Lecture 7: Value At Risk (VAR) Models. Ken Abbott. Developed for educational use at MIT and for publication through MIT OpenCourseware. No investment. the VaR on an asset is $ million at a one-week, 95% confidence level, While Value at Risk can be used by any entity to measure its risk exposure, it is. Value at risk (VaR) is a measure of the risk of loss for investments. It estimates how much a set of investments might lose (with a given probability), given normal market conditions, in a set time period such as a day.‎Mathematical definition · ‎Risk measure and risk · ‎VaR risk management · ‎History.


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There are many alternative risk measures in finance. Given the inability to use mark-to-market which uses market prices to define loss for future performance, loss is often defined as a substitute as change in fundamental value. For example, if an institution holds a loan that declines in market price because interest rates go up, but has no change in cash flows or credit quality, some systems value at risk not recognize a loss.


Also some try to incorporate the economic cost of harm not measured in daily financial statementssuch as loss of market confidence or employee morale, impairment of brand names or lawsuits. A common alternative metrics is expected shortfall. InPhilippe Jorion wrote: Institutions that go through the process of computing their VAR are forced to confront their exposure to financial risks and to set up a proper risk management function.

Thus the process of getting value at risk VAR may be as important as the number itself. Publishing a daily number, on-time and with value at risk statistical properties holds every part of a trading organization to a high objective standard.

Robust backup systems and default assumptions must be implemented.


Positions that are value at risk, modeled or priced incorrectly stand out, as do data feeds that are inaccurate or late and systems that are too-frequently down. Anything that affects profit and loss that is left out of other reports value at risk show up either in inflated VaR or excessive VaR breaks.

Inside the VaR limit, conventional statistical methods are reliable. Relatively short-term and specific data can be used for analysis.

Value at Risk - Learn About Assessing and Calculating VAR

Probability estimates are meaningful, because there are enough data to test them. In a sense, value at risk is no true risk because you have a sum of many independent observations value at risk a left bound on the outcome. A casino doesn't worry about whether red or black will come up on the next roulette spin.

Risk managers encourage productive risk-taking in this regime, because there is little true cost. People tend to worry too much about these risks, because they happen frequently, and not enough about value at risk might happen on the worst days.

Value At Risk - VaR

Risk should be analyzed with stress testing based on long-term and broad market data. The risk manager should concentrate instead on making sure good plans are in place to limit the value at risk if possible, and to survive the loss if not.

You expect periodic VaR breaks. The loss distribution typically has value at risk tailsand you might get more than one break in a short period of time.

Value at risk

Moreover, markets may be abnormal and trading may exacerbate losses, and value at risk may take losses not measured in daily marks such as lawsuits, loss of employee morale and market confidence and impairment of brand names.

So value at risk institution that can't deal with three times VaR losses as routine events probably won't survive long enough to put a VaR system in place. Three to ten times VaR is the range for stress testing.

Institutions should be confident they have examined all the foreseeable events that will cause losses in this range, and are prepared to survive them. Foreseeable events should not cause losses beyond ten times VaR.