Postgraduate Programmes 2021/22
International Financial Asset Pricing

You will be assigned a unique set of three currencies during the course. Your assignment is split into three parts, and you must answer each part, the mark weighting for each part and sub part (as a percentage) is given in parenthesis. Your assignment is to carefully outline how you would go about pricing the various derivatives assets and how these prices link together.
You will then assess if your asset pricing model works and provide some comments on alternatives and things you can potentially improve. Please see the FAQs on the next page for guidance.

Part 1: Motivate the modelling choices for each currency pairs.
a. You wish to construct a European volatility surface for pricing FX options, determine which of the approaches and modelling tools you have studied is best and provide an explanation for your choice [500 words max]. (20 marks)
b. Outline the data requirements for each currency pair and note if there are any specific issues with the data requirements [500 words max].
(10 marks)

Part 2: Implement your model and illustrate the appropriate pricing curves.
c. Using the appropriate modelling tools selected from part (a) and the data collected in (b) build a set of pricing curves and illustrate the functioning of the model. You should an analyze the impact of any assumptions on your results [500 words excluding figures]. (30 marks)
d. Provide an appropriate commentary on the empirical results and provide a summary of extensions you could envisage [500 words]. (20 marks)

Part 3: Linkages to other derivative products and reviews.
e. How might you use the results from Part 1 and 2 to price other derivatives assets? Provide a discussion on this approach [250 words]. (10 marks)
f. Summarise the assignment and provide brief overarching thoughts on the relative challenges, from your perspective, of the various approaches implemented [250 words]. (10 marks)
Appendix for the codes you have adapted only (please put the figures in the text next to your analysis).

Frequently asked questions:
Q: My currencies are different from my friend, should I use the same analysis as they do?
A: Quite likely not, the pair you have been allocated with have different properties. Some might be pegged or may not have market quotes for options. You have to decide on which model to choose.
Q: How should I present my results?
A: Whilst the objective is to understand the option volatility surface, you should not just construct one and then just think you are complete. First, you need to build the model, then you should construct multiple surfaces for different days. This is how you will be instructed in the seminar. For some currencies choosing a sample is important. For instance, if you are given CHF then you really should look at some dates before or after January 2015, or you miss out on interesting features. Choosing interesting experiments and timings is part of the challenge you have to approach in the assessment.
Q: Should I replicate all the maths from the lectures?
A: Absolutely not. Simply reference the slides or the various readings I have given you, you have 2500 words and they need to be reserved for your thoughts. You should refer to certain concepts in the maths. For instance, if you use a continuous time model or discrete time model it is worth thinking about the implications.
Q: How should my analysis vary from the seminars?
A: You should not copy anything you have written up from the seminars. Whilst the seminars provide you with a practice, you should not simply replicate identically the seminars. None of you will be given the exact same set of currencies as demonstrated in the classes and written
up in the formative assignments.
Q: Where should I include my figures and tables?
A: These should be placed in the main body of your assignment next to the relevant passage of text to allow me to compare them to your analysis.
Q: What code should I include in the appendix?
A: You should only include the running script and any modifications you have made to your functions.
Q: What fontsize and spacing should I use in my assignment?
A: For MS Word documents: You should use 11pt Calibri, with single line spacing and a 2cm margin all around. For LaTeX documents please ensure you implement the packages: “geometry” and “fullpage”, to deliver the same, the default machine modern is fine.
Q: So I can submit my assignment in LaTeX?
A: You certainly can, but there is no advantage in terms of marking (although it might help you do the work faster in terms of layout and formatting).
Q: Does presentation matter?
A: to an extent no really if you follow the above instructions and use the seminars as a guide, diagrams should be clear and easy to read. Three dimensional plots are discouraged due to readability issues but might be useful in some cases. Do not cover up incomplete work with obscure diagrams as this will lead to mark penalties, always better to ask in case you are not sure.
Q: In part (e) you are vague about which other derivatives to choose, I am unhappy with the lack of guidance here, please tell me what I should do here clearly?
A: Ah, horrible freedom. No, you can choose to look at forwards, swaps, futures, options on futures or volatility derivatives. Here you should outline what you could do, there is no need for a quantitative analysis.
Q: Should I stick rigidly to the work counts for each section?
A: Yes, they are there for a reason.
Q: Why is there no book to help me?
If there was a definitive book then your skills would not be worth the extremely high salaries in this field of finance.
Overall word limit: 2500 words at maximum

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