The CBOE Collar Index, a Benchmark with Downside Protection

I’ve been spending time and words – both here at Options for Rookies – and as a commenter at other blogs – trying to convince anyone who will read my contributions that it's inefficient to manage the risk of owning a stock market portfolio without using options.  Most of the time my comments do not draw any responses, despite my belief that they are on topic, but on occasion, a discussion ensues.

I've been encouraging investors who lack any knowledge of options to consider adopting a collar strategy which provides insurance against large losses at the cost of sacrificing the opportunity to earn large profits.

Mike at The Oblivious Investor made this reasonable request:
"Limiting your upside is just as real of a cost as paying cash… if you have any data whatsoever to indicate that options reduce your downside at a lower cost than simply reducing your stock allocation, please feel free to direct me to it." 

In other words, "Where's the beef?"

I began a casual search for historical data and discovered that the CBOE has several interesting indexes that are new to me.  I've blogged about VIX (The CBOE Volatility Index) and BXM (the CBOE Buy-Write Index), but was delighted to find that CLL (the CBOE Collar Index) has been published since September 2008, with data going back to Jun 1, 1986.  One reason for going back that far was to allow investors to see the benefits of such a strategy during the October 1987 meltdown.

2009-07-15_1950CLL1987a

Collars are flexible and the investor can chose among many calls to sell and puts to buy.  The CBOE chose the CBOE S&P 500 95-110 Collar Index.

This is the CBOE description of their product: 

"In September 2008 CBOE launched the CBOE S&P 500 95-110 Collar Index (CLLSM), an index designed to provide investors with insights as to how one might protect an investment in S&P 500 stocks against steep market declines. This strategy accepts a ceiling or cap on S&P 500
gains in return for a floor on S&P 500 losses. 
The passive collar strategy reflected by the index entails:


– Holding the stocks in the S&P 500 index;
– Buying three-month S&P 500 (SPX) put options to protect this S&P 500 portfolio from market decreases; 

– Selling one-month S&P 500 (SPX) call options to help finance the cost of the put options.


The term "95-110" is used to describe the CLL Index because (1) the three-month put options are purchased at a strike price that is about 95 percent of the value of the S&P 500 Index at the time of the purchase (in other words, the puts are about five percent out-of-the-money), and (2) the one-month call options are written at a strike price that is about 110 percent of the value of the S&P 500 Index at the time of the sale (in other words, the calls are about ten percent out-of-the-money).

The CLL Index is CBOE's first benchmark index to incorporate the downside floor protection of protective puts on the S&P 500 Index, financed by the sale of SPX call options, and will be a valuable resource for investors who want to explore ways to manage their portfolio risk in bear markets."

There's a lot of data, and I'll look at more of that data at another time.  More information on this benchmark index is available, but for today, I'll skip to the bottom line.

How did an investor do when owning three different portfolios?

a) A basket matching the performance of the S&P 500 Index, including dividends.  This is SPTR, the S&P Total Return Index

b) BXM, the Buy-Write Index.  The same basket of stocks as above, but covered calls are written in the morning on the 3rd Friday of each month.  The option chosen is always the lowest strike price that is out of the money.  Thus, these are essentially at the money options.  No adjustments are allowed and the position is held through expiration.

c) CLL 95-110.  The trading methodology is described, but the major points are: Own the same basket as above, buy puts that are 5% OTM three months before expiration, and sell front-month calls that are 10% OTM.  Sell new calls each month.  There are certain conditions under which option positions are rolled (moved to a new strike and expiration month), but we need not get into that much detail at this time.

The following graph shows the results from June 1, 1988 through Feb 27, 2009. 

2009-07-15_2230CLL_corr

It's apparent that the Collar Index under performs most of the time, but when the markets are heading south, CLL outperforms by enough to periodically catch up with the other two indexes.  In addition, collars provide a smoother ride (less volatile) because the value of the index doesn't rise and fall as dramatically as the other indexes.

Investors who seek the protection of owning collars are not hoping to outperform the market over an extended period of time.  Instead, they seek protection from major losses at a modest cost.  To me, CLL has performed as well as an investor can hope.

For the record, On Jan 1, 1988, SPTR, BXM, and CLL are set to 100.  The values on 2/27/2009 were 438.76, 547.99, and 408.49 respectively.

Investors don't have to choose a 95-110 strategy and your results will not match this index. 

