Financial Regulatory Forum

Federal Reserve issues technical fix to market-risk capital rule to conform with Basel III

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Federal Reserve Board issued a final rule that makes technical changes to the Board’s market-risk capital rule to align it with the Basel III revised capital framework adopted by the Board earlier this year. (more…)

U.S. regulators’ Basel III rules package signals intent to maintain momentum in big-bank reforms

By Bora Yagiz

NEW YORK, July 17 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - In a move considered to be the most complete overhaul of U.S. bank capital standards since Basel I in 1988, three U.S. banking regulators (the Federal Reserve Board, Office of Comptroller of the Currency, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) have finalized the three Basel III-related notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRs) from 2012 on capital rules.

Collectively, the rules raise capital ratios, expand the base of assets for risk-based capital calculations, make changes to the methodology for calculation of credit risk weightings for banking and trading book assets and put emphasis on a stricter definition of capital, especially with regards to common equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital, the highest quality of equity. Higher quality of equity is perceived to provide a better safety net for the financial system in economic downturns, but this safety comes with a higher cost of business for the banks. Simply put, money kept as capital is not invested.  (more…)

CORRECTED: Bank regulators globally add AML to safety and soundness issues

By Nick Paraskeva, for Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, July 8 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Bank regulators around the globe are increasingly focusing on anti-money laundering (AML) and operational risks as part of their role in overseeing institutional safety and soundness. This follows huge enforcement fines imposed on systemically important banks by regulators and justice ministries. It also reflects a concern that any attendant hit on a bank’s reputation could affect its ability to obtain short-term funding or trade other than on a fully-secured basis.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision last week proposed standards on money laundering risks, which require banks to include AML within their firm-wide risk management process. “Basel’s commitment to AML is fully aligned with its mandate to strengthen the regulation, supervision and practices of banks worldwide, with the purpose of enhancing financial stability,” the committee stated on issuing the proposal for consultation. (more…)

Basel paper offers new look at bail-in models for ailing institutions

By Bora Yagiz, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, June 12 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - A recent Bank for International Settlements (BIS) quarterly review article attempts to solve the too-big-to-fail (TBTF) problem without causing systemic disruption to financial markets, by offering a new resolution template to recapitalize banks on the verge of bankruptcy. It may, however, inadvertently legitimize a de facto bail-in model against the consent of depositors, and put their money at risk.

Since the financial crisis of 2008, regulators worldwide have sought to reduce the likelihood of a TBTF failure through increase in capital quality and quantity enshrined internationally in Basel III, as well as setting various resolution mechanisms set to wind down failing institutions.  (more…)

No bank is ‘too big to jail,’ U.S. Attorney General Holder warns

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 20 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Corruption, cyber threats and transnational organized crime – and the money laundering that greases the wheels of illicit commerce – are high on the list of law enforcement priorities, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. (more…)

U.S. consumer bureau’s mortgage servicing rules are in the right direction despite shortcomings

By Bora Yagiz

NEW YORK, Aug. 31 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s proposed rules earlier this month on mortgage servicing are a step in the right direction in its efforts to uproot the malpractices that were once prevalent in the subprime mortgage market. The proposals suffer from a few shortcomings, however, not the least because the Bureau, with its “one-size-fits-all” approach, seems to have ignored the nuances between the different players within the servicing industry. (more…)

Fed’s capital proposal not as tough as feared, may give U.S. banks advantage

By Rachel Wolcott

NEW YORK/LONDON, Dec. 22 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Considering the cost of the financial crisis to the American taxpayer — anywhere between $700 billion and $12.8 trillion depending on who you talk to — the proposed capital rules the Federal Reserve published yesterday seem pretty lenient, compare to those mooted by some European countries.

However, it is a certainty that the same U.S. bank CEOs who have been so vociferous in their criticism of any increase in capital requirements, will continue their efforts to pare down the amount of capital they are required to hold. (more…)

MF Global bankruptcy shows regulatory resolve

By Nick Paraskeva

Nov. 1 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The collapse of MF Global Holdings is the first major U.S. financial bankruptcy since new Dodd-Frank insolvency laws ended the doctrine of “too big to fail,” as well as being the first U.S. failure attributable to the Euro crisis. While the collapse is expected to be handled under pre-Dodd Frank bankruptcy laws and under the Securities Investor Protection Corp., it may signal that regulators are prepared to take earlier action when they see uncovered financial risks.

The default follows agreement last week by EU heads of state, which required banks to increase capital by 106 billion euros to restore confidence. This is based on a higher capital ratio of 9 percent of highest quality capital, after a buffer for the mark-down of sovereign debt value of periphery EU States to current market values. Banks and private sector creditors to Greece accepted 50 percent voluntary write-down, as part of the package. (more…)

Is the medicine for financial services turning out to be worse than the disease?

By Susannah Hammond

LONDON/NEW YORK , Sept. 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Almost three years on from the fall of Lehman Brothers and the widespread public bail-out of financial services the world is looking grim. In the white heat of the crisis itself jurisdictions, policymakers and governments moved together to resolve the worst of the immediate issues and bought global financial services time to heal. While some recovery and mending of balance sheets has certainly taken place, global financial services continue to suffer at the hands of divergent policymakers, international recessions and sovereign debt crises.

The medium-term aftermath of the financial crisis may well turn out to be more damaging to financial services than the crisis itself. Quite how severe the current state of affairs has become was highlighted by the new head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, who stated that “there remains a road to recovery, yet, we do not have the luxury of time”. The risks to any recovery are increased by “a growing sense that policymakers do not have the conviction, or are simply not willing, to take the decisions that are needed”.  (more…)

Basel III: Chinese banks saving for new capital adequacy ratio

By Helen H. Chan

HONG KONG, Aug. 26 (Business Law Currents) – New capital adequacy rules from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) are prompting banks to hit up investors in Hong Kong and Shanghai’s capital markets. Part of the Basel III implementation process, the rules will require Chinese lenders to shore up additional capital to protect against credit risks.

Under the new rules, which are currently open to public review, systemically important banks in China will be subject to a minimum capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 11.5 percent; other banking institutions will be required to adhere to a minimum CAR of 10.5 percent.

(more…)

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