Competition Theory of Risk Management Failures

Competition Theory of Risk Management Failures

Matthieu Bouvard, Samuel Lee

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

September 01 2015

Last revised :

July 08 2019
SSRN Share


  • Banks • 
  • risk management • 
  • Time Pressure • 
  • Delegated Trading • 
  • Coordination Failure • 
  • Global Games

We study a model in which firms compete preemptively for trading opportunities and risk management introduces latency in trading. As the time pressure faced by firms is endogenous to risk management choices, strategic complementarities can trigger a “race to the bottom” where prioritizing trade execution over risk management is individually optimal, but collectively inefficient.

This generates an inverse relationship between trading volume/immediacy and efficiency of risk allocation. Different from theories where financing frictions or risk shifting cause a lack of risk management, ours predicts the pathology of risk management failures to be the trifecta of (1) “boom” markets, (2) time-based competition, and (3) firms in which risk assessment is time-consuming. We discuss merits and drawbacks of taxation, fines, and market design as possible countermeasures.


Real name:
Matthieu Bouvard
Real name:
Research Member
Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University