I believe this data supports the idea that owning collars is a valid method for reducing risk when investing in the stock market.

Mike – Is this the evidence you were looking for?

589


23 Responses to The CBOE Collar Index, a Benchmark with Downside Protection

  1. Mark Wolfinger 07/16/2009 at 7:56 AM #

    This comment was sent to me via e-mail:
    Hi Mark —
    The guy you cited in your post this morning who said the following?
    “Limiting your upside is just as real of a cost as paying cash…”
    He overlooks the ageless quote from I think Will Rogers: “I am more concerned with the return OF my principal than the return ON my principal.” In volatile markets, limiting upside is perfectly acceptable if you want to ride things out and minimize significantly your risks. Sure, in flat-to-bullish markets, you have more “wiggle room” to use different options strategies to let your upside gains run.
    Over the past 2 years I am quite happy using collars to protect myself. IMHO collars serve 2 purposes: protecting profits once you’ve made them, and protecting principal during times of uncertainty and volatility.
    As always, keep up the great blogging and wonderful insights!
    (feel free to use these comments as you wish)
    -rick

  2. ObliviousInvestor 07/16/2009 at 9:52 AM #

    Hi Mark.
    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
    To Rick: I’m not overlooking the importance of limiting your losses. Nor am I denying the effectiveness of options at doing so.
    I had simply requested data as to whether options (collars included) are a more efficient way of doing it than simply reducing stock allocation and increasing cash and/or bond allocations.
    So, for example, what if we included a simple 50/50 stock/bond portfolio in that graph? This spreadsheet can give us some helpful data. If we plot the 1988-2008 performance of a 50/50 portfolio, it looks like this.
    To me, that looks pretty comparable to the CLL index performance. (And the data includes a 1% management fee, which is greater than would be necessary if you were using low cost index funds.)
    Again, I’m not denying that options are effective at limiting your losses. I’m just not convinced that it can’t be done as efficiently using a simpler strategy.

  3. CBF 07/16/2009 at 9:53 AM #

    Mark: An interesting analysis. I’m disappointed and somewhat surprised to see that the collar strategy regularly underperforms, but, as you note, it saves the day in a meltdown. Also, I assume that commissions are not accounted for, as is the case in most analyses of this type. Since the collar needs to be actively traded, the commissions could be significant relative to a buy and hold or covered call portfolio.
    Cliff

  4. Eye Doc 07/16/2009 at 10:25 AM #

    Maybe the answer is not to use collars all the time, but start using them under certain scenarios. For example, add a simple timing strategy like a 200 day moving average as a trigger to collaring part of the portfolio. It would be interesting to see some numbers on that.

  5. Mark Wolfinger 07/16/2009 at 10:28 AM #

    Mike,
    Thanks for data and graph.

  6. Mark Wolfinger 07/16/2009 at 10:38 AM #

    Cliff,
    1) Buying puts is a very costly proposition. There is no getting around that. That’s the major reason why I strenuously disagree with advisors who suggest married puts as a legitimate trading strategy.
    When you pay for puts, the market has to really surge for investors to earn more than the cost of the puts. That’s why collars under-perform. Insurance is not free.
    2) In my opinion, the only way to be able to afford to buy those puts is to pay for them by selling calls. What this does is limit profits in return for limiting losses. Not everyone will want to do that, but it works for me.
    If insurance is your objective, if preservation of capital is important, collars provide very cheap insurance. Buying puts alone, provides a ridiculously expensive insurance policy.
    3) Commissions are ignored.
    4) Collars do not have to be actively traded. Why do you believe that to be true? If you use same-month collars (instead of the CBOE’s three-month/one-month plan), you need trade only when options are about to expire. That could be monthly, quarterly, or even annually.
    I don’t think you have to trade collars as often as a covered call portfolio because adjustments are not necessary. Sure, you can tweak positions when you want to do so, but the risk of owning covered calls is gone (along with some profit potential) when you own collars.

  7. Mark Wolfinger 07/16/2009 at 10:42 AM #

    E.D.,
    Sure, using collars when the market threatens to move lower is a wonderful idea..
    But if you really know when the markets are going to move lower, why not sell everything and perhaps even go short?
    I am unable to time the markets so your idea is not for me. However, t is the right idea for anyone who has a proven track record of being able to predict market direction.
    You may be able to reconstruct the numbers you seek, but I don’t have access to all the necessary data (not to mention the time) to do the work. Do You?

