In a previous post, Copulas in Risk Management, I covered in detail the theory and applications of copulas in the area of risk management, pointing out the potential benefits of the approach and how it could be used to improve estimates of Value-at-Risk by incorporating important empirical features of asset processes, such as asymmetric correlation and heavy tails.
In this post I will take a very different tack, demonstrating how copula models have potential applications in trading strategy design, in particular in pairs trading and statistical arbitrage strategies.
This is not a new concept – in fact the idea occurred to me (and others) many years ago, when copulas began to be widely adopted in financial engineering, risk management and credit derivatives modeling. But it remains relatively under-explored compared to more traditional techniques in this field. Fresh research suggests that it may be a useful adjunct to the more common methods applied in pairs trading, and may even be a more robust methodology altogether, as we shall see.