Economic Policy Review

Bank Capital Requirements for Market Risk: The Internal Models Approach

December 1997Volume 3, Number 4
JEL classification: G21, G28

Authors: Darryll Hendricks and Beverly Hirtle

The increases prominence of trading activities at many large banking companies has highlighted bank exposure to market risk-the risk of loss from adverse movements in financial market rates and prices. In response, bank supervisors in the United States and abroad have developed a new set of capital requirements to ensure that banks have adequate capital resources to address market risk. This paper offers an overview of the new requirements, giving particular attention to their most innovative feature: a capital charge calculated for each bank using the output of that bank’s internal risk measurement model. The authors contend that the use of internal models should lead to regulatory capital charges that conform more closely to banks’ true risk exposures. In addition, the information generated by the models should allow supervisors and market participants to compare risk exposures over time and across institutions.

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