- Some new aspects of Optimal Portfolios and Option Pricing (2003)
- The main two problems of continuous-time financial mathematics are option pricing and portfolio optimization. In this thesis, various new aspects of these major topics of financial mathematics will be discussed. In all our considerations we will assume the standard diffusion type setting for securitiy prices which is today well-know under the term "Black-Scholes model". This setting and the basic results of option pricing and portfolio optimization are surveyed in the first chapter. The next three chapters deal with generalizations of the standard portfolio problem, also know as "Merton's problem". Here, we will always use the stochastic control approach as introduced in the seminal papers by Merton (1969, 1971, 1990). One such problem is the very realistic setting of an investor who is faced with fixed monetary streams. More precisely, in addition to maximizing the utility from final wealth via choosing an investment strategy, the investor also has to fulfill certain consumption needs. Also the opposite situation, an additional income stream can now be taken into account in our portfolio optimization problem. We consider various examples and solve them on one hand via classical stochastic control methods and on the other hand by our new separation theorem. This together with some numerical examples forms Chapter 2. Chapter 3 is mainly concerned with the portfolio problem if the investor has different lending and borrowing rates. We give explicit solutions (where possible) and numerical methods to calculate the optimal strategy in the cases of log utility and HARA utility for three different modelling approaches of the dependence of the borrowing rate on the fraction of wealth financed by a credit. The further generalization of the standard Merton problem in Chapter 4 consists in considering simultaneously the possibilities for continuous and discrete consumption. In our general approach there is a possibility for assigning the different consumption times different weights which is a generalization of the usual way of making them comparable via discounting. Chapter 5 deals with the special case of pricing basket options. Here, the main problem is not path-dependence but the multi-dimensionality which makes it impossible to give usuefull analytical representations of the option price. We review the literature and compare six different numerical methods in a systematic way. Thereby we also look at the influence of various parameters such as strike, correlation, forwards or volatilities on the erformance of the different numerical methods. The problem of pricing Asian options on average spot with average strike is the topic of Chapter 6. We here apply the bivariate normal distribution to obtain an approximate option price. This method proves to be very reliable and e±cient for the valuation of different variants of Asian options on average spot with average strike.