Fundamentals: Financial Institutions Risk Management

October 7, 2021
Financial Institution

There would be no need for financial institutions if savers and investors, buyers and sellers could find each other easily, purchase any and all assets at no cost, and make decisions based on freely available, flawless information. Financial institutions, on the other hand, are sought by market participants in real economies because they may supply market information, transaction efficiency, and contract enforcement.

There are two ways that businesses operate:

  • They can use their own resources to actively find, underwrite, and service assets.
  • They could simply serve as agents for market participants who hire them to provide some of these services. Investors build their portfolios from securities that firms bring to them in the latter situation.

Two challenges occur as a result of the various methods by which financial organizations can operate.

To begin, when and under what conditions should businesses employ their own resources to provide financial services rather than relying on a simple agency transaction? Second, if the organization provides such services using its own resources, how should it manage its portfolio to provide the most value to its stakeholders?

In order to solve these two concerns, we define the acceptable role for financial institutions and focus on the function of risk management in enterprises that supply financial products using their own balance sheets. Our goal is to explain when it is advantageous for an institution to transmit risks to the purchasers of assets that it has issued or developed, and when it is better for the institution to absorb the risks of these financial products.

However, after the firm has absorbed the risks, it must manage them effectively. As a result, we’ve created a framework for efficient and effective risk management for the company that wants to control risks on its balance sheet while maximizing value contributed.

To begin our risk and return analysis in financial institutions, we must first establish the proper role of risk management. Following that, we go over the services that financial organizations offer, identify a few different categories of risks, and explore how they arise as a natural part of financial institutions’ operations.

Financial Services Risk

What is the significance of risk? How can a company reduce the risks associated with the sector’s products? Understanding the answers to these questions provides a better understanding of the difficulty that financial managers confront, namely why they wish to reduce risk and what steps they may take to alleviate an inherent element of the financial services they provide.

What is the significance of risk?

Firm managers should maximize predicted profits regardless of reported earnings flexibility, according to traditional economic theory. The literature on the causes for managers’ concern over unstable financial performance, on the other hand, dates back to the year the ’80s, when Stulz proposed feasible economic grounds for business managers’ anxiety.

Alternative ideas and explanations have emerged since then; a recent assessment of the literature identified four grounds to justify active risk management:

  1. Effects of taxes
  2. The price of being in financial trouble
  3. Imperfections in the financial markets
  4. Administrative self-interest

Profit fluctuation leads to poorer value for at least some of the firm’s stakeholders in each explanation. Due to their low wealth and the concentration of human capital returns in the firm they manage, managers have limited flexibility to diversify their investment in their own firm.

This encourages resistance to danger and a preference for security. In the second, it is said that the predicted tax burden is decreased with progressive tax schedules due to lower instability in reported taxable income. The third and fourth arguments focus on the fact that a drop in earnings has a greater than a proportional influence on a company’s fortunes.

Financial distress is expensive, and when a company’s feasibility is in doubt, the cost of external borrowing rises quickly. Any one of these factors is enough to cause managers to be worried about risk and to carefully examine both the level of risk associated with any financial product and potential risk mitigation measures.

How Can a Company Reduce Risk?

Reducing risk
  1. Simple business procedures might help you eliminate or prevent dangers.
  2. Other people’s risks are transferred to them.
  3. At the firm level, actively control hazards.

Risk avoidance entails lowering the likelihood of ad hoc losses by removing risks that aren’t essential to the institution’s mission. Underwriting standards, hedges or asset liability matching, variety, reinsurance or syndication, and due diligence inquiry are all common risk avoidance practices.

The goal is to remove the company from hazards that aren’t necessary for the financial service it provides, or to absorb the least amount of risk possible. What’s left is a combination of systematic risk and hazards specific to an institution’s business model.

In both cases, risk mitigation is insufficient and can be improved. Any systematic risk that isn’t necessary for doing business can be reduced. This is a business choice that the company can plainly communicate to stockholders.

Similarly, the firm can address running a risk by addressing risks such as fraud, oversight failure, lack of control, and administrative limits. Aggressive risk avoidance measures in both of these areas will reduce the earnings of the company activity while limiting risk.

As a result, the company can explain to shareholders how much work it puts in to mitigate these risks and justify the expenses. By shifting some risks, the company can remove or significantly decrease them.

Many of these financial entities issue claims and/or produce assets, and these claims and assets have markets. Individual investors can buy and sell financial claims to spread or concentrate risk in their portfolios. The assets can be sold in the open market at their fair market value to the extent that the market recognizes the financial risks of the assets that the firm develops or holds.


The firm’s operation is centered on risk management. An index fund is a mutual fund that invests in a reference index without hedging systematic risk. In most cases, a security dealer who engages in exclusive trading and arbitrage is not completely hedged.

Risk is absorbed in all of these situations, and risk management activity necessitates the monitoring of business activity risk and return. This is a certain cost of doing business because it consumes management’s time and attention.

We can detect non economic or redundant risk management strategies, such as ill considered hedges or unsuitable variety, once we’ve defined acceptable risk management rationales. Owners of the firms’ equity may have made such investments themselves if skilled management had not been in place.