Expected shortfall and beyond
Financial institutions have to allocate so-called "economic capital" in order to guarantee solvency to their clients and counter parties. Mathematically speaking, any methodology of allocating capital is a "risk measure", i.e. a function mapping random variables to the real numbers. Nowadays "value-at-risk", which is defined as a fixed level quantile of the random variable under consideration, is the most popular risk measure. Unfortunately, it fails to reward diversification, as it is not "subadditive". In the search for a suitable alternative to value-at-risk, "Expected Shortfall" (or "conditional value-at-risk" or "tail value-at-risk") has been characterized as the smallest "coherent" and "law invariant" risk measure to dominate value-at-risk. We discuss these and some other properties of Expected Shortfall as well as its generalization to a class of coherent risk measures which can incorporate higher moment effects. Moreover, we suggest a general method on how to attribute Expected Shortfall "risk contributions" to portfolio components. Key words: Expected Shortfall; Value-at-Risk; Spectral Risk Measure; coherence; risk contribution.
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