One of the most widely used risk measures is the Value-at-Risk, defined as the expected loss on a portfolio at a specified confidence level. In other words, VaR is a percentile of a loss distribution.

But despite its popularity VaR suffers from well-known limitations: its tendency to underestimate the risk in the (left) tail of the loss distribution and its failure to capture the dynamics of correlation between portfolio components or nonlinearities in the risk characteristics of the underlying assets.

One method of seeking to address these shortcomings is discussed in a previous post Copulas in Risk Management. Another approach known as Conditional Value at Risk (CVaR), which seeks to focus on tail risk, is the subject of this post. We look at how to estimate Conditional Value at Risk in both Gaussian and non-Gaussian frameworks, incorporating loss distributions with heavy tails and show how to apply the concept in the context of nonlinear time series models such as GARCH.

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