An intuitive introduction to fractional and rough volatilities

Authors: Elisa Alòs and Jorge A. León

Mathematics, Vol. 9, No 9, May, 2021

Here, we review some results of fractional volatility models, where the volatility is driven by fractional Brownian motion (fBm). In these models, the future average volatility is not a process adapted to the underlying filtration, and fBm is not a semimartingale in general. So, we cannot use the classical Itô’s calculus to explain how the memory properties of fBm allow us to describe some empirical findings of the implied volatility surface through Hull and White type formulas. Thus, Malliavin calculus provides a natural approach to deal with the implied volatility without assuming any particular structure of the volatility. The aim of this paper is to provides the basic tools of Malliavin calculus for the study of fractional volatility models. That is, we explain how the long and short memory of fBm improves the description of the implied volatility. In particular, we consider in detail a model that combines the long and short memory properties of fBm as an example of the approach introduced in this paper. The theoretical results are tested with numerical experiments.