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The SABR Model

by Fabrice Douglas Rouah

www.FRouah.com
www.Volopta.com
The SABR model is used to model a forward Libor rate, a forward swap
rate, a forward index price, or any other forward rate. It is an extension of
Blacks model and of the CEV model. The model is not a pure option pricing
modelit is a stochastic volatility model. But unlike other stochastic volatility
models such as the Heston model, the model does not produce option prices
directly. Rather, it produces an estimate of the implied volatility curve, which
is subsequently used as an input in Blacks model to price swaptions, caps, and
other interest rate derivatives.
1 Process for the Forward Rate
The SABR model of Hagan et al.  is described by the following 3 equations
d)
|
= c
|
)
o
|
d\
1
|
(1)
dc
|
= c
|
d\
2
|
1
_
d\
1
|
d\
2
|

= jdt
with initial values )
0
and c = c
0
. In these equations, )
|
is the forward rate,
c
|
is the volatility, and \
1
|
and \
2
|
are correlated Brownian motions, with
correlation j. The parameters are
c the initial variance
the volatility of variance
, the exponent for the forward rate
j the correlation between the Brownian motions.
The case , = 0 produces the stochastic normal model, , = 1 produces the
stochastic lognormal model, and , =
1
2
produces the stochastic CIR model.
2 SABR Implied Volatility and Option Prices
The prices of European call options in the SABR model are given by Blacks
model. For a current forward rate ), strike 1, and implied volatility o
1
the
price of a European call option with maturity T is
C
1
(), 1, o
1
, T) = c
:T
[)(d
1
) 1(d
2
)] (2)
1
with
d
1,2
=
ln),1
1
2
o
2
1
T
o
1
p
T
and analogously for a European put. The volatility parameter o
1
is provided
by the SABR model. With estimates of c, ,, , and j, the implied volatility is
o
1
(1, )) =
c
_
1 +
_
(1o)
2
24
o
2
(}1)
1
+
1
4
ouo
(J1)
(1)=2
+
23
2
24

2
_
T
_
()1)
(1o)/2
_
1 +
(1o)
2
24
ln
2 }
1
+
(1o)
4
1920
ln
4 }
1
_ (3)

.
(.)
. =

c
()1)
(1o)/2
ln
)
1
(.) = ln
_
_
1 2j. +.
2
+. j
1 j
_
.
Once the parameters c, ,, j, and are estimated, the implied volatility o
1
is a
function only of the forward price ) and the strike 1. Since the SABR model
produces implied volatilities for a single maturity, the dependence of o
1
on T
is not reected in the notation o
1
(1, )).
3 Estimating Parameters
The , parameter is estimated rst, and is not very important in the model
because the choice of , does not greatly aect the shape of the volatility curve.
With , estimated, there are two possible choices for estimating the remaining
parameters
Estimate c, j, and directly, or
Estimate j and directly, and infer c from j, , and the at-the-money
volatility, o
.T1
.
3.1 Estimating
From equation (3), the at-the-money volatility o
.T1
is obtained by setting
) = 1 in equation (3), which produces
o
.T1
= o
1
(), )) =
c
_
1 +
_
(1o)
2
24
o
2
}
22
+
1
4
ouo
}
1
+
23
2
24

2
_
T
_
)
1o
. (4)
Taking logs produces
lno
.T1
lnc (1 ,) ln).
2
Hence, , can be estimated by a linear regression on a time series of logs of
ATM volatilities and logs of forward rates. Alternatively, , can be chosen
from prior beliefs about which model (stochastic normal, lognormal, or CIR) is
appropriate. In practice, the choice of , has little eect on the resulting shape
of the volatility curve produced by the SABR model, so the choice of , is not
crucial. The choice of ,, however, can aect the Greeks. Barlett  provides
more accurate Greeks and shows that they are less sensitive to the choice of ,.
This is described in Section 5.3.
3.2 First ParameterizationEstimating ; ; and v
Once
^
, is set, it remains to estimate c, j, and . This can be accomplished by
minimizing the errors between the model and market volatilities
_
o
mkt
I
_
(from
interest rate derivatives, for example) with identical maturity T. Hence, for
example, we can use SSE, which produces
(^ c, ^ j, ^ ) = arg min
o,,u

I
_
o
mkt
I
o
1
()
I
, 1
I
; c, j, )
_
2
. (5)
We then use c, ,, j, in equation (3) to obtain o
1
and plug o
1
into Blacks
formula (2) to get the call price. Other objective functions are of course pos-
sible, such as the one by West  that uses vega as weights. A free Matlab
program for estimating the SABR parameters in this fashion is available at
www.Volopta.com.
3.3 Second ParameterizationEstimating and v
We can reduce the number of parameters to be estimated by using o
.T1
to
obtain ^ c via equation (4), rather than estimating c directly. This means that
we only need to estimate j and , and obtain an estimate of c by inverting
equation (4) and noting that c is the root of the cubic equation
_
(1 ,)
2
T
24)
22o
_
c
3
+
_
j,T
4)
1o
_
c
2
+
_
1 +
2 3j
2
24

