# Black Scholes Model: Formula, Limitations, Python Implementation

The Black Scholes Model! There are a few models in this world which make the world stand up and take notice, and this is one of them. If I have to explain it in simple terms, the Black Scholes model helps us in finding the price of an option, a European option to be precise. If you want to understand or refresh your knowledge on Options, check out the basics of Options article. But why is it so important to know the price of an option?

Let’s expand on this. Suppose you can get a 4% rate of interest in a bank. Thus, after one year, it will be ($100) + (4/100)*(100) =$104. You can put that in the form of a formula as (Your amount)*(1 + i%). Now, if you think that you are going to get $104 in one year, then you just have to divide it by (1+i%) to get its present value. We call this the discounting factor. The ‘i’, in this case, is the interest you could get. For the sake of this article, we will not go into the nitty-gritty of it but when it comes to the Black Scholes Model, the discounting factor is (e-rT). All right! So far we have realised that the option price can be affected by the underlying asset price. The time to expiry as well as the Exercise price, i.e. the Strike price. We also have to take into account the volatility of the underlying asset. Why is that important? Let’s say that there are two stocks, A and B. If you are buying a European call Option, you would be concerned about how far the price can go at the time of expiry, either high or lower than the strike price. This can be deduced by finding the volatility ie the standard deviation of log normal returns. Let us list them down now. • S = Stock price • N() = Cumulative Standard normal distribution • K = Strike price of the option • t = time till the option expires • r = risk-free rate of interest • e= exponential term ie 2.7183 • C= option price For the sake of simplicity, we are considering the underlying asset to be a stock and the stock option is a European Call option. The reason we are using a European Call Option is that this option can only be exercised at the time of expiry and not before. Now we can move to the actual formula which looks like this. $$C = S*N(d_1) - K*e^{-rt}*N(d_2)$$ Now what is d1 and d2? Let me lay down the values before I try to explain it. Thus, $$d_1 = \frac{ln \frac{S}{K}+(r + \frac{s^2}{2})t}{s {\sqrt t}}$$ and $$d_1 = \frac{ln \frac{S}{K}+(r - \frac{s^2}{2})t}{s {\sqrt t}}$$ Where, s = standard deviation of log returns and ln = natural logarithm While the actual derivation of these terms is somewhat lengthy and entails a deep dive into statistics, we can see that we are using the same terms and more importantly we are taking the natural log of the ratio of the stock price and the exercise price. Coming back to the main formula, we can actually divide it into two parts, The first part, S*N(d1) is what you get ie the underlying stock if we decide to exercise our right to buy the stock. The second part, K*e(-rt)*N(d2) is what you have to pay to receive that option. Thus the exercise price, i.e. K is multiplied by the discounting factor e(-rt) as this is the amount which we could have invested in a riskless asset instead of buying the option. The cumulative standard normal distribution function i.e. N() gives us the probability values for the expected values. Think of it as a probability value between 0 and 1. Thus you would now understand why we subtract the second part of the equation from the first to get the Option price. That’s all there is to the option pricing model. You can simply put the values in the equation and find the Option price. And depending on different options trading strategies, you can create a risk-neutral portfolio for yourself. All right, hold on. Sure, we can get all the values of the variables, but what about volatility. How do you gauge the volatility of the underlying asset? Well, the first thought that came to your mind is correct, we look up the historical prices, calculate their log normal returns and easily find the volatility. Then we assume that historical volatility will be more or less similar to the future volatility and thus calculate the options price on it. But, there is another way to go about it, which seems like a shortcut. You see, if you check the options data for any stock, you will find a dozen of them at various strike prices, option prices etc. Now, we can use the option price which the market believes is the right price and use it as our “C” in the Black-Scholes equation to find the volatility. This is called the Implied volatility. You can check out this article which goes in-depth about the concept. Awesome! We have understood how the Black Scholes Equation works for a European Call Option. Now let’s see if we can implement this in Python. ## Black Scholes in Python If you want to find the current options data using python, you can use yahoo finance module to extract the relevant options data for a company. import yfinance as yf # Import yahoo finance module tesla = yf.Ticker("TSLA") # Passing Tesla Inc. ticker opt = tesla.option_chain('2022-06-17') #retreiving option chains data for 17 June 2022  To see the option calls, you will input the following code opt.calls Similarly for put options, you use the following code opt.puts Now, we could probably code a few lines to implement the formula in Python, but the great thing about Python is its extensive use of libraries. Thus, we have the python library, mibian which makes it extremely easy to deduce the option prices. The python code is simply, BS([underlyingPrice, strikePrice, interestRate, daysToExpiration], volatility=x, callPrice=y, putPrice=z) The syntax for BS function with the input as volatility along with the list storing an underlying price, strike price, interest rate and days to expiration: c = mibian.BS([427.53, 300, 0.25, 4], volatility=60) Here, we have taken our example of Tesla and input the Underlying price as$427.53, the exercise or Strike price as \$300, Risk-free interest rate as 0.25% and days until expiration as 4.

We have put the volatility figure as 60%.

Now, if we need to find the Option call price of Tesla, we will just write the following

c.callPrice

The output is:

127.53821909748126

What do you think? Is the Black Scholes model right? Why don’t you try finding the options call price for another stock and leave the details in the comments.

All right! We have looked at the formula as well as its implementation in Python. Now we move on to the next topic, i.e. the limitations of the model.

## Limitations

Before we list down the limitations of the Black Scholes Model, we have to understand that the creators of this model had to sacrifice a few things before they could build a working model. Having said that, let us list down the limitations:

• Volatility and the risk-free rate of returns are assumed to be constant even though it is dynamic in reality
• The stock price is assumed to be a random walk and thus large price moves due to certain factors like earnings reports, mergers and acquisitions are not incorporated in the model
• In case of stocks which pay dividends during the period we have calculated the options price, the model doesn’t take the dividend into account, thus not correctly pricing the option
• While the pricing of in the money and out of the money options are accurate, it tends to deviate sharply when it comes to pricing deep out of the money options
• While other factors are directly observed and calculated, volatility has to be estimated and thus, could lead to different option prices

Ok, we went through the limitations of the model, but are there ways to overcome these? OR maybe a more efficient model. Let’s see that in the next section.

## Variants to overcome BSM

One of the better alternatives to the Black Scholes model is the Heston model of option pricing. This model assumes that volatility is not constant but arbitrary. It also allows for volatility to be mean reverting, which is closer to the real scenario than the Black Scholes model.

While Heston's model deserves an article to itself, I will list the equation below.

$$dS = μS dt +{\sqrt v_t} S * dW_t^S$$

Here,

Vt is the instantaneous variance.

And,

$$dv_t = k(θ-v_t ) dt +ξ{\sqrt v_t} * dW_t^v$$

Here,

• ξ is the volatility of volatility
• k is the rate at which vt returns to 0
• θ is the long run price variance
• W is the Weiner processes which is supposed to be continuous random walks

This does look daunting but it is more efficient than the Black Scholes pricing model.

All right. We looked into one of the alternatives of the Black Scholes Model.

## Conclusion

The Black Scholes model was a turning point for the options world who finally had a mathematical foundation to build their options portfolios. The Black Scholes model also gave rise to a number of option hedging strategies which are still being implemented today. In this article, we covered the significance as well as the formula of the black Scholes model. We have also gone ahead and looked at the python code for the Black Scholes model and how to use it to calculate the European option call price. You can try out your own option trading strategies by starting the options trading learning track on Quantra to start trading.

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