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What is P&L Attribution?

P&L attribution

It's short for 'Profit and Loss Attribution' and it's a back-testing method for evaluating a bank's risk management models. It compares a bank's hypothetical profit and loss as predicted by that risk management model with the actual profit and loss incurred.

Where have you heard about P&L Attribution?

In the news. The Fundamental Review of the Trading Book, conducted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, set out new rules to prevent another financial crisis, including stringent P&L attribution to explain catastrophic losses like those that caused Lehman Brothers to collapse.

What you need to know about P&L Attribution.

It's all about breaking down profit and loss into meaningful components to explain whether performance is a result of strategy or chance. For example, a risk manager needs to be able to identify whether a product or company made or lost money and who or what is responsible.

They do this by analysing the various conditions that affect performance such as: time, prices, interest rates, market volatility, new trades and cancellations. It helps banks and funds evaluate their strategies - and justify losses incurred as a result of unforeseen conditions they couldn't help.

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