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WIFE Week in Risk (April 28th)

David Harper CFA FRM

David Harper CFA FRM
Staff member
New Practice Questions
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1. Par yields in Tuckman's key rate shift technique. I was glad to see @ankit4685 dig into my key rate spreadsheet here https://trtl.bz/2V3q1ni. As Part 2 candidates know, the key rate technique is flexible to different interest rate types. While forward rates are common in practice, Tuckman's uses par yields, probably as a continuation following their convenient usage in hedge applications. However, the shock on par yields has an counterintuitive impact on spot rates. But it's a great excuse to master the calculation of par rates because my spreadsheet needs to solve for the discount function given the shocked par yield key rates.

2. ROA versus NIM: Thank you @evelyn.peng for noticing, by way of our question set on foreign exchange (FX) hedge exercises, that there is a difference between the bank's return on investment, ROI, and its net interest margin (NIM). The FRM relies on Saunders for the hedged balance sheet application such that we are often solving for ROI as given by the difference between return on assets (ROA) and cost of funds (COF): https://trtl.bz/2V3qkys

3. Economic value added (EVA): In my view, @nansverma is totally correct to point out syllabus imprecisions (if not inconsistencies) in its reference to economic value added (EVA); i.e., Crouhy versus Giacomo. I've actually consulted to several EVA implementations at large companies, and I wrote Investopedia's EVA tutorial. Although there are different, valid flavors, EVA has two essential characteristics: one, accounting reports are translated into economic reality, and two, the cost of capital (include equity) is explicitly charged to the economic earnings base. Also, as usual, we prefer ratio consistency. See https://www.bionicturtle.com/forum/threads/economic-value-added-eva.22329/


1. Simulations are the future. The hypergrowth of data science is enabling a shift away from analytic solutions and toward simulations and experiments. In option pricing, the Black-Scholes (BSM) and its variants are analytical; the binomial is a simulation. Despite the elegance of the BSM, it's just easier and more powerful to run simulations with the binomial. But that's just option pricing, which is a minor use case in the ocean of possible use cases. GARP's Risk Intelligence has this interesting article: From Theory to Practice with Agent-Based Modeling https://trtl.bz/2GJHs2e. Speaking of simulations, this is a delightful 2-part post (Part 1 https://trtl.bz/2GDEIUe and Part 2 https://trtl.bz/2GFqC4T) on the Probability of winning a best-of-7-series. When I read the title, I expected a dull calculation, but notice how simulations open up new perspectives!

2. Compensation Committee Guide. The FRM explores governance but not really the role of the board's compensation committee. In my previous life as a management consultant, I helped design dozens of executive incentive plans. So I'm very biased in favor of believing compensation is a valuable governance artifact. As an investor, I read every proxy statement submitted to the SEC in order to understand how management gets paid; e.g., what are the incentive metrics. Personally, I think governance is the most important soft (non-quantitative) signal for investors, and compensation is part of the mix. In any case, Wachtell Limtpon's published their 138-page 2019 Compensation Committee Guide https://trtl.bz/2GFjg16. Its objective is "to describe the duties of public company compensation committee members and to provide information to enable compensation committee members to function most effectively. Like prior versions, the Guide begins with an overview of key responsibilities and subsequently addresses more specific substantive issues."

3. Managing a list of risks is not risk management. This short post (A board that would fail any test of its governance practices https://trtl.bz/2GJEx9S ) by Norman Marks had me shaking my head in vigorous agreement. He says, "managing a list of risks is not risk management." Bingo! How many articles have we read that start with the premise that risk management is itemization of the risk typology? (I'm guilty of this myself, ooops … ). He explains that is not the board's job. Their job is more meta. No wonder so many companies fail to anticipate their urgent and important risks: if both management and the board are concerned with the right list, you know they'll miss something. The board's focus should be on their meta-role of "obtaining assurance that management is effectively managing risk (what might happen) and making informed and intelligent decisions every day." That shift in focus, in my opinion, is more profound than subtle: it implies that the board is evaluating the processes, organization, responsibilities, incentives (etcetera) that enable, sustain and improve the risk management function itself.
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