No. 517 - The modelling of operational risk: experience with the analysis of the data collected by the Basel Committee

The revised Basel Capital Accord requires banks to meet a capital requirement for operational risk as part of an overall risk-based capital framework. Three distinct options for calculating operational risk charges are proposed (Basic Approach, Standardised Approach, Advanced Measurement Approaches), reflecting increasing levels of risk sensitivity. Since 2001, the Risk Management Group of the Basel Committee has been performing specific surveys of banks’ operational loss data, with the main purpose of obtaining information on the industry’s operational risk experience, to be used for the refinement of the capital framework and for the calibration of the regulatory coefficients. The second loss data collection was launched in the summer of 2002: the 89 banks participating in the exercise provided the Group with more than 47,000 observations, grouped by eight standardised Business Lines and seven Event Types. A summary of the data collected, which focuses on the description of the range of individual gross loss amounts and of the distribution of the banks’ losses across the business lines/event types, was returned to the industry in March 2003. The objective of this paper is to move forward with respect to that document, by illustrating the methodologies and the outcomes of the inferential analysis carried out on the data collected through 2002. To this end, after pooling the individual banks’ losses according to a Business Line criterion, the operational riskiness of each Business Line data set is explored using empirical and statistical tools. The work aims, first of all, to compare the sensitivity of conventional actuarial distributions and models stemming from the Extreme Value Theory in representing the highest percentiles of the data sets: the exercise shows that the extreme value model, in its Peaks Over Threshold representation, explains the behaviour of the operational risk data in the tail area well. Then, measures of severity and frequency of the large losses are gained and, by a proper combination of these estimates, a bottom-up operational risk capital figure is computed for each Business Line. Finally, for each Business Line and in the eight Business Lines as a whole, the contributions of the expected losses to the capital figures are evaluated and the relationships between the capital charges and the corresponding average level of Gross Incomes are determined and compared with the current coefficients envisaged in the simplified approaches of the regulatory framework.