Alternative Methods for Value-at-Risk Estimation : A Study from a Regulatory Perspective Focused on the Swedish Market

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)


The importance of sound financial risk management has become increasingly emphasised in recent years, especially with the financial crisis of 2007-08. The Basel Committee sets the international standards and regulations for banks and financial institutions, and in particular under market risk, they prescribe the internal application of the measure Value-at-Risk. However, the most established non-parametric Value-at-Risk model, historical simulation, has been criticised for some of its unrealistic assumptions. This thesis investigates alternative approaches for estimating non-parametric Value-at-Risk, by examining and comparing the capability of three counterbalancing weighting methodologies for historical simulation: an exponentially decreasing time weighting approach, a volatility updating method and, lastly, a more general weighting approach that enables the specification of central moments of a return distribution. With real financial data, the models are evaluated from a performance based perspective, in terms of accuracy and capital efficiency, but also in terms of their regulatory suitability, with a particular focus on the Swedish market. The empirical study shows that the capability of historical simulation is improved significantly, from both performance perspectives, by the implementation of a weighting methodology. Furthermore, the results predominantly indicate that the volatility updating model with a 500-day historical observation window is the most adequate weighting methodology, in all incorporated aspects. The findings of this paper offer significant input both to existing research on Value-at-Risk as well as to the quality of the internal market risk management of banks and financial institutions.

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