Understanding the Volatility Mismatch in SABR Calibration


When it comes to calibrating the SABR (Stochastic Alpha Beta Rho) model, one of the most common challenges that traders and risk managers face is the volatility mismatch. In this blog post, we will dive into the concept of volatility mismatch, its causes, and potential solutions.

What is Volatility Mismatch?

Volatility mismatch occurs when the implied volatility derived from the options market does not match the volatility implied by the SABR model. The SABR model is widely used to price and hedge options, especially in the interest rate derivatives market.

The SABR model assumes that the volatility of the underlying asset follows a stochastic process, which is parameterized by the SABR parameters – alpha, beta, rho, and vol-of-vol. These parameters are usually calibrated to match the observed implied volatilities in the options market.

Causes of Volatility Mismatch

There are several factors that can contribute to volatility mismatch in SABR calibration:

  • Market Conditions: Volatility mismatch can occur when the market conditions change rapidly, and the SABR model fails to capture the dynamics of the underlying asset’s volatility.
  • Skew and Smile: The SABR model assumes a log-normal distribution of the underlying asset’s volatility. However, in reality, the options market often exhibits skewness and smile, which can lead to a mismatch between the implied volatility and the SABR model’s implied volatility.
  • Parameterization: The choice of SABR parameters can also contribute to volatility mismatch. If the parameters are not properly calibrated or if they do not capture the market dynamics accurately, the resulting implied volatility may not match the observed implied volatilities.

Solutions to Volatility Mismatch

There are several approaches that traders and risk managers can take to address the volatility mismatch in SABR calibration:

  • Model Adjustments: One approach is to introduce adjustments to the SABR model to better capture the market dynamics. This can involve modifying the SABR parameters or incorporating additional factors into the model.
  • Local Volatility Models: Another approach is to use local volatility models, such as the Dupire or the Derman-Kani models, which aim to capture the volatility smile and skewness observed in the options market.
  • Hybrid Models: Hybrid models combine the SABR model with other models, such as local volatility or stochastic volatility models, to address the volatility mismatch. These models offer a more flexible framework for pricing and hedging options.


Volatility mismatch is a common challenge in SABR calibration. Understanding the causes of volatility mismatch and exploring the various solutions available can help traders and risk managers improve their calibration processes and better capture the dynamics of the options market. Whether through model adjustments, local volatility models, or hybrid models, finding the right approach to address volatility mismatch is crucial for accurate pricing and risk management in the derivatives market.

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