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Do banks overstate their Value-at-Risk?

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  • Pérignon, Christophe
  • Deng, Zi Yin
  • Wang, Zhi Jun
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    Abstract

    This paper is the first empirical study of banks' risk management systems based on non-anonymous daily Value-at-Risk (VaR) and profit-and-loss data. Using actual data from the six largest Canadian commercial banks, we uncover evidence that banks exhibit a systematic excess of conservatism in their VaR estimates. The data used in this paper have been extracted from the banks' annual reports using an innovative Matlab-based data extraction method. Out of the 7354 trading days analyzed in this study, there are only two exceptions, i.e. days when the actual loss exceeds the disclosed VaR, whereas the expected number of exceptions with a 99% VaR is 74. For each sample bank, we extract from historical VaRs a risk-overstatement coefficient, ranging between 19 and 79%. We attribute VaR overstatement to several factors, including extreme cautiousness and underestimation of diversification effects when aggregating VaRs across business lines and/or risk categories. We also discuss the economic and social cost of reporting inflated VaRs.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Banking & Finance.

    Volume (Year): 32 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 783-794

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jbfina:v:32:y:2008:i:5:p:783-794

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jbf

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    References

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    1. Paul H. Kupiec, 1995. "Techniques for verifying the accuracy of risk measurement models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    12. M.J.B. Hall, 1996. "The amendment to the capital accord to incorporate market risk," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 49(197), pages 271-277.
    13. Philippe Artzner & Freddy Delbaen & Jean-Marc Eber & David Heath, 1999. "Coherent Measures of Risk," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(3), pages 203-228.
    14. Sean D. Campbell, 2005. "A review of backtesting and backtesting procedures," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-21, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    16. Colleen Cassidy & Marianne Gizycki, 1997. "Measuring Traded Market Risk: Value-at-risk and Backtesting Techniques," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp9708, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    17. Leippold, Markus & Trojani, Fabio & Vanini, Paolo, 2006. "Equilibrium impact of value-at-risk regulation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1277-1313, August.
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