Following a period of protracted turbulence, regulators on both sides of the Atlantic face the challenge of re-evaluating prudential standards in the midst of implementing the new so-called ‘Basel II’ rules, issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. Indeed, the 2007 subprime lending crisis and other scandals have cast doubt on the credibility of banks’ internal governance and risk assessment and management systems and the role of credit rating agencies in externally assessing the risk of complex structured products. Equally, the capacity of regulators to monitor the risky, multifaceted activities of large cross-border institutions has been subjected to immense stress.
In addressing these issues, this CEPS Task Force report supports a regulatory paradigm shift, which resets the incentives to establish an integrated risk-assessment, -management and -governance culture at an institution-wide level. Towards this end, it stresses the need to strengthen the roles of pillars 2 and 3 (supervisory review and market discipline) and to avoid relying solely on the outcome of easily manipulated, excessively sophisticated internal models to determine capital requirements and a supervisory ‘box-ticking’ approach. The report also examines the potential consequences of the new rules on the basis of early quantitative impact studies and warns of undesirable impacts under adverse market conditions. Finally, it examines the progress achieved in implementing Basel II in Europe and in the US and raises questions about global regulatory consistency and convergence.