What Is the Heath-Jarrow-Morton (HJM) Model?

What Is the Heath-Jarrow-Morton (HJM) Model?

3 Min.

The Heath-Jarrow-Morton Model (HJM Model) is a mathematical tool that uses a differential equation to model forward interest rates while accounting for randomness. These rates are then used to determine appropriate prices for interest-rate sensitive securities, such as bonds or swaps, based on the existing term structure of interest rates. The model is mainly used by arbitrageurs seeking opportunities and analysts pricing derivatives.


Modeling forward interest rates is the primary function of the Heath-Jarrow-Morton Model (HJM Model). This model establishes a connection with the prevailing term structure of interest rates, enabling the calculation of accurate prices for securities sensitive to interest rate fluctuations.

Formula for the HJM Model

The fundamental formula guiding the HJM model and its derivatives is expressed as follows:


Deciphering the Implications of the HJM Model

The Heath-Jarrow-Morton Model, rooted in the collaborative efforts of economists David Heath, Robert Jarrow, and Andrew Morton during the 1980s, operates as a highly theoretical tool in advanced financial analysis. Primarily utilized by arbitrageurs identifying arbitrage prospects and analysts valuing derivatives, the model prognosticates forward interest rates. This prediction begins with the summation of drift and diffusion terms, where the HJM drift condition impels the forward rate drift through volatility.

The foundational trio authored pivotal papers, including "Bond Pricing and the Term Structure of Interest Rates: A Discrete Time Approximation," "Contingent Claims Valuation with a Random Evolution of Interest Rates," and "Bond Pricing and the Term Structure of Interest Rates: A New Methodology for Contingent Claims Valuation," laying the groundwork for the model.

Expanding on the HJM Framework, various derivative models aim to forecast the entire forward rate curve rather than specific points. A key challenge, however, lies in the infinite dimensions inherent to HJM Models, posing significant computational complexities. Efforts persist to encapsulate the HJM Model within a finite state through alternative models.

HJM Model in the Realm of Option Pricing

In option pricing, the HJM Model finds utility in determining the equitable value of derivative contracts. Trading institutions strategically employ option pricing models to assess the fair value of options, identifying instances of under- or overvaluation.

Option pricing models, grounded in mathematical frameworks, leverage known inputs and predicted values like implied volatility to ascertain the theoretical worth of options. Traders utilize these models to gauge prices at specific points in time, adjusting calculations as risks evolve.

In the context of an HJM Model, computing the value of an interest rate swap involves initiating a discount curve derived from prevailing option prices. This curve, in turn, yields forward rates. Incorporating the input of volatility in forwarding interest rates facilitates the determination of drift, provided the volatility is known.


The Heath-Jarrow-Morton Model (HJM) is a powerful mathematical tool for modeling forward interest rates with consideration for randomness. Used by arbitrageurs and analysts, it calculates precise prices for interest-rate-sensitive securities by connecting with the term structure of interest rates. The model, developed by economists David Heath, Robert Jarrow, and Andrew Morton, has influenced various derivative models. Despite computational challenges, ongoing efforts aim to encapsulate the HJM Model within finite states through alternative models.

Heath-Jarrow-Morton (HJM) Model
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