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|Bank regulation and standards|
|Pillar 1: Regulatory capital|
|Pillar 2: Supervisory review|
|Pillar 3: Market disclosure|
|Business and Economics Portal|
|Part of a series on financial services|
Bank regulation is a form of government regulation which subjects banks to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, designed to create market transparency between banking institutions and the individuals and corporations with whom they conduct business, among other things. As regulation focusing on key actors in the financial markets, it forms one of the three components of financial law, the other two being case law and self-regulating market practices.
A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, often a state.
Regulation is an abstract concept of management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. For example:
A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates credit. Lending activities can be performed either directly or indirectly through capital markets. Due to their importance in the financial stability of a country, banks are highly regulated in most countries. Most nations have institutionalized a system known as fractional reserve banking under which banks hold liquid assets equal to only a portion of their current liabilities. In addition to other regulations intended to ensure liquidity, banks are generally subject to minimum capital requirements based on an international set of capital standards, known as the Basel Accords.
Given the interconnectedness of the banking industry and the reliance that the national (and global) economy hold on banks, it is important for regulatory agencies to maintain control over the standardized practices of these institutions. Supporters of such regulation often base their arguments on the "too big to fail" notion. This holds that many financial institutions (particularly investment banks with a commercial arm) hold too much control over the economy to fail without enormous consequences. This is the premise for government bailouts, in which government financial assistance is provided to banks or other financial institutions who appear to be on the brink of collapse. The belief is that without this aid, the crippled banks would not only become bankrupt, but would create rippling effects throughout the economy leading to systemic failure. Compliance with bank regulations is verified by personnel known as bank examiners.
An economy is an area of the production, distribution, or trade, and consumption of goods and services by different agents. Understood in its broadest sense, 'The economy is defined as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources'. Economic agents can be individuals, businesses, organizations, or governments. Economic transactions occur when two parties agree to the value or price of the transacted good or service, commonly expressed in a certain currency. However, monetary transactions only account for a small part of the economic domain.
The "too big to fail" theory asserts that certain corporations, particularly financial institutions, are so large and so interconnected that their failure would be disastrous to the greater economic system, and that they therefore must be supported by government when they face potential failure. The colloquial term "too big to fail" was popularized by U.S. Congressman Stewart McKinney in a 1984 Congressional hearing, discussing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's intervention with Continental Illinois. The term had previously been used occasionally in the press.
An investment bank is a financial services company or corporate division that engages in advisory-based financial transactions on behalf of individuals, corporations, and governments. Traditionally associated with corporate finance, such a bank might assist in raising financial capital by underwriting or acting as the client's agent in the issuance of securities. An investment bank may also assist companies involved in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and provide ancillary services such as market making, trading of derivatives and equity securities, and FICC services. Most investment banks maintain prime brokerage and asset management departments in conjunction with their investment research businesses. As an industry, it is broken up into the Bulge Bracket, Middle Market, and boutique market.
The objectives of bank regulation, and the emphasis, vary between jurisdictions. The most common objectives are:
In finance, systemic risk is the risk of collapse of an entire financial system or entire market, as opposed to risk associated with any one individual entity, group or component of a system, that can be contained therein without harming the entire system. It can be defined as "financial system instability, potentially catastrophic, caused or exacerbated by idiosyncratic events or conditions in financial intermediaries". It refers to the risks imposed by interlinkages and interdependencies in a system or market, where the failure of a single entity or cluster of entities can cause a cascading failure, which could potentially bankrupt or bring down the entire system or market. It is also sometimes erroneously referred to as "systematic risk".
Money laundering is the process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. The overall scheme of this process returns the money to the launderer in an obscure and indirect way.
Banking secrecy, alternately known as financial privacy, banking discretion, or bank safety, is a conditional agreement between a bank and its clients that all foregoing activities remain secure, confidential, and private. While some banking institutions voluntarily impose banking secrecy institutionally, others operate in regions where the practice is legally mandated and protected. Almost all banking secrecy standards prohibit the disclosure of client information to third parties without consent or an accepted criminal complaint. Additional privacy is provided to select clients via numbered bank accounts or underground bank vaults. Most often associated with banking in Switzerland, banking secrecy is prevalent in Luxembourg, Monaco, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, and the Cayman Islands, among other off-shore banking institutions.
Banking regulations vary widely between jurisdictions.
Bank regulation is a complex process and generally consists of two components:
The first component, licensing, sets certain requirements for starting a new bank. Licensing provides the licence holders the right to own and to operate a bank. The licensing process is specific to the regulatory environment of the country and/or the state where the bank is located. Licensing involves an evaluation of the entity's intent and the ability to meet the regulatory guidelines governing the bank's operations, financial soundness, and managerial actions.The regulator supervises licensed banks for compliance with the requirements and responds to breaches of the requirements by obtaining undertakings, giving directions, imposing penalties or (ultimately) revoking the bank's license.
The second component, supervision, is an extension of the licence-granting process and consists of supervision of the bank's activities by a government regulatory body (usually the central bank or another independent governmental agency). Supervision ensures that the functