Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Race to the Bottom in Capital Requirements Begins

Contrary to the financial regulators' claims, the race to the bottom in capital requirements has begun.

According to a Telegraph article
Michel Barnier, the Commissioner responsible for the internal market and services, said suggestions that he would not fully impose Basel III were "unjustified and factually wrong". "Europe will implement Basel III: we have said it before and I confirm it to you today, the Commission's proposals to implement Basel III will respect the balance and level of ambition included in Basel 3," said Mr Barnier on Friday. 
... Mr Barnier said he would "not be swayed" from imposing the rules, despite warnings that they could harm Europe's economic recovery.
"A few weeks ago, some people were accusing us of damaging the economic recovery by implementing rules which would be too tough for banks because they would impede their lending to the real economy. 
Today, others seem to accuse us of the opposite with suggestions Europe would not be implementing Basel properly, thus not learning all the lessons from the crisis," he said.
Experience shows that regulators can be swayed.  If we look at disclosure for structured finance securities, we see the regulators embracing the disclosure practices that gave these securities the moniker "opaque" when their goal was to allow investors to know what they own.

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