Gap Analysis


DEFINITION of 'Gap Analysis'

1) The process through which a company compares its actual performance to its expected performance to determine whether it is meeting expectations and using its resources effectively. Gap analysis seeks to answer the questions "where are we?" (current state) and "where do we want to be?" (target state).

2) A method of asset-liability management that can be used to assess interest rate risk or liquidity risk excluding credit risk. Gap analysis is a simple IRR measurement method that conveys the difference between rate sensitive assets and rate sensitive liabilities over a given period of time. This type of analysis works well if assets and liabilities are compromised of fixed cash flows. Because of this a significant shortcoming of gap analysis is that it cannot handle options, as options have uncertain cash flows.

BREAKING DOWN 'Gap Analysis'

1) Conducting a gap analysis can help a company re-examine its goals to determine whether it is on the right path to be able to accomplish them. A company will list the factors that define its current state, outline the factors that are required to reach the target state, and then determine how to fill the "gaps" between the two states.

2) Gap analysis was widely used in the 1980's typically in tandem with duration analysis. It was found to be harder to use and less widely implemented than duration analysis but it can still be used to assess exposure to a variety of term structure movements.

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