July 06, 2013

When it comes to risk-weighing, much worse is the discretion the Basel Committee gives itself than that of the banks.

Sir, Patrick Jenkins referring to a study by the Basel Committee writes that “Banks are reporting capital ratios that may be 40 percent adrift from each other despite identical capital levels and underlying risks.” ,“Basel fuels bank safety metric fears” July 6.

So what? Does that mean we are better off with all banks reporting exactly the same with the Basel Committee’s standard weights; for instance that of only 20 percent when lending to sovereigns rated as Greece, or acquiring AAA rated securities; which means a bank needs to hold only a measly 1.6 percent in capital against those exposures; which means a bank can leverage its equity 62.5 to 1 with those exposures?

That the banks are allowed “significant discretion”… is that really so bad? Much worse is the discretion the regulator gave itself to decide, on the world’s behalf, that the sovereigns and the AAAristocracy are "absolutely not risky”, while small and medium businesses and entrepreneurs are. Shame on them!

Jenkins also writes “The Basel Committee last week called on banks to report leverage ratios according to a new formula by 2015”… is it really a “new formula”, or is it just basically the old traditional total assets to total equity?... and, why by 2015, what is wrong with now?