2
T
_
c o
.T1
)
1o
= 0. (6)
West  notes that it is possible for this cubic to have more than a single real
root, and suggests selecting the smallest positive root in this case. It is relatively
straightforward to estimate the parameters using this second parameterization.
In our minimization algorithm, at every iteration we nd c in terms of j and
by solving equation (6) for c = c(j, ). Hence, for example, SSE from equation
(5) becomes
(^ c, ^ j, ^ ) = arg min
o,,u

I
_
o
mkt
I
o
1
()
I
, 1
I
; c(j, ), j, )
_
2
. (7)
This estimation will take more time to converge. Indeed, at every iteration
step, the minimization algorithm produces j and , but it must use a root-
nding algorithm to obtain c from equation (6) that uses the parameters ,, j,
3
as inputs along with ), 1, o
.T1
, and T. The three parameter values j, , and
c = c(j, ) are then plugged into equation (3) to produce o
1
, which is used in
the objective function (7). The value of the objective function is compared to
the tolerance level (or other convergence criterion) and the algorithm moves to
the next iteration. A free Matlab program for estimating the SABR parameters
under this parameterization scheme is available at www.Volopta.com.
4 Illustration
We illustrate the SABR model under both parameterizations by reproducing
Figure 3.3 of Hagan et al . We use , = 0.5 and t the SABR model using
both estimation approaches. This appears in Figure 1 below.
0.12
0.14
0.16
0.18
0.20
0.22
0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09 0.10 0.11
Method 1 - all parameters
Method 2 - and
Market IV
Figure 1. Fitted SABR volatilities under both estimation
methods, , = 0.5
The gure illustrates that the choice of estimation has little eect, and that
both methods produce a set of implied volatilities that t the market volatilities
reasonably well. The error sum of squares (oo1) from the rst method is
oo1
1
= 2.3310
4
, which is slightly larger than that from the second method,
oo1
2
= 2.74 10
4
. The parameter estimates obtained under both methods
are presented in Table 1. The sets of parameters are very similar.
Table 1. Parameter Estimates
Parameter Method 1 Method 2
c 0.037561 0.036698
, 0.5 0.5
j 0.100044 0.098252
0.573296 0.599714
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Free Matlab code for parameter estimation under both methods is available
at www.Volopta.com.
4.1 The Backbone
Given values of c, ,, j and , we can vary the value of ) and trace out the ATM
volatility o
1
(), )) from Equation (4) to obtain the backbone. For a xed value
of ), if we plot the SABR volatilities o
1
(1, )) from Equation (3), this will
trace out the smile and skew. This is illustrated in Figure 2, which reproduces
Figure 3.1 in Hagan et al , using the parameters in Table 1 estimated under
Method 1 and using a maturity T = 1 year.
0.08
0.10
0.12
0.14
0.16
0.18
0.20
0.22
0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09 0.10 0.11
Backbone
f = 0.065
f = 0.076
f = 0.088
Figure 2. The backbone with its smiles and skews when
, = 0
Figure 3 plots the backbone and its smiles and skews, but using , = 1. This
reproduces Figure 3.2 of Hagan et al . Since the value of , is dierent, the
parameter estimates in Table 1 are no longer valid. We must re-estimate the
parameters wtih , = 1 instead of , = 0. The updated parameters, estimated
using Method 1, are c = 0.13927, j = 0.06867, and = 0.5778.
5
0.08
0.10
0.12
0.14
0.16
0.18
0.20
0.22
0.04 0.05 0.06 0.07 0.08 0.09 0.10 0.11
Backbone
f = 0.065
f = 0.076
f = 0.088
Figure 3. The backbone with its smiles and skews when
, = 1
5 Option Sensitivities
The Greeks from the SABR model resemble those from Blacks model, but
contain additional terms to reect the fact that o
1
is not constant. This is
explained by Hagan et al. , Lesniewski , and Barlett .
5.1 Vega
Vega, the sensitivity of the option price to volatility, c, is obtained by applying
the chain rule on the call price from equation (2) and using equation (3)
Vega =
0C
1
0o
1

0o
1
0c
(8)
In practice, nite dierences are used to evaluate the derivative
Jc
B
Jo
, rather
than obtaining this derivative analytically from equation (3).
5.2 Delta
Delta, the sensitivity of the option price to the forward rate, is dependent on
the parameterization used. If the rst parameterization is used then delta is
the total derivative
Delta =
0C
1
0)
+
0C
1
0o
1

0o
1
0)
(9)
If, on the other hand, the second parameterization is used then delta is
Delta =
0C
1
0)
+
0C
1
0o
1