  8. Eye Doc 07/16/2009 at 12:19 PM #

    Hi Mark,
    No, I don’t have the data unfortunately. However, there are some studies that show that using a drop below a long term moving average to be a fairly reliable timing method, although it really only works in a tax deferred account. So I thought it’d be interesting to see whether instead of selling everything after getting the timing signal adding collars would be a viable strategy with the goal being to lower commissions and possibly improve the potential upside of the portfolio.

  9. Mark Wolfinger 07/16/2009 at 12:43 PM #

    If you can get the timing right, you are certain to improve performance.
    But, please keep in mind that ‘adding collars’ still leaves you delta long – with protection Collars are a mildly bullish strategy (equivalent to selling a put spread).
    Thus, if you believe your signal, is staying long the best strategy? What it has going for it is that you are still invested if you are wrong on your signal and losses are limited when you are correct.
    But most traders want to win (not lose a small amount) when correct.
    Good trading.

  10. X 07/24/2009 at 11:01 PM #

    On a related note, I’m not doing collars but something similar in my accounts.
    If you look at S&P since 1920, it went down more than 35% down in a year only 2 times (1929 and 2008). Thus there is no reason to buy straight puts (especially when the volatility increases, it becomes expensive).
    So you can actually buy a vertical (buy PUT at the money, sell a PUT 20 to 30% lower). This reduces your protection (can still have a major black swan though), but historically it still protects you against 99% of the market drops. And the cost is cheaper (we are saving 20-30% or so on the cost of the protection).
    And then there are a couple of things to avoid, like if market drops suddently big time, don’t sell call 10% OTM on the low price but where it was before the drop (and don’t sell if the credit is nothing). As the market can go up very quickly too (like in March 2003 and March 2009). If the market stays down, you lose the potential credit but you are much better than the buy-and-holders anyway. If the market goes up, you are not missing anything. And when the period is very volatile, 3 months protection is better (as the vertical is more expensive). If the vol is down, a longer period is better. When the market goes suddently way up, you are missing some opportunities (but it happens every 5-10 years or so), but in all other drops you fare much better.
    When the market drops, you can also roll down your long PUT (being deeper ITM, the extrinsic value becomes smaller – although vol increase may do the opposite). So if you roll your long PUT down, you can actually lock the profit in case the market goes back up.
    Finally during big moves, you can also sell verticals when the charts are really over-extended to get more credit for the protection. It works on the downside (you bring back the risk but you are also in better position than a buy and holder so you can afford it more) and on the upside (do we really all believe that we can rally by 50% or more in 5 months and continue even longer? Yeah it happened in 1929, before dropping 70% 🙁 ).
    And BTW none of these are timing the market. Just simple hedged strategy. If one wants to time the market and has a real idea of the direction, then it can use this strategy and play some directional diagonals. The risk is pretty minimal if setup correctly and still it has an happier ending than buy and holding. It is more involved though but can significantly increase the return (like 2x without the 2x drop if things don’t go your way).
    X

