From Open Risk Manual


Exposure. Exposure (also Risk Exposure) is a general term in Risk Management that aims to capture the potential financial loss inherent in a contract, transaction, portfolio etc. It aims to capture the extent to which an individual or organization is unprotected and open to damage, danger, risk of suffering a loss, or uncertainty. The potential susceptibility to loss; the vulnerability to a particular risk.

In the context of Disaster Risk exposure means the situation of people, infrastructure, housing, production capacities and other tangible human assets located in hazard-prone areas. Measures of exposure can include the number of people or types of assets in an area. These can be combined with the specific vulnerability and capacity of the exposed elements to any particular hazard to estimate the quantitative risks associated with that hazard in the area of interest.

Regulatory Definition

In the context of prudential regulation (e.g. CRD IV Regulation), exposure means an asset or off-balance sheet item[1]


Exposure is a meaningful term and is used widely in the market and credit risk contexts. It is notoriously difficult to define precisely in the context of operational risk. A Limit framework and many other risk and/or portfolio management concepts require a precise definition of exposure values for the assets, off-balance sheet items or other financial positions the framework seeks to limit or manage. The precise definition of the exposure relevant to a given risk management application typically requires detailed considerations around the of


Examples include financial exposure, Credit Exposure, legal exposure, credit rating exposure, reputational exposure, and so forth.

Credit Risk Exposure

In the context of credit risk there has been substantial formalization and standardization of the concept of exposure as it became one of the key Risk Parameters identified and required for implementation of the Basel II framework. This key metric is the so called Exposure At Default.

Linked Exposures

A significant consideration, especially in the context of the analysis of Credit Risk Concentration is the fact that different exposures may be substantially linked, e.g., via economic and / or legal ties and constructs, to the degree that in the case of a credit event, it is the collection of all such linked exposures that is the relevant metric. The concept of Related Counterparties thus leads to aggregation rules to obtain the Single Obligor Exposure.

Issues and Challenges

  • Definitional and legal subtleties (e.g. linked exposures)
  • Data collection / Data Quality
  • Difficulty of establishing exposure for operational risk

See Also


  1. EU Directive 2013/36/EU and the EU Regulation 575/2013


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