(Un)Calculated Risk | by Peter Orr of Intuitive Analytics

VaR and the Meltdown

Posted by Peter Orr on Jan 05, 2009

If you didn't catch it, the NYT magazine this weekend had a cover story on risk which posed the question, was management or specifically risk management more responsible for the current financial mess in which we now sit? Not unexpectedly, Mr. Black Swan himself got a good dose of coverage railing against the utter folly of VaR and seemingly anyone who attempts to quantify anything about risk in finance. The other corner is represented by the leadership at RiskMetrics, Sunguard, etc weighing in with the "calculating risk has benefits" position, given it (VaR) provides relevant and useful information the majority of the time. Taleb's point is the "majority of the time" doesn't matter much after insolvency.

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