Categories of Risk


As part of our business activities, we face a variety of risks, the most significant of which are described further below in dedicated sections, starting with credit risk. These risks can be categorized in a variety of ways. From a regulatory perspective, we hold regulatory capital against three types of risk: credit risk, market risk and operational risk. As part of our internal capital adequacy assessment process we calculate the amount of economic capital that is necessary to cover the risks generated from our business activities. We also calculate and monitor liquidity risk, which we manage via a separate risk management framework.

Credit Risk

Credit risk arises from all transactions where actual, contingent or potential claims against any counterparty, borrower or obligor (which we refer to collectively as “counterparties”) exist, including those claims that we plan to distribute (see further below in the more detailed credit risk section). These transactions are typically part of our traditional non-traded lending activities (such as loans and contingent liabilities), or our direct trading activity with clients (such as OTC derivatives, FX forwards and Forward Rate Agreements) or are related to our positions in traded credit products (such as bonds). This latter risk, which we call “Traded Default Risk” is managed using both credit and market risk parameters. We distinguish between three kinds of credit risk:

  • Default risk is the risk that counterparties fail to meet contractual payment obligations.
  • Country risk is the risk that we may suffer a loss, in any given country, due to any of the following reasons: a possible deterioration of economic conditions, political and social upheaval, nationalization and expropriation of assets, government repudiation of indebtedness, exchange controls and disruptive currency depreciation or devaluation. Country risk includes transfer risk which arises when debtors are unable to meet their obligations owing to an inability to transfer assets to nonresidents due to direct sovereign intervention.
  • Settlement risk is the risk that the settlement or clearance of transactions will fail. It arises whenever the exchange of cash, securities and/or other assets is not simultaneous.

Market Risk

Market risk arises from the uncertainty concerning changes in market prices and rates (including interest rates, equity prices, foreign exchange rates and commodity prices), the correlations among them and their levels of volatility. In our risk management processes we further distinguish market risk into:

  • Trading market risk, which arises primarily through the market-making and trading activities in the various cash and derivative markets.
  • Nontrading market risk, which arises from assets and liabilities that are typically on our books for a longer period of time (i.e. non-consolidated strategic investments, alternative asset investments, sight and saving deposits, and equity compensation), but where the inherent value is still dependent on the movement of financial markets and parameters. We include risk from the modeling of the duration of sight and saving deposits and risk from our Deutsche Bank Bauspar business in nontrading market risk. In addition, we also include equivalent risks that Postbank categorizes as business and collective risks, respectively.

Operational Risk

Operational risk is the potential for incurring losses in relation to employees, contractual specifications and documentation, technology, infrastructure failure and disasters, external influences and customer relationships. This definition includes legal and regulatory risk, but excludes business and reputational risk.

Liquidity Risk

Liquidity risk is the risk arising from our potential inability to meet all payment obligations when they come due or only being able to meet these obligations at excessive costs.

Business Risk

Business risk describes the risk we assume due to potential changes in general business conditions, such as our market environment, client behavior and technological progress. This can affect our results if we fail to adjust quickly to these changing conditions.

Beyond the above risks, there are a number of further risks, such as reputational risk, insurance-specific risk and concentration risk. They are substantially related to one or more of the above risk types.

Reputational Risk

Within our risk management processes, we define reputational risk as the risk that publicity concerning a transaction, counterparty or business practice involving a client will negatively impact the public’s trust in our organization.

Several policies and guidelines form the framework of our reputational risk management. The primary responsibility for the identification, escalation and resolution of reputational risk issues resides with the business divisions. The risk management units assist and advise the business divisions in ascertaining that reputational risk issues are appropriately identified, escalated and addressed.

The most senior dedicated body for reputational risk issues is our Group Reputational Risk Committee (GRRC). It is a permanent sub-committee of the Risk Executive Committee and is chaired by the Chief Risk Officer. The GRRC reviews and makes final determinations on all reputational risk issues, where escalation of such issues is deemed necessary by senior business and regional management, or required under other Group policies and procedures.

Insurance Specific Risk

Our exposure to insurance risk relates to Abbey Life Assurance Company Limited (ALAC) and the defined benefit pension obligations of Deutsche Bank Group. In our risk management framework, we consider insurance-related risks primarily as non-traded market risks. We monitor the underlying assumptions in the calculation of these risks regularly and seek risk mitigating measures such as reinsurances, if we deem this appropriate. We are primarily exposed to the following insurance-related risks.

  • Longevity risk. The risk of faster or slower than expected improvements in life expectancy on immediate and deferred annuity products. For risk management purposes, monthly stress testing and economic capital allocation are carried out for both ALAC and the defined benefit pension obligation as part of our market risk framework and process. For ALAC, reinsurance is the primary method of mitigation of longevity risk. Mortality experience investigations and sensitivities of the obligations to changes in longevity are provided by ALAC and the global scheme actuary TowersWatson on an annual basis.
  • Mortality and morbidity risks. The risks of a higher or lower than expected number of death or disability claims on assurance products and of an occurrence of one or more large claims.
  • Expenses risk. The risk that policies cost more or less to administer than expected.
  • Persistency risk. The risk of a higher or lower than expected percentage of lapsed policies.

To the extent that actual experience is less favorable than the underlying assumptions, or it is necessary to increase provisions due to more onerous assumptions, the amount of capital required in the insurance entities may increase.

Concentration Risk

Risk Concentrations are not an isolated risk type but are broadly integrated in the management of credit, market, operational and liquidity risks. Risk concentrations refer to a bank’s loss potential through unbalanced distribution of dependencies on specific risk drivers. Risk concentrations are encountered within and across counterparties, regions/countries, industries and products, impacting the aforementioned risks. Risk concentrations are actively managed, for instance by entering into offsetting or risk-reducing transactions. Management of risk concentration across risk types involves expert panels, qualitative assessments, quantitative instruments (such as economic capital and stress testing) and comprehensive reporting.

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