Value at Risk Estimation with Neural Networks: A Recurrent Mixture Density Approach

Detta är en Master-uppsats från KTH/Matematik (Avd.)

Sammanfattning: In response to financial crises and opaque practices, governmental entities and financial regulatory bodies have implemented several pieces of legislature and directives meant to protect investors and increase transparency. Such regulations often impose strict liquidity requirements and robust estimations of the risk borne by a financial firm at any given time. Value at Risk (VaR) measures how much an investment can stand to lose with a certain probability over a specified period of time and is ubiquitous in its use by institutional investors and banks alike. In practice, VaR estimations are often computed from simulations of historical data or parameterized distributions.  Inspired by the recent success of Arimond et al. (2020) in using a neural network for VaR estimation, we apply a combination of recurrent neural networks and a mixture density output layer for generating mixture density distributions of future portfolio returns from which VaR estimations are made. As in Arimond et al., we suppose the existence of two regimes stylized as bull and bear markets and employ Monte Carlo simulation to generate predictions of future returns. Rather than use a swappable architecture for the parameters in the mixture density distribution, we here let all parameters be generated endogenously in the neural network. The model's success is then validated through Christoffersen tests and by comparing it to the benchmark VaR estimation models, i.e., the mean-variance approach and historical simulation.  We conclude that recurrent mixture density networks show limited promise for the task of predicting effective VaR estimates if used as is, due to the model consistently overestimating the true portfolio loss. However, for practical use, encouraging results were achieved when manually shifting the predictions based on an average of the overestimation observed in the validation set. Several theories are presented as to why overestimation occurs, while no definitive conclusion could be drawn. As neural networks serve as black box models, their use for conforming to regulatory requirements is thus deemed questionable, likewise the assumption that financial data carries an inherent pattern with potential to be accurately approximated. Still, reactivity in the VaR estimations by the neural network is significantly more pronounced than in the benchmark models, motivating continued experimentation with machine learning methods for risk management purposes. Future research is encouraged to identify the source of overestimation and explore different machine learning techniques to attain more accurate VaR predictions.

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