  11. Mark Wolfinger 07/25/2009 at 10:27 AM #

    Hi X (US Steel?),
    Thanks for this important note. It reads like a well thought plan.
    1) The advantage to buying the put spread – per your suggestion – is that you get to own the ATM put, rather than one with a larger ‘deductible.’ The disadvantage is (obviously) the limited coverage.
    Overall, I do like the idea of owning the ATM put. But this will not satisfy everyone’s comfort zone. Is it better to avoid the 5% deductible and give up black swan protection? Not an easy decision.
    Off the top of my head it seems to me that one could compromise by buying a cheap put (40 to 50% OTM) for protection against an unprecedented total disaster.
    2) By paying less for the put spread than you would pay for naked long puts, you can, if you want to do so, sell higher-strike call options, giving yourself a better upside play.
    Or you could sell the same call and keep the extra cash. Writing calls (BXM strategy) performs at least as well as buy and hold (over the past 21 years), and ‘keeping the cash’ seems to be a better play. But, it just makes your idea even more flexible.
    3) There is one point you are not considering when you state that the market has been down 35% only twice. During any large market downturn is when investors get scared and may panic.
    Consider this scenario: The market declines by 20%; your protective put is about to stop providing protection because the strike price of the put sold (as part of the spread) is rapidly becoming an ATM put. Will the investor panic? Granted, being protected against that initial 20% decline would provide that investor with a sense of security. But with protection running out, what would happen?
    I don’t have the answer. Being so far ahead of the game (losing nothing during a free-fall), that investor could afford to spend money on additional protection.
    One could close the original spread (what you referred to as ‘locking in’ the profit) and open a new one. Better yet, the investor can buy an ATM put and sell TWO OTM puts (assuming he/she already owned that cheap put as part of the original position).
    This is a real difficult choice: And it’s the same choice investors who routinely sell OTM options face. Do you want to ‘save money’ with the put spread [equivalent to selling OTM options and collecting the ‘income’ every month] and be very happy with the result most of the time. In fact, it’s more than ‘most’ of the time. It’s almost all the time. But occasionally the cost of selling those far OTM puts is very large. And not necessarily because the market moves through the strike price and continues. Often that loss occurs because the strike price becomes threatened and the investor covers the trade at a big loss. It’s not so easy for the option seller (when selling naked) to close one’s eyes and hope for a good outcome.
    I grant you there is a huge difference between selling a naked OTM put and having the market move far enough so that your portfolio – previously protected 100%, loses it’s protection. I agree that having an extra, viable choice is a good thing.
    4) Changing the ‘usual’ policy of deciding which call to sell is ‘timing’ the market. But I believe one can be forgiven for doing that. There is far less need to sell those not-too-far-OTM calls after a big decline when that decline has not cost the investor any money. With little, or no loss to hurt the investor’s portfolio, there is far less need to try to ‘get some money back’ by writing calls. As you state, one can play for the big recovery and forgo writing calls.
    5) As far as rolling down your long put goes, I have a quibble. You don’t really have a ‘profit’ to lock in. That profit in the put option represents the loss you did not incur because you owned the put.
    Nevertheless, rolling it down – or perhaps closing the original put spread – is one way to say ‘thank you’ for the insurance, and holding the portfolio unprotected (or as mentioned above, open a new put spread).
    The problem – and it’s a real problem – with this idea is that investors may feel the market ‘has declined enough’ and rush to take that ‘profit’ and lose needed protection. It will be tempting to forget that the put was not purchased to make money, but as an insurance policy. The danger is that the investor may feel great about being insured, believe he/she is a market-timing genius, and sell out protection well before the market bottoms. I know – that investor is still ‘better off’ – but investing is not a competition.
    6) I would omit your vertical selling plan based on the charts, but that’s my comfort one.
    I do like your ideas. How long have you been doing this?

  12. N 07/25/2009 at 12:01 PM #

    Yeah, the adjustments on the downside are not easy, but at least I’m not panicking when the market is tanking (Mar 09 has not been a big deal to me). On the upside, I recently bought back my short PUT for a small amount of money, and will resell it if the market tanks again.
    I thought about buying a deep OTM put for another protection (40-50% ar you said) as that’s pretty cheap ($10 for SPY PUT 50 DEC 09 for example). Could be bought after a 10% market drop though (It would be more expensive but at the same time the time premium would be lower than buying it too far ahead in all cases).
    I like your idea about selling a back spread. In similar idea if one wants to protect its portfolio after the drop, one could do a butterfly too (maybe unbalanced). After the drop, vol would be high, thus offering a good profile in this case. But any way, it’s much easier to trade when we don’t have the feeling we need to earn back the ton of money we lost.
    This strategy helped me invest on equities that I would not have invested otherwise (like commodities). But here the result is mixed, still positive as a whole though. When KOL or MOO goes up +50% in few months, the short call obviously prevents the big profits. Never the less I ended up being +10% on those for 6 months or so. For SLV and UNG, they actually tanked and I may be 1-2% under right now but the profile still looks great.
    Other than that I do this with indexes with good results. Obviously I lost a bit of the profit with the crazy bear market rally (I guess we’ll see :)) but I’m still ahead.
    I also backtraded this on several market conditions to see how it did. And that went pretty well, again it’s underperforming under big bull markets, but because they happen after big bear markets (where the stratgey does not lose much or even at all) then it is not a big deal.
    I found this website that seems to employ similar strategy (reading between lines when they describe their strategy):
    http://www.swanconsultinginc.com
    They have a 10 year history. Their results roughly compare to what I backtraded in the past few years.
    Now I just need to create an ETF for this. 🙂
    X

