Global Bank Regulators Delay Key Meeting on Capital Rule Revamp


 Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Global banking regulators delayed a key meeting on new capital standards, acknowledging they need more time to strike an agreement after European authorities resisted planned restrictions on how banks measure asset risk.

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s oversight board said in a statement on Tuesday that it had postponed a meeting scheduled for Jan. 8 to allow for more debate. The work is expected to wrap up in the “near future,” but the regulator didn’t set a new meeting date.

The Basel Committee is enmeshed in a long debate on regulations that clamp down on banks’ use of their own complex models to assess the risk posed by mortgages, corporate loans and other assets on their books, part of setting capital requirements. The proposals have become a flash-point among regulators around the world, with the European Union campaigning most publicly against central elements of the effort.

“Completing Basel III is an important step toward restoring confidence in banks’ risk-weighted capital ratios, and we remain committed to that goal," said European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who heads the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision, the oversight body of the Basel Committee.

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The delay probably pushes any Basel Committee meeting on the standards beyond the Jan. 20 inauguration of Donald Trump as U.S. president. Trump’s team has vowed to dismantle financial regulations, raising the prospect that whatever deal is struck at the international level could be shelved or watered down when national authorities take over the process of implementation.

The financial industry has lobbied hard against the proposals, arguing that they could add billions of dollars in extra capital requirements on the industry and hurt economic growth.

A compromise floated last month ran into strong EU opposition because it retained the element most strongly rejected by policy makers in the block -- a so-called capital floor that serves as a blunt limit on banks’ ability to use models to reduce capital levels.

Andreas Dombret, a member of the Bundesbank Executive Board, has called for the floor to be removed entirely, echoing the position of Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU financial-services chief, who would lead European efforts to put the standards in place across the 28-nation bloc.

The Basel Committee brings together regulators from around the world, including the ECB, the U.S. Federal Reserve and Japan’s Financial Services Agency, to set global standards that national authorities enact as they see fit.

To contact the reporters on this story: Silla Brush in London at sbrush@bloomberg.net, Alexander Weber in Brussels at aweber45@bloomberg.net, Boris Groendahl in Vienna at bgroendahl@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Patrick Henry at phenry8@bloomberg.net, Michael J. Moore

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