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Flirting with Models

Sep 8, 2020

My guest this episode is Kris Sidial, co-CIO of The Ambrus Group, a volatility arbitrage focused firm founded in 2018.

Kris recently joined Ambrus after spending several years on BMO’s exotic and listed options desks. While time on these desks gave Kris the experience of managing a large derivatives book, what convinced him to take the leap to a new firm was growing confidence in a thesis that market micro-structure had undergone a regime shift. And in Kris’s view, this regime shift supports his approach to building a volatility arbitrage book.

Kris’s approach is broken down into two sleeves: long and short volatility. Within long volatility, Kris plays a unique flavor of dispersion trading. Within short volatility Kris plays contango in the VIX futures curve and kurtosis trades that seek to exploit mean-reversion and overpriced volatility.

With several moving pieces, we spend the back half of the episode discussing each sleeve, the underlying approach, how Kris thinks about managing risk, and how it fits into the whole.

What becomes clear is that while we discuss each sleeve independently, they do not exist in isolation. The portfolio is designed to co-exist, with careful thought about how positions in one sleeve offset risk in another.

From a unique fundamental outlook to the holistic approach to portfolio construction, this episode has a lot to offer.

I hope you enjoy my conversation with Kris Sidial.