  13. Mark Wolfinger 07/26/2009 at 11:36 AM #

    Not panicking and being able to find new positions calmly is a huge bonus. It doesn’t happen all that often, and that’s a good thing. We have enough people already suffering from financial hardship.
    No one want to sacrifice the upside, but safety has it’s own rewards.
    If you are making 10% on trades you would not have been able to make without put ownership – there’s no reason to complain that you missed 50% or more. I’m glad you are pleased with those results. One of the things that amazes me is this combination:
    a) Investor would not make trade, except for strategy A.
    b) Strategy A limits profits when stock make gigantic move
    c) Stock makes that move and investor resents strategy A because it limited profits.
    d) The total lack of logic in this situation. Greed makes people think in strange ways.
    I note you ‘lost a bit of profit…’ I don’t look at it that way. Because you wanted the benefits of owning protection, you accepted a strategy with limited profits. You earned the MAXIMUM POSSIBLE REWARD from the strategy you chose. Ho can you have done better that that?
    Regarding the link you posted. I agree with his premise: “This is the crux of where asset allocation or modern portfolio theory breaks down. Risk is not defined; instead it is merely expressed in historical standards.”
    I decided to re-post our original conversation as a blog post (tomorrow, Jul 27, 2009) so that more people will see it.

  14. X 07/26/2009 at 10:51 PM #

    Funny about your a) b) c) d) steps, as I had the exact same exemple few months ago.
    A friend of mine did some dividends play protected with ITM covered calls. That was 2-3 months ago in the middle of the bull market. The strategy worked but he felt that the strategy was not for him as if we did not sold the call he would have earned much more. Even when I told him that his strategy worked exactly as expected, he focused on the missed opportunity.
    On the other end, if the market had been sideways or even down, he would have been ahead. And certainly felt better even if he had lost 1-2% but the market lost 10%. We are always trying to compare ourselves to others (a.k.a the market) and this often creates bad trade choices.
    Good blog BTW.

  15. Mark Wolfinger 07/27/2009 at 10:29 AM #

    Thanks,
    I always tell readers that if they must have the best possible outcome on every trade, then using options to hedge positions is not for them.
    That’s just a polite way to tell people not to be greedy fools.

  16. Tristan Grayson 04/14/2011 at 5:46 PM #

    Mr. X’s strategy is interesting: sell a lower put to help fund a higher purchased put, or to help fund a collar. One risk with this strategy is that the lower ‘funding’ put is sold on the same security as the collar. This seems like it could be ill-advised to be the same security.

    This got me thinking to how Equity Indexed Life Insurance/Annuities work. The life insurance company has a giant investment-grade bond portfolio which pays them interest. They use the interest to pay for collars on stock market indexes. So basically, their source of funding for the collar is not as deeply correlated to the security that they’re collaring.

    In my mind, that’s something to consider: perhaps the funding source for a collar should be based on a different security than what you’re collaring.

    Thanks.

    • Mark D Wolfinger 04/14/2011 at 7:34 PM #

      I don’t see a problem with the same stock put sale.

      If you are going to sell the put (and I would not), I don’t see the harm in limiting the protective power of the long put rather than selling a put elsewhere.

      • Tristan Grayson 04/14/2011 at 10:23 PM #

        I just meant that if the stock falls through the purchased put, that puts the lower sold put at perhaps more risk than if you collar stock A and you sell a put on stock B. If stock B isn’t correlated as much with stock A, then if A falls, perhaps the put on stock B will be at less risk of being exercised.

        I guess I’m just thinking that if I was going to collar WorldCom back in the day, to fund the collar, maybe I’d rather sell puts on say, some utility company instead of WorldCom itself.

        I like X’s idea, I’m just rolling the idea around. Thanks.

        • Mark D Wolfinger 04/14/2011 at 11:55 PM #

          Tristan,

          What if stock B falls by the grater amount?
          Why would a trader want to add correlation risk to his/her bag of risk? That’s gambling.
          Correlated risk is easier to manage.

          Don’t worry about being assigned an exercised notice. It is not a problem and is easily reversed.

          I don’t like X’s idea. It completely defeats the purpose of owning a collar.

          [Addendum: After this discussion continued, I decided to take the time to read the details of the much earlier post. It turns out that X did not make the trade to ‘finance’ the original collar. I should have taken the time to verify your statement before responding. This discussion is continued in a blog post of Apr 18, 2011]

          And I don’t like your idea of owning a collar and selling a naked put on some other stock with the purpose of reducing the cost of the collar. The risk/reward is way out of line.

