19 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2011 Last revised: 23 Aug 2011
Date Written: July 26, 2011
Dollar cost averaging (DCA) is a widely employed investment strategy in financial markets. At the same time it is also well documented that such gradual policy is sub-optimal from the point of view of risk averse decision makers with a fixed investment horizon T > 0. However, an explicit strategy that would be preferred by all risk averse decision makers did not yet appear in the literature.
In this paper we give a novel proof for the sub-optimality of DCA when (log) returns are governed by Lévy processes and we construct a dominating strategy explicitly. The optimal strategy we propose is static and consists in purchasing a suitable portfolio of path - independent options.
Next, we discuss a market governed by a Brownian motion in more detail. We show that the dominating strategy amounts to setting up a portfolio of power options. We provide evidence that the relative performance of DCA becomes worse in volatile markets, but also give some motivation to support its use. We also analyze DCA in presence of a minimal guarantee, explore the continuous setting and discuss the (non) uniqueness of the dominating strategy.
Keywords: lévy process, minimal guarantee, Jensen's inequality, Brownian Bridge, hedging, Esscher transform
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Vanduffel, Steven and Ahcan, Ales and Henrard, Luc and Maj, Mateusz, An Explicit Option - Based Strategy that Outperforms Dollar Cost Averaging (July 26, 2011). International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1895344