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Risk Management: The State of the Art

Risk Management: The State of the Art

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Very often, we associate the dawn of modern financial theory with Harry Markowitz who in the 1950s introduced the formal mathematics of probability theory to the problem of managing risk in an asset portfolio. The 1970s saw the advent of formal models for pricing options and other derivative contracts, whose primary purpose was also financial risk management and hedging. But events in the 1990s made it clear that effective risk management is a critical element for success, and indeed, for long term survival, not only for financial institutions, but also for industrial firms, and even for nonprofit organizations and governmental bodies. These recent events vividly show that the world is filled with all manner of risks, and so risk management must extendfar beyond the use of standard derivative instruments in routine hedging applications. The articles in this volume cover two broad themes. One theme emphasizes methods for identifying, modeling, and hedging specific types of financial and business risks. Articles in this category consider the technology of risk measurement, such as Value at Risk and extreme value theory; new classes of risk, such as liquidity risk; new financial instruments and markets for risk management, such as derivative contracts based on weather and on catastrophic insurance risks; and finally, credit risk, which has become one of the most important areas of practical interest for risk management. The second theme stresses risk management from the perspective of the firm and the financial system as a whole. Articles in this category analyze risk management in the international arena, including payment and settlement risks and sovereign risk pricing, risk management from the regulator's viewpoint, and risk management for financial institutions. The articles in this volume examine the "State of the Art" in risk management from the standpoint of academic researchers, market analysts and practitioners, and government observers.