Scenario Analysis for Derivatives Portfolios via Dynamic Factor Models

43 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2019 Last revised: 22 Nov 2019

Date Written: November 21, 2019


A classic approach to financial risk management is the use of scenario analysis to stress test portfolios. In the case of an S&P 500 options portfolio, for example, a scenario analysis might report a P&L of −$1m in the event the S&P 500 falls 5% and its implied volatility surface increases by 3 percentage points. But how accurate is this reported value of −$1m? Such a number is typically computed under the (implicit) assumption that all other risk factors are set to zero. But this assumption is generally not justified as it ignores the often substantial statistical dependence among the risk factors. In particular, the expected values of the non-stressed factors conditional on the values of the stressed factors are generally non-zero. Moreover, even if the non-stressed factors were set to their conditional expected values rather than zero, the reported P&L might still be inaccurate due to convexity effects, particularly in the case of derivatives portfolios. A further weakness of this standard approach to scenario analysis is that the reported P&L numbers are generally not back-tested so their accuracy is not subjected to any statistical tests. There are many reasons for this but perhaps the main one is that scenario analysis for derivatives portfolios is typically conducted without having a probabilistic model for the underlying dynamics of the risk factors under the physical measure P. In this paper we address these weaknesses by embedding the scenario analysis within a dynamic factor model for the underlying risk factors. Such an approach typically requires multivariate state-space models that can model the real-world behavior of financial markets where risk factors are often latent, and that are sufficiently tractable so that we can compute (or simulate from) the conditional distribution of unstressed risk factors. We demonstrate how this can be done for observable as well as latent risk factors in examples drawn from options and fixed income markets. We show how the two forms of scenario analysis can lead to dramatically different results particularly in the case of portfolios that have been designed to be neutral to a subset of the risk factors.

Suggested Citation

Haugh, Martin Brendan and Ruiz Lacedelli, Octavio, Scenario Analysis for Derivatives Portfolios via Dynamic Factor Models (November 21, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Martin Brendan Haugh (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Octavio Ruiz Lacedelli

Columbia University ( email )

116th and Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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