Financial risk

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Financial risk is any of various types of risk associated with financing, including financial transactions that include company loans in risk of default. [1] [2] Often it is understood to include only downside risk, meaning the potential for financial loss and uncertainty about its extent. [3] [4]

Contents

A science has evolved around managing market and financial risk under the general title of modern portfolio theory initiated by Dr. Harry Markowitz in 1952 with his article, "Portfolio Selection". [5] In modern portfolio theory, the variance (or standard deviation) of a portfolio is used as the definition of risk.

Types

Market risk

The four standard market risk factors are equity risk, interest rate risk, currency risk, and commodity risk:

Equity risk is the risk that stock prices in general (not related to a particular company or industry) or the implied volatility will change. When it comes to long-term investing, equities provide a return that will hopefully exceed the risk free rate of return [6] The difference between return and the risk free rate is known as the equity risk premium. When investing in equity, it is said that higher risk provides higher returns. Hypothetically, an investor will be compensated for bearing more risk and thus will have more incentive to invest in riskier stock. A significant portion of high risk/ high return investments come from emerging markets that are perceived as volatile.

Interest rate risk is the risk that interest rates or the implied volatility will change. The change in market rates and their impact on the probability of a bank, lead to interest rate risk. [7] Interest rate risk can affect the financial position of a bank and may create unfavorable financial results. [7] The potential for the interest rate to change at any given time can have either positive or negative effects for the bank and the consumer. If a bank gives out a 30-year mortgage at a rate of 4% and the interest rate rises to 6%, the bank loses and the consumer wins. This is an opportunity cost for the bank and a reason why the bank could be affected financially.

Currency risk is the risk that foreign exchange rates or the implied volatility will change, which affects, for example, the value of an asset held in that currency. Currency fluctuations in the marketplace can have a drastic impact on an international firm's value because of the price effect on domestic and foreign goods, as well as the value of foreign currency denominate assets and liabilities. [8] When a currency appreciates or depreciates, a firm can be at risk depending on where they are operating and what currency denominations they are holding. The fluctuation in currency markets can have effects on both the imports and exports of an international firm. For example, if the euro depreciates against the dollar, the U.S. exporters take a loss while the U.S. importers gain. This is because it takes less dollars to buy a euro and vice versa, meaning the U.S. wants to buy goods and the EU is willing to sell them; it's to expensive for the EU to import from U.S. at this time.

Commodity risk is the risk that commodity prices (e.g. corn, copper, crude oil) or implied volatility will change. There is too much variation between the amount of risks producers and consumers of commodities face in order to have a helpful framework or guide. [9]

Model risk

Financial risk measurement, pricing of financial instruments, and portfolio selection are all based on statistical models. If the model is wrong, risk numbers, prices, or optimal portfolios are wrong. Model risk quantifies the consequences of using the wrong models in risk measurement, pricing, or portfolio selection.

The main element of a statistical model in finance is a risk factor distribution. Recent papers treat the factor distribution as unknown random variable and measuring risk of model misspecification. Jokhadze and Schmidt (2018) propose practical model risk measurement framework. [10] They introduce superposed risk measures that incorporate model risk and enables consistent market and model risk management. Further, they provide axioms of model risk measures and define several practical examples of superposed model risk measures in the context of financial risk management and contingent claim pricing.

Credit risk

Credit risk management is a profession that focuses on reducing and preventing losses by understanding and measuring the probability of those losses. Credit risk management is used by banks, credit lenders, and other financial institutions to mitigate losses primarily associates with nonpayment of loans. A credit risk occurs when there is potential that a borrower may default or miss on an obligation as stated in a contract between the financial institution and the borrower.

Attaining good customer data is an essential factor for managing credit risk. Gathering the right information and building the right relationships with the selected customer base is crucial for business risk strategy. In order to identify potential issues and risks that may arise in the future, analyzing financial and nonfinancial information pertaining to the customer is critical. Risks such as that in business, industry of investment, and management risks are to be evaluated. Credit risk management evaluates the company's financial statements and analyzes the company's decision making when it comes to financial choices. Furthermore, credit risks management analyzes where and how the loan will be utilized and when the expected repayment of the loan is as well as the reason behind the company's need to borrow the loan.

