Review of Derivatives Research

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 55–79 | Cite as

Option market making under inventory risk



We propose a mean-variance framework to analyze the optimal quoting policy of an option market maker. The market maker’s profits come from the bid-ask spreads received over the course of a trading day, while the risk comes from uncertainty in the value of his portfolio, or inventory. Within this framework, we study the impact of liquidity and market incompleteness on the optimal bid and ask prices of the option. First, we consider a market maker in a complete market, where continuous trading in a perfectly liquid underlying stock is allowed. In this setting, the market maker may remove all risk by Delta hedging, and the optimal quotes will depend on the option’s liquidity, but not on the inventory. Second, we model a market maker who may not trade continuously in the underlying stock, but rather sets bid and ask quotes in the option and this illiquid stock. We find that the optimal stock and option quotes depend on the relative liquidity of both instruments as well as on the net Delta of the inventory. Third, we consider an incomplete market with residual risks due to stochastic volatility and large overnight moves in the stock price. In this setting, the optimal quotes depend on the liquidity of the option and on the net Vega and Gamma of the inventory.


Delta European options Gamma Inventory management Liquidity Market microstructure Vega 

JEL Classifications

G13 G11 C61 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell Financial Engineering ManhattanCornell UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Graduate School of BusinessColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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