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"the risk of a change in value caused by the fact that actual losses, incurred for inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems, or from external events (including legal risk), differ from the expected losses". This positive definition, adopted by the European Solvency II Directive for insurers, is a variation from that adopted in the Basel II regulations for banks.[1][2] Before, operational risk was negatively defined in Basel I, namely that operational risk are all risks that are not market risk and not credit risk. Some firms have therefore also used the term operational risk synonymously with non-financial risks.

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