          To collar WorldCom, one buys a put on WorldCom and that’s the end of put trading. Selling a put on another stock has nothing to do with the collar. It’s a separate play made for the wrong reason (to pay for the collar). Sometimes’ simple is best.

          Thank you

          • Tristan Grayson 04/15/2011 at 2:24 AM #

            Yes, the risk does exist that stock B can be the one that falls the greater amount. It is a trade-off — the benefit being that if there is a huge drop that affects A or A’s sector, perhaps it won’t affect B. But yes, definitely a risk.

            You ask why one would want to add correlation risk to the bag of risk. If one uses the same security, the correlation is definitely 1. If you use different securities, the correlation is not definitely 1, so that is a new uncertainty, but it’s a trade-off. I’m just suggesting diversification instead of having everything ride only on A.

            I’ll carefully re-read your reply to X’s idea. When I read your reply to his comment, I thought that you found some aspects intriguing. Thanks for the correction, I will re-review.

            I am surprised that you find the idea so egregiously out of line. If one purchases a collar, the funds used to purchase the collar may have been from other earlier trades — perhaps even involving stock B, and we’d clearly find this reasonable. So why is it so unreasonable to simultaneously buy a collar on A with funds from selling a put on B?

            In other words, in my trading ‘business’, I purchase positions with funds from other parts of my business, and that may involve other trades, investments, etc.

            Thanks.

          • Mark D Wolfinger 04/15/2011 at 8:35 AM #

            Tristan,

            This discussion began as a comment by someone who suggested a way to modify a collar. I don’t like that idea.

            Now we are talking about diversification etc. That’s way off topic.

            This is not diversification. Selling a put on stock B while owning a collar on stock A has nothing to do with diversification.

            Why take the risk? What does this trade idea have to do with collars? Nothing.

            If you want a collar, you want a collar.

            If you want sell naked puts, then sell naked puts. Don’t call it a modified collar. That’s my message to X

            I must confess – that I do not remember the discussion and did not take the time to read it again.

            It is not unreasonable if your goal is to be naked short a put on stock B. It is unreasonable if you are selling that put as a ‘risk-free’ way to generate cash to pay for collar on stock A.

            Isn’t it part of your goal to be certain that each trade can stand on its owns – as well as be suitable for the entire portfolio. In this example,I see no merit in selling puts on B. It was done for cash/ It was not done because X wants to be long B or is willing to buy the shares. It was done for cash. That’s too risky for me.

            If you purchase positions using cash from other positions, don’t you care which positions are purchased. Do you make a random trade just to generate cash to be sued elsewhere.

            Out Mr X wanted a collar and then sold an extra put for no apparent reason. Other than to generate cash. That’s not an efficient way to trade.

            Regards

  17. Tristan Grayson 04/15/2011 at 4:55 PM #

    Thanks Mark for your time and energy in your replies. Sorry for going off topic, I thought this was related, hence why I posted.

    I was not intending to suggest that shorting a put on stock B was ‘risk-free’. I was actually thinking that stock B was a stock that the trader was willing to own (i.e. part of their watch list for the next 1-2 years). In other words, this short put can ‘stand on its own’ as well as it brings in premium that can be used to offset other trades such as a collar.

    In my mind, this is the progression of a trader:

    Step 1: One learns about a put, so they’d like to purchase a put to protect a long position.

    Step 2: To help finance the put, they sell a call, thus they have a collar. They’re willing to part with the stock at the call strike.

    Step 3: Like in step 2, they want to help finance the position, so they think of selling a put on the same stock. (this is where you and I agree that this may not be a good idea)

    Step 4: They realize that selling a put on the same stock may not be a good idea because they don’t really want to own it at that strike price. Essentially, they want to sell the put for the wrong reasons and they’re exposed if the stock drops below that lower strike (I think this is where we’re agreeing). Thus, they try to think of other ways to finance. Perhaps they could just use existing funds they already have, or they could use the premium from other positions that they would like to own, like by shorting puts on stock B which they are intending to invest in.

    So that’s the thought process to me of how one gets to this point. The journey doesn’t seem that unreasonable even if individual steps may be ill-advised (i.e. step 3). Thanks.

    • Mark D Wolfinger 04/16/2011 at 9:01 PM #

      Tristan,

      I don’t know what happened to my earlier reply, but I’ll respond at length via a blog post.