Fast and simple method for pricing exotic options using Gauss–Hermite quadrature on a cubic spline interpolation

Xiaolin Luo, Pavel V. Shevchenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a vast literature on numerical valuation of exotic options using Monte Carlo (MC), binomial and trinomial trees, and finite difference methods. When transition density of the underlying asset or its moments are known in closed form, it can be convenient and more efficient to utilize direct integration methods to calculate the required option price expectations in a backward time-stepping algorithm. This paper presents a simple, robust and efficient algorithm that can be applied for pricing many exotic options by computing the expectations using Gauss–Hermite integration quadrature applied on a cubic spline interpolation. The algorithm is fully explicit but does not suffer the inherent instability of the explicit finite difference counterpart. A "free" bonus of the algorithm is that it already contains the function for fast and accurate interpolation of multiple solutions required by many discretely monitored path dependent options. For illustrations, we present examples of pricing a series of American options with either Bermudan or continuous exercise features, and a series of exotic path-dependent options of target accumulation redemption note (TARN). Results of the new method are compared with MC and finite difference methods, including some of the most advanced or best known finite difference algorithms in the literature. The comparison shows that, despite its simplicity, the new method can rival with some of the best finite difference algorithms in accuracy and at the same time it is significantly faster. Virtually the same algorithm can be applied to price other path-dependent financial contracts such as Asian options and variable annuities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450033-1-1450033-31
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of financial engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Exotic options
  • Gauss–Hermite quadrature
  • cubic spline
  • finite difference method
  • American option
  • Bermudan option
  • target accumulation redemption note
  • GMWB variable annuity

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