Operational risk

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Basel II

Bank for International Settlements
Basel Accord - Basel I
Basel II


Monetary policy - Central bank
Risk - Risk management
Regulatory capital
Tier 1 - Tier 2

Pillar 1: Regulatory Capital

Credit risk
Standardized - F-IRB - A-IRB
Operational risk
Basic - Standardized - AMA
Market risk
Duration - Value at risk

Pillar 2: Supervisory Review

Economic capital
Liquidity risk - Legal risk

Pillar 3: Market Disclosure


Business and Economics Portal

An operational risk is a risk arising from execution of a company's business functions. As such, it is a very broad concept including e.g. fraud risks, legal risks, physical or environmental risks, etc. The term operational risk is most commonly found in risk management programs of financial institutions that must organize their risk management program according to Basel II. In Basel II, risk management is divided into credit, market and operational risk management. In many cases, credit and market risks are handled through a company's financial department, whereas operational risk management is perhaps coordinated centrally but most commonly implemented in different operational units (e.g. the IT department takes care of information risks, the HR department takes care of personnel risks, etc)

More specifically, Basel II defines operational risk as the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems, or from external events. Although the risks apply to any organisation in business, this particular way of framing risk management is of particular relevance to the banking regime where regulators are responsible for establishing safeguards to protect against systemic failure of the banking system and the economy.


[edit] Background

Since the mid-1990s, the topics of market risk and credit risk have been the subject of much debate and research, with the result that financial institutions have made significant progress in the identification, measurement and management of both these forms of risk.

Globalization and deregulation in financial markets, combined with increased sophistication in financial technology, have introduced more complexities into the activities of banks and therefore their risk profiles. These reasons underscore banks' and supervisors' growing focus upon the identification and measurement of operational risk.

Events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks, rogue trading losses at Societe Generale, Barings, AIB and National Australia Bank serve to highlight the fact that the scope of risk management extends beyond merely market and credit risk.

The list of risks (and, more importantly, the scale of these risks) faced by banks today includes fraud, system failures, terrorism and employee compensation claims. These types of risk are generally classified under the term 'operational risk'.

The identification and measurement of operational risk is a real and live issue for modern-day banks, particularly since the decision by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) to introduce a capital charge for this risk as part of the new capital adequacy framework (Basel II).

[edit] Definition

The Basel Committee defines operational risk as:

"The risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems or from external events."

However, the Basel Committee recognizes that operational risk is a term that has a variety of meanings and therefore, for internal purposes, banks are permitted to adopt their own definitions of operational risk, provided the minimum elements in the Committee's definition are included.

[edit] Scope exclusions

The Basel II definition of operational risk excludes, for example, strategic risk - the risk of a loss arising from a poor strategic business decision.

Other risk terms are seen as potential consequences of operational risk events. For example, reputational risk (damage to an organisation through loss of its reputation or standing) can arise as a consequence (or impact) of operational failures - as well as from other events.

[edit] Basel II event type categories

The following lists the official Basel II defined event types with some examples for each category:

  1. Internal Fraud - misappropriation of assets, tax evasion, intentional mismarking of positions, [bribery]
  2. External Fraud- theft of information, hacking damage, third-party theft and forgery
  3. Employment Practices and Workplace Safety - discrimination, workers compensation, employee health and safety
  4. Clients, Products, & Business Practice- market manipulation, antitrust, improper trade, product defects, fiduciary breaches, account churning
  5. Damage to Physical Assets - natural disasters, terrorism, vandalism
  6. Business Disruption & Systems Failures - utility disruptions, software failures, hardware failures
  7. Execution, Delivery, & Process Management - data entry errors, accounting errors, failed mandatory reporting, negligent loss of client assets

[edit] Difficulties

It is relatively straightforward for an organisation to set and observe specific, measurable levels of market risk and credit risk. By contrast it is relatively difficult to identify or assess levels of operational risk and its many sources. Historically organisations have accepted operational risk as an unavoidable cost of doing business.

[edit] Methods of operational risk management

Basel II and various Supervisory bodies of the countries have prescribed various soundness standards for Operational Risk Management for Banks and similar Financial Institutions. To complement these standards, Basel II has given guidance to 3 broad methods of Capital calculation for Operational Risk

  • Basic Indicator Approach - based on annual revenue of the Financial Institution
  • Standardised Approach - based on annual revenue of each of the broad business lines of the Financial Institution
  • Advanced Measurement Approaches - based on the internally developed risk measurement framework of the bank adhering to the standards prescribed (methods include IMA, LDA, Scenario-based, Scorecard etc.)

The Operational Risk Management framework should include identification, measurement, monitoring, reporting, control and mitigation frameworks for Operational Risk.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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