Expected Loss (EL) is a concept used for Credit Risk Management to measure the average potential rate of losses that a company accounts for over a specific period of time. The expected credit loss is formulated using the formula:

Expected Loss = Expected Exposure X Expected Default X Expected Severity

Expected Exposure refers to exposure expected during the credit event. Some factors impacting expected exposure include expected future events and the type of credit transaction. Expected Default is a risk calculated for the number of times a default will likely occur from the borrower. Expected Severity refers to the total cost incurred in the event a default occurs. This total loss includes loan principle and interests. Unlike Expected Loss, organizations have to hold capital for Unexpected Losses. Unexpected Losses represent losses where an organization will need to predict an average rate of loss. It is considered the most critical type of losses as it represents the instability and unpredictability of true losses that may be encountered at a given timeframe. [11] [12] [13] [14]

    Liquidity risk

    This is the risk that a given security or asset cannot be traded quickly enough in the market to prevent a loss (or make the required profit). There are two types of liquidity risk:

    Operational risk

    Operational risk means the risk that a company or individual has to face due their own operation and decisions made for the investment

    Other risks

    Diversification

    Financial risk, market risk, and even inflation risk can at least partially be moderated by forms of diversification.

    The returns from different assets are highly unlikely to be perfectly correlated and the correlation may sometimes be negative. For instance, an increase in the price of oil will often favour a company that produces it, [15] but negatively impact the business of a firm such an airline whose variable costs are heavily based upon fuel. [16] However, share prices are driven by many factors, such as the general health of the economy which will increase the correlation and reduce the benefit of diversification. If one constructs a portfolio by including a wide variety of equities, it will tend to exhibit the same risk and return characteristics as the market as a whole, which many investors see as an attractive prospect, so that index funds have been developed that invest in equities in proportion to the weighting they have in some well-known index such as the FTSE.

    However, history shows that even over substantial periods of time there is a wide range of returns that an index fund may experience; so an index fund by itself is not "fully diversified". Greater diversification can be obtained by diversifying across asset classes; for instance a portfolio of many bonds and many equities can be constructed in order to further narrow the dispersion of possible portfolio outcomes.

    A key issue in diversification is the correlation between assets, the benefits increasing with lower correlation. However this is not an observable quantity, since the future return on any asset can never be known with complete certainty. This was a serious issue in the late-2000s recession when assets that had previously had small or even negative correlations[ citation needed ] suddenly starting moving in the same direction causing severe financial stress to market participants who had believed that their diversification would protect them against any plausible market conditions, including funds that had been explicitly set up to avoid being affected in this way. [17]

    Diversification has costs. Correlations must be identified and understood, and since they are not constant it may be necessary to rebalance the portfolio which incurs transaction costs due to buying and selling assets. There is also the risk that as an investor or fund manager diversifies, their ability to monitor and understand the assets may decline leading to the possibility of losses due to poor decisions or unforeseen correlations.

    Hedging

    Hedging is a method for reducing risk where a combination of assets are selected to offset the movements of each other. For instance, when investing in a stock it is possible to buy an option to sell that stock at a defined price at some point in the future. The combined portfolio of stock and option is now much less likely to move below a given value. As in diversification there is a cost, this time in buying the option for which there is a premium. Derivatives are used extensively to mitigate many types of risk. [18]

    According to the article from Investopedia, a hedge is an investment designed to reduce the risk of adverse price movements in an asset. Typically, a hedge consists of taking a counter-position in a related financial instrument, such as a futures contract. [19]

    The Forward Contract The forward contract is a non-standard contract to buy or sell an underlying asset between two independent parties at an agreed price and date.

    The Future Contract The futures contract is a standardized contract to buy or sell an underlying asset between two independent parties at an agreed price, quantity and date.

