Taleb on Value-at-Risk

Towards the end of each year, the Economist magazine comes out with an annual publication with predictions for the next year.  This year’s issue of ‘The World in 2013’ carries an article by Nassim Nicholas Taleb with some profound and rather interesting suggestions.

He makes four recommendations – of which the fourth one is something he has been making for quite a while in different ways.  He asks for banning the risk-management method called “value-at-risk”.  He goes on to call it “a pure intellectual fraud that allows banks to take more risks in the “tails”.  And the method is as much in use after the crisis as it was before: JPMorgan lost billions on trades in 2012 while the value-at-risk predicted very small tail exposures.  Value-at-risk is not the only fraud: there are plenty of other contraptions of quantitative finance that continue simply because those who teach and practise them are themselves never harmed.”


If you haven’t read Taleb’s books, I would highly recommend that you do if you get an opportunity.