Actuarial Inference and Applications of Hidden Markov Models
Till, Matthew Charles
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Hidden Markov models have become a popular tool for modeling long-term investment guarantees. Many different variations of hidden Markov models have been proposed over the past decades for modeling indexes such as the S&P 500, and they capture the tail risk inherent in the market to varying degrees. However, goodness-of-fit testing, such as residual-based testing, for hidden Markov models is a relatively undeveloped area of research. This work focuses on hidden Markov model assessment, and develops a stochastic approach to deriving a residual set that is ideal for standard residual tests. This result allows hidden-state models to be tested for goodness-of-fit with the well developed testing strategies for single-state models. This work also focuses on parameter uncertainty for the popular long-term equity hidden Markov models. There is a special focus on underlying states that represent lower returns and higher volatility in the market, as these states can have the largest impact on investment guarantee valuation. A Bayesian approach for the hidden Markov models is applied to address the issue of parameter uncertainty and the impact it can have on investment guarantee models. Also in this thesis, the areas of portfolio optimization and portfolio replication under a hidden Markov model setting are further developed. Different strategies for optimization and portfolio hedging under hidden Markov models are presented and compared using real world data. The impact of parameter uncertainty, particularly with model parameters that are connected with higher market volatility, is once again a focus, and the effects of not taking parameter uncertainty into account when optimizing or hedging in a hidden Markov are demonstrated.