    Option contract The Option contract is a contract gives the buyer (the owner or holder of the option) the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset or instrument at a specified strike price prior to or on a specified date, depending on the form of the option.

    ACPM - Active credit portfolio management

    EAD - Exposure at default

    EL - Expected loss

    LGD - Loss given default

    PD - Probability of default

    KMV - quantitative credit analysis solution developed by credit rating agency Moody's

    VaR - Value at Risk, a common methodology for measuring risk due to market movements

    See also

    Related Research Articles

    Derivative (finance) Financial instrument

    In finance, a derivative is a contract that derives its value from the performance of an underlying entity. This underlying entity can be an asset, index, or interest rate, and is often simply called the "underlying". Derivatives can be used for a number of purposes, including insuring against price movements (hedging), increasing exposure to price movements for speculation or getting access to otherwise hard-to-trade assets or markets. Some of the more common derivatives include forwards, futures, options, swaps, and variations of these such as synthetic collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. Most derivatives are traded over-the-counter (off-exchange) or on an exchange such as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while most insurance contracts have developed into a separate industry. In the United States, after the financial crisis of 2007–2009, there has been increased pressure to move derivatives to trade on exchanges. Derivatives are one of the three main categories of financial instruments, the other two being stocks and debt. The oldest example of a derivative in history, attested to by Aristotle, is thought to be a contract transaction of olives, entered into by ancient Greek philosopher Thales, who made a profit in the exchange. Bucket shops, outlawed in 1936, are a more recent historical example.

    Market liquidity ability of an asset to be bought or sold on the market without causing a drastic change in the assets price

    In business, economics or investment, market liquidity is a market's feature whereby an individual or firm can quickly purchase or sell an asset without causing a drastic change in the asset's price. Liquidity is about how big the trade-off is between the speed of the sale and the price it can be sold for. In a liquid market, the trade-off is mild: selling quickly will not reduce the price much. In a relatively illiquid market, selling it quickly will require cutting its price significantly enough to generate interest.

    Futures contract Standard forward contract

    In finance, a futures contract is a standardized legal agreement to buy or sell something at a predetermined price at a specified time in the future, between parties not known to each other. The asset transacted is usually a commodity or financial instrument. The predetermined price the parties agree to buy and sell the asset for is known as the forward price. The specified time in the future—which is when delivery and payment occur—is known as the delivery date. Because it is a function of an underlying asset, a futures contract is a derivative product.

    Market risk is the risk of losses in positions arising from movements in market prices. There is no unique classification as each classification may refer to different aspects of market risk. Nevertheless, the most commonly used types of market risk are:

    Hedge (finance) An investment position intended to offset potential losses or gains that may be incurred by a companion investment

    A hedge is an investment position intended to offset potential losses or gains that may be incurred by a companion investment. A hedge can be constructed from many types of financial instruments, including stocks, exchange-traded funds, insurance, forward contracts, swaps, options, gambles, many types of over-the-counter and derivative products, and futures contracts.

    A credit risk is the risk of default on a debt that may arise from a borrower failing to make required payments. In the first resort, the risk is that of the lender and includes lost principal and interest, disruption to cash flows, and increased collection costs. The loss may be complete or partial. In an efficient market, higher levels of credit risk will be associated with higher borrowing costs. Because of this, measures of borrowing costs such as yield spreads can be used to infer credit risk levels based on assessments by market participants.

    Volatility risk is the risk of a change of price of a portfolio as a result of changes in the volatility of a risk factor. It usually applies to portfolios of derivatives instruments, where the volatility of its underlying is a major influencer of prices.

    Modern portfolio theory (MPT), or mean-variance analysis, is a mathematical framework for assembling a portfolio of assets such that the expected return is maximized for a given level of risk. It is a formalization and extension of diversification in investing, the idea that owning different kinds of financial assets is less risky than owning only one type. Its key insight is that an asset's risk and return should not be assessed by itself, but by how it contributes to a portfolio's overall risk and return. It uses the variance of asset prices as a proxy for risk.

