in Financial Economics from Carnegie Mellon, Roni has spent his career researching complex topics in markets. We explore his paper “Pathetic Protection” and the challenges that arise from paying option premium to reduce risk. Roni sites the path dependency of options as introducing sometimes significant variability in the effectiveness of a program. He also sites the equity risk premium and the vol risk premium as headwinds for success.
Our conversation shifts to another interesting topic, “rebalance timing luck”, work that Roni has done in collaboration with Newfound Research. The finding - that the performance of mechanically rebalanced strategies – can rest heavily on the date of rebalance, is especially the case for option strategies like the giant put spread collar on the SPX that is rolled each quarter.
Roni is now the President and CIO of NDVR, a firm providing optimized portfolio solutions to individuals, using academic research, technology and tax efficiency. I hope you enjoy this episode of the Alpha Exchange, my conversation with Roni Israelov.