Measuring up to international capital standards

Publication July 13, 2016

The Basel Committee of the Bank for International Settlements (Basel Committee) sets international capital standards but those standards must be adopted by individual countries to have any legal effect. As a result, the standards are only as good as enacted in each individual country. Actions taken after the recent economic crisis to strengthen the global financial system included adoption of an enhanced capital surcharge, called the higher loss absorbency (HLA) requirement, imposed on the banking organizations designated as the world’s global systemically important banks (G-SIBs).

A Basel Committee assessment team recently evaluated the HLA requirement in the jurisdictions in which the current G-SIBs are headquartered: United States, China, European Union, Japan and Switzerland. In some cases, these countries have gone beyond the standards to be even more protective of their financial stability. This month’s column will discuss how each of these countries, and in particular the United States, measures up to the international standards.

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