May 14, 2013

We need to see the hiding-behind-regulatory-risk-weighting index of the banks

Sir Patrick Jenkins and Daniel Schäfer at the end of their “Banks in cash calls to meet Basel III” state the caveat with respect of the numbers shown that “Regulators [will] either raise risk-weightings and/or give more emphasis to nominal balance sheets.” Indeed, but it can also be, like the current crisis has clearly evidenced, that the risk-weights could also simply turn out to be very wrong.

And that is why I consider the illustration that shows Basel III core tier one capital ratios of 12 large banks to be quite opaque. As a minimum, next to each Basel III ratio they should have given us each banks capital to nominal balance sheet ratio.

That way, by dividing the first ratio by the second (or the other way round) we can build an index which allows us to identify how each bank hides behind risk-weights, whether these are calculated by themselves or by the regulators.