Risk Management Systems in Banks
Banks in the process of financial intermediation are confronted with various kinds of financial and non-financial risks viz., credit, interest rate, foreign exchange rate, liquidity, equity price, commodity price, legal, regulatory, reputational, operational, etc. These risks are highly interdependent and events that affect one area of risk can have ramifications for a range of other risk categories. Thus, top management of banks should attach considerable importance to improve the ability to identify, measure, monitor and control the overall level of risks undertaken.
The broad parameters of risk management function should encompass: i)
comprehensive risk measurement approach;
risk management policies approved by the Board which should be consistent with the broader business strategies, capital strength, management expertise and overall willingness to assume risk;
guidelines and other parameters used to govern risk taking including detailed structure of prudential limits;
strong MIS for reporting, monitoring and controlling risks;
well laid out procedures, effective control and comprehensive risk reporting framework; vii)
separate risk management framework independent of operational Departments and with clear delineation of levels of responsibility for management of risk; and viii) periodical review and evaluation.
2. Risk Management Structure
2.1 A major issue in establishing an appropriate risk management organisation structure is choosing between a centralised and decentralised structure. The global trend is towards centralising risk management with integrated treasury management function to benefit from information on aggregate exposure, natural netting of exposures, economies of scale and easier reporting to top management. The primary responsibility of understanding the risks run by the bank and ensuring that the risks are appropriately managed should clearly be vested with the Board of Directors. The Board should set risk limits by assessing the bank’s risk and riskbearing capacity. At organisational level, overall risk management should be assigned to an independent Risk Management Committee or Executive Committee of the top Executives that reports directly to the Board of Directors. The purpose of this top level committee is to empower one group with full responsibility of evaluating overall risks faced by the bank and determining the level of risks which will be in the best interest of the bank. At the same time, the Committee should hold the line management more accountable for the risks under their control, and the performance of the bank in that area. The functions of Risk Management Committee should essentially be to identify, monitor and measure the risk profile of the bank. The Committee should also develop policies and procedures, verify the models that are used for pricing complex products, review the risk models as development takes place in the markets and also identify new risks. The risk policies should clearly spell out the quantitative prudential limits on various segments of banks’ operations. Internationally, the trend is towards assigning risk limits in terms of portfolio standards or Credit at Risk (credit risk) and Earnings at Risk and Value at Risk (market risk). The Committee should design stress scenarios to measure the impact of unusual
market conditions and monitor variance between the actual volatility of portfolio value and that predicted by the risk measures. The Committee should also monitor compliance of various risk parameters by operating Departments.
2.2 A prerequisite for establishment of an effective risk management system is the existence of a robust MIS, consistent in quality. The existing MIS, however, requires substantial upgradation and strengthening of the data collection machinery to ensure the integrity and reliability of data. 2.3 The risk management is a...
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