Conditional Analytic Monte-Carlo Pricing Scheme of Auto-Callable Products

28 Pages Posted: 5 May 2008 Last revised: 7 Apr 2010

Christian P. Fries

LMU Munich, Department of Mathematics; DZ Bank AG

Mark S. Joshi

University of Melbourne - Centre for Actuarial Studies

Date Written: April 27, 2008


In this paper we present a generic method for the Monte-Carlo pricing of (generalized) auto-callable products (aka. trigger products), i.e., products for which the payout function features a discontinuity with a (possibly) stochastic location (the trigger) and value (the payout).

The Monte-Carlo pricing of the products with discontinuous payout is known to come with a high Monte-Carlo error. The numerical calculation of sensitivities (i.e., partial derivatives) of such prices by finite differences gives very noisy results, since the Monte-Carlo approximation (being a finite sum of discontinuous functions) is not smooth.

Additionally, the Monte-Carlo error of the finite-difference approximation explodes as the shift size tends to zero.

Our method combines a product specific modification of the underlying numerical scheme, which is to some extent similar to an importance sampling and/or partial proxy simulation scheme and a reformulation of the payoff function into an equivalent smooth payout.

From the financial product we merely require that hitting of the stochastic trigger will result in an conditionally analytic value. Many complex derivatives can be written in this form. A class of products where this property is usually encountered are the so called auto-callables, where a trigger hit results in cancellation of all future payments except for one redemption payment, which can be valued analytically, conditionally on the trigger hit. From the model we require that its numerical implementation allows for a calculation of the transition probability of survival (i.e., non-trigger hit). Many models allows this, e.g., Euler schemes of Itô processes, where the trigger is a model primitive. The method presented is effective across a large range of cases where other methods fail, e.g. small finite difference shift sizes or short time to trigger reset (approaching maturity); this means that a practitioner can use this method and be confident that it will work consistently.

Keywords: Monte Carlo Simulation, Pricing, Greeks, Variance Reduction, Auto-Callable, Trigger Product, Target Redemption Note

JEL Classification: C15, G13

Suggested Citation

Fries, Christian P. and Joshi, Mark S., Conditional Analytic Monte-Carlo Pricing Scheme of Auto-Callable Products (April 27, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Christian P. Fries (Contact Author)

LMU Munich, Department of Mathematics ( email )

Theresienstrasse 39

DZ Bank AG ( email )

60265 Frankfurt am Main

Mark Joshi

University of Melbourne - Centre for Actuarial Studies ( email )

Melbourne, 3010

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