- Financial Institutions Center Calculating...

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Financial Institutions Center Calculating Value-at-Risk by William Fallon 96-49
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THE WHARTON FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CENTER The Wharton Financial Institutions Center provides a multi-disciplinary research approach to the problems and opportunities facing the financial services industry in its search for competitive excellence. The Center's research focuses on the issues related to managing risk at the firm level as well as ways to improve productivity and performance. The Center fosters the development of a community of faculty, visiting scholars and Ph.D. candidates whose research interests complement and support the mission of the Center. The Center works closely with industry executives and practitioners to ensure that its research is informed by the operating realities and competitive demands facing industry participants as they pursue competitive excellence. Copies of the working papers summarized here are available from the Center. If you would like to learn more about the Center or become a member of our research community, please let us know of your interest. Anthony M. Santomero Director The Working Paper Series is made possible by a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
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William Fallon is at Columbia University, 401 Route 22 West, #29C, North Plainfield, NJ 07060, email:[email protected] I thank Suresh Sundaresan for comments without implication. This paper was presented at the Wharton Financial Institutions Center's conference on Risk Management in Banking, October 13-15, 1996. Calculating Value-at-Risk 1 January 22, 1996 Abstract: The market risk of a portfolio refers to the possibility of financial loss due to the joint movement of systematic economic variables such as interest and exchange rates. Quantifying market risk is important to regulators in assessing solvency and to risk managers in allocating scarce capital. Moreover, market risk is often the central risk faced by financial institutions. The standard method for measuring market risk places a conservative, one-sided confidence interval on portfolio losses for short forecast horizons. This bound on losses is often called capital-at-risk or value-at-risk (VAR), for obvious reasons. Calculating the VAR or any similar risk metric requires a probability distribution of changes in portfolio value. In most risk management models, this distribution is derived by placing assumptions on (1) how the portfolio function is approximated, and (2) how the state variables are modeled. Using this framework, we first review four methods for measuring market risk. We then develop and illustrate two new market risk measurement models that use a second-order approximation to the portfolio function and a multivariate GARCH(l,1) model for the state variables. We show that when changes in the state variables are modeled as conditional or unconditional multivariate normal, first-order approximations to the portfolio function yield a univariate normal for the change in portfolio value while second-order approximations yield a quadratic normal.
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