_
0o
1
0)
+
0c
0)
_
6
to reect the fact that c is a function of ).
5.3 Barlett Updated Greeks
Bartlett  has proposed renements of the Greeks in equations (8) and (9). In
this section we explain the development of these updated Greeks.
5.3.1 Updated Delta
The SABR Delta in equation (9) is obtained by assuming a shift in the forward
rate while keeping the value of c constant
) ! ) + )
c ! c.
Bartlett  explains that since c and ) are correlated, a shift in ) will likely be
accompanied by a shift in c. Hence a more realistic scenario is
) ! ) + )
c ! c +c
}
c.
To calculate c
}
c we use the the well-know result that the two correlated
Brownian motions \
1
|
and \
2
|
from equation (1) can be expressed in terms of
two independent Brownian motions \
|
and 7
|
by setting, for example, d\
1
|
=
d\
|
and d\
2
|
= jd\
|
+
_
1 j
2
d7
|
. Hence we can write the SABR model
from equation (1) as
d)
|
= c
|
)
o
|
d\
|
(10)
dc
|
= c
|
_
jd\
|
+
_
1 j
2
d7
|
_
1
_
d\
|
_
jd\
|
+
_
1 j
2
d7
|
__
= jdt.
This implies that the volatility process from equation (10) can be written as
dc
|
=
j
)
o
|
d)
|
+c
|
_
1 j
2
d7
|
.
The instantaneous change in volatility, dc
|
, can now be expressed in two terms
(1) the instantaneous change in the forward, d)
|
, and (2) the level of the volatil-
ity, c
|
. The change in volatility due to a change in the forward is the rst
term
dc
|
d)
|
=
j
)
o
|
.
The SABR delta is updated by including the change in o
1
brought on by changes
in c
Updated Delta =
0C
1
0)
+
0C
1
0o
1

_
0o
1
0)
+
0o
1
0c
0c
0)
_
=
0C
1
0)
+
0C
1
0o
1

_
0o
1
0)
+
0o
1
0c
j
)
o
_
.
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5.3.2 Updated Vega
Analogously to the SABR Delta, the SABR Vega in equation (8) is updated by
assuming a shift in the volatility while keeping the value of ) constant
) ! )
c ! c + c.
Bartlett  explains that a more realistic scenario is
) ! ) +c
o
)
c ! c + c.
Turning to equation (1) again, the forward process can be written
d)
|
= c
|
)
o
|
_
jd\
|
+
_
1 j
2
d7
|
_
(11)
dc
|
= c
|
d\
|
1
_
d\
|
_
jd\
|
+
_
1 j
2
d7
|
__
= jdt.
This implies that the forward process from equation (11) can be written as
d)
|
=
j)
o
|

dc
|
+)
o
|
c
|
_
1 j
2
d7
|
.
The instantaneous change in volatility, d)
|
, can be expressed in two terms (1)
the instantaneous change in the forward, dc
|
, and (2) the level of the volatility,
c
|
. The change in the forward due to a change in volatility is the rst term
d)
|
dc
|
=
j)
o
|

.
The SABR delta is updated by including the change in o
1
brought on by changes
in c
Vega =
0C
1
0o
1

_
0o
1
0c
+
0o
1
0)
0)
0c
_
.
A free Matlab program for the updated Greeks is available at www.Volopta.com.
6 SABR Renements
The original formula by Hagan et al.  in Equation (3) has been shown to
break down when the strike is small and the maturity is long. In response, a
number of researchers have sought to rene the implied volatility. One such
renement is summarized by Jan Oblj , so we state his results here. The
implied volatility surface o (r, T) for log-moneyness r = log (1,1) and maturity
T can be approximated as
o
1
(r, T) 1
0
1
(r)
_
1 +1
1
1
(r) T
_
. (12)
8
In this expression, we have
1
1
1
(r) =
(1 ,)
2
c
2
24 ()1)
1o
+
jc,
4 ()1)
(1o)/2
+
_
2 3j
2
_

2
24
,
and four cases for 1
0
1
(r).
Case 1: r = 0.
1
0
(0) = c1
o1
.
Case 2: = 0.
1
0
(r) =
rc(1 ,)
)
1o
1
1o
.
Case 3: , = 1.
1
0
(r) =
r
ln
_
p
12:+:
2
+:
1
_
where . =
ur
o
.
Case 4: , < 1.
1
0
(r) =
r
ln
_
p
12:+:
2
+:
1
_
where . =
u(}
1
1
1
)
o(1o)
. As before, the SABR implied volatility o
1
(r, T)
is plugged into Blacks formula in Equation (2), and the price of the call is
obtained. A free Matlab program for estimating the SABR parameters under
this rened scheme is available at www.Volopta.com.
References
 Bartlett, B. (2006). "Hedging Under SABR Model," Wilmott Magazine,
July 2006, pp. 2-4.
 Hagan, P., Kumar, D., Lesniewski, L, and D.E. Woodward (2002). "Man-
aging Smile Risk," Wilmott Magazine, September 2002, pp. 84-108.
 Lesniewski, A. (2008). "The Volatility Cube."
 Oblj, J. (2008). "Fine-Tune Your Smile: Correction to Hagan et al," Work-
ing Paper, Imperial College, London, UK.
 West, G. (2005). "Calibration of the SABR Model in Illiquid Markets,"
Applied Mathematical Finance, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 371-385.
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