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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 41

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DFIs & Risk Management

Risks are usually defined by the adverse impact on profitability of several distinct sources of uncertainty. While the types and degree of risks an organization may be exposed to depend upon a number of factors such as its size, complexity business activities, volume etc, it is believed that generally the banks face Credit, Market, Liquidity, Operational,
Compliance / legal / regulatory and reputation risks. Before overarching these risk categories, given below are some basics about risk Management and some guiding principles to manage risks in banking organization.

Risk Management

Risk management is the human activity which integrates recognition of risk, risk assessment, developing strategies to manage it, and mitigation of risk using managerial resources. The strategies include transferring the risk to another party, avoiding the risk, reducing the negative effect of the risk, and accepting some or all of the consequences of a
particular risk. Some traditional risk managements are focused on risks stemming from physical or legal causes (e.g. natural disasters or fires, accidents, death and lawsuits). Financial risk management, on the other hand, focuses on risks that can be managed using traded financial instruments. Objective of risk management is to reduce different risks
related to a pre-selected domain to the level accepted by society. It may refer to numerous types of threats caused by environment, technology, humans, organizations and politics. On the other hand it involves all means available for humans, or in particular, for a risk management entity (person, staff, and organization). In every financial institution of
Pakistan, risk management activities broadly take place simultaneously at following different hierarchy levels.

  • Strategic level: It encompasses risk management functions performed by senior management. For instance definition of risks, ascertaining institutions risk appetite, formulating strategy and policies for managing risks and establish adequate systems and controls to ensure that overall risk remain within acceptable level and the reward compensate for the risk taken.
  • Macro Level: It encompasses risk management within a business area or across business lines. Generally the risk management activities performed by middle management or units devoted to risk reviews fall into this category.
  • Micro Level: It involves ‘On-the-line’ risk management where risks are actually created. This is the risk management activities performed by individuals who take risk on organization’s behalf such as front office and loan origination functions. The risk management in those areas is confined to following operational procedures and guidelines set by management.

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MGT604 - Management of Financial Institutions - Lecture Handout 30

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Letter of Credit and International Trade

A letter of credit is a document issued mostly by a financial institution which usually provides an irrevocable payment undertaking (it can also be revocable, confirmed, unconfirmed, transferable or others e.g. back to back: revolving but is most commonly irrevocable/confirmed) to a beneficiary against complying documents as stated in the Letter of Credit. Letter of Credit is abbreviated as an LC or L/C, and often is referred to as a documentary credit, abbreviated as DC or D/C, documentary letter of credit, or simply as credit (as in the UCP 500 and UCP 600). Once the beneficiary or a presenting bank acting on its behalf, makes a presentation to the issuing bank or confirming bank, if any, within the expiry date of the LC, comprising documents complying with the terms and conditions of the LC, the applicable UCP and international standard banking practice, the issuing bank or confirming bank, if any, is obliged to honor irrespective of any instructions from the applicant to the contrary. In other words, the obligation to honor (usually payment) is shifted from the applicant to the issuing bank or confirming bank, if any. Non-banks can also issue letters of credit however parties must balance potential risks.

The LC can also be the source of payment for a transaction, meaning that an exporter will get paid by redeeming the letter of credit. Letters of credit are used nowadays primarily in international trade transactions of significant value, for deals between a supplier in one country and a wholesale customer in another. They are also used in the land development
process to ensure that approved public facilities (streets, sidewalks, storm water ponds, etc.) will be built. The parties to a letter of credit are usually a beneficiary who is to receive the money, the issuing bank of whom the applicant is a client, and the advising bank of whom the beneficiary is a client. Since nowadays almost all letters of credit are irrevocable, (i.e.
cannot be amended or cancelled without prior agreement of the beneficiary, the issuing bank, and the confirming bank, if any). However, the applicant is not a party to the letter of credit. In executing a transaction, letters of credit incorporate functions common to giros and Traveler's cheque. Typically, the documents a beneficiary has to present in order to avail him of the credit are commercial invoice, bill of lading, insurance documents. However, the list and form of documents is open to imagination and negotiation and might contain requirements to present documents issued by a neutral third party evidencing the quality of the goods shipped.

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