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Model-Based Stress Tests: Linking Stress Tests to VaR for Market Risk


  • Carol Alexander

    () (ICMA Centre, University of Reading)

  • Elizabeth Sheedy

    (Macquarie Applied Finance Centre, Macquarie University, Sydney)


Under the new capital accord stress tests are to be included in market risk regulatory capital calculations. This development necessitates a coherent and objective framework for stress testing portfolios exposed to market risk. Following recent criticism of stress testing methods our tests are conducted in the context of risk models, building on the VaR literature. First, to identify the most suitable risk models for stress testing, we apply an extensive back testing procedure that focuses on extreme market movements. We consider eight possible risk models including both conditional and unconditional models and four possible return distributions (normal, Student’s t, empirical and normal mixture) applied to three heavily traded currency pairs using a sample of daily data spanning more than 20 years. Finding that risk models accommodating both volatility clustering and heavy tails are the most accurate predictors of extreme returns, we develop a corresponding model-based stress testing methodology. Our results are compared with traditional stress tests and we assess the implications for capital adequacy. On the basis of our results we conclude that the new recommendations for market risk regulatory capital calculation will have little impact on current levels of foreign exchange regulatory capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Alexander & Elizabeth Sheedy, 2007. "Model-Based Stress Tests: Linking Stress Tests to VaR for Market Risk," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2007-02, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:icmadp:icma-dp2007-02

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    Cited by:

    1. Allan Brace & Mark Lauer & Milo Rado, 2008. "A Stylised Model for Extreme Shocks: Four Moments of the Apocalypse," Research Paper Series 224, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
    2. Ali, Asghar & Daly, Kevin, 2010. "Macroeconomic determinants of credit risk: Recent evidence from a cross country study," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 165-171, June.

    More about this item


    Value-at-risk models; stress testing; market risk; exhange rates; GARCH;

    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G19 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Other
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages


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