Rainbow Option

Rainbow Option

A Rainbow Option is a term used to describe a derivative (option) with many underlying assets. Just like a rainbow which has many colors, these options have two or more underlying assets. For the option to pay off all the assets must move in a similar and desired direction.

These are also called as correlation options or basket options. Rainbow options are often used to distribute the risks over various assets having correlated returns. These also provide a better and diverse portfolio for investors while being cost efficient since correlated multi asset options are cheaper and more competitive than individual options.

These options are often difficult to study because of the different moving parts which have different characteristics. It is necessary for assets to move in a similar direction so as to facilitate a feasible exchange between the assets. Otherwise the investment will not pay off. Also proper and correct modelling of assets is necessary in terms of strike price and expiry dates. The investor should be careful in studying the risk associated with currency fluctuations if an asset is denominated in other currency than the option  as well as the correlation risks between underlying assets.

For example, ‘A better-of-two-assets option’ is a rainbow option which allows the investors to earn returns associated to a better performing stock out of two different stocks (underlying assets). Or, to give an instance a option which allows the investor to exchange 5 shares of Citigroup with 1 share Barclays Capital  will be termed as a rainbow option. Here the investor will gain if share of Citigroup will fall in value relative to shares of Barclays Capital. Here relativity implies that both should move in a similar direction and gain and loss are dependent upon their comparative values.

To numerically evaluate and price rainbow options standard mathematical finance models such as Black-Scholes and Monte Carlo are most popular.



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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Shatakshi Bhargava
    April 30, 2015 10:39 am

    Good efforts! I wonder if one can use regression to study the rainbow options. This might help the investors in making a better decision.

  • Rahul Singhai
    May 8, 2015 6:30 pm

    Informative article

  • Aikankshi Gupta
    June 7, 2015 10:27 pm

    though Rainbow Option is very rare.

  • Stephy Paul
    June 11, 2015 3:42 pm

    Business have wonderful terms I guess..

  • Anirudh Krishnadas
    September 1, 2015 9:14 am

    Got something new to read 🙂
    i agree to the above comment i have read many article related to business actually their concept are vey deep but the title doesnt like we are reading a kidergarden book lol never mind hehe 😀
    I liked the way you presented your article 😀
    It content was well researched:D
    Keep it up 😀


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