    In finance, the beta of an investment is a measure of the risk arising from exposure to general market movements as opposed to idiosyncratic factors.

    Liquidity risk is a financial risk that for a certain period of time a given financial asset, security or commodity cannot be traded quickly enough in the market without impacting the market price.

    In finance, an asset class is a group of financial instruments which have similar financial characteristics and behave similarly in the marketplace. We can often break these instruments into those having to do with real assets and those having to do with financial assets. Often, assets within the same asset class are subject to the same laws and regulations; however, this is not always true. For instance, futures on an asset are often considered part of the same asset class as the underlying instrument but are subject to different regulations than the underlying instrument.

    Risk factors(finance) are the building blocks of investing, that help explain the systematic returns in equity market, and the possibility of losing money in investments or business adventures. A risk factor is a concept in finance theory such as the CAPM, arbitrage pricing theory and other theories that use pricing kernels. In these models, the rate of return of an asset is a random variable whose realization in any time period is a linear combination of other random variables plus a disturbance term or white noise. In practice, a linear combination of observed factors included in a linear asset pricing model proxy for a linear combination of unobserved risk factors if financial market efficiency is assumed. In the Intertemporal CAPM, non-market factors proxy for changes in the investment opportunity set.

    Currency overlay is a financial trading strategy or method conducted by specialist firms who manage the currency exposures of large clients, typically institutions such as pension funds, endowments and corporate entities. Typically the institution will have a pre-existing exposure to foreign currencies, and will be seeking to:

    The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to finance:

    Treasury management includes management of an enterprise's holdings, with the ultimate goal of managing the firm's liquidity and mitigating its operational, financial and reputational risk. Treasury Management includes a firm's collections, disbursements, concentration, investment and funding activities. In larger firms, it may also include trading in bonds, currencies, financial derivatives and the associated financial risk management.

    Asset and liability management is the practice of managing financial risks that arise due to mismatches between the assets and liabilities as part of an investment strategy in financial accounting.

    A dual-currency note (DC) pays coupons in the investor's domestic currency with the notional in the issuer's domestic currency. A reverse dual-currency note (RDC) is a note which pays a foreign interest rate in the investor's domestic currency. A power reverse dual-currency note (PRDC) is a structured product where an investor is seeking a better return and a borrower a lower rate by taking advantage of the interest rate differential between two economies. The power component of the name denotes higher initial coupons and the fact that coupons rise as the foreign exchange rate depreciates. The power feature comes with a higher risk for the investor, which characterizes the product as leveraged carry trade. Cash flows may have a digital cap feature where the rate gets locked once it reaches a certain threshold. Other add-on features include barriers such as knockouts and cancel provision for the issuer. PRDCs are part of the wider Structured Notes Market.

    In finance, model risk is the risk of loss resulting from using insufficiently accurate models to make decisions, originally and frequently in the context of valuing financial securities. However, model risk is more and more prevalent in activities other than financial securities valuation, such as assigning consumer credit scores, real-time probability prediction of fraudulent credit card transactions, and computing the probability of air flight passenger being a terrorist. Rebonato in 2002 defines model risk as "the risk of occurrence of a significant difference between the mark-to-model value of a complex and/or illiquid instrument, and the price at which the same instrument is revealed to have traded in the market".

    A foreign portfolio investment is a grouping of assets such as stocks, bonds, and cash equivalents. Portfolio investments are held directly by an investor or managed by financial professionals. In economics, foreign portfolio investment is the entry of funds into a country where foreigners deposit money in a country's bank or make purchases in the country's stock and bond markets, sometimes for speculation.

    Financial stability is a property of a financial system that dissipates financial imbalances that arise endogenously in the financial markets or as a result of significant adverse and unforeseeable events. When stable, the system absorbs economic shocks primarily via self-corrective mechanisms, preventing the adverse events from disrupting the real economy or spreading over to other financial systems. Financial stability is paramount for economic growth, as most transactions in the real economy are made through the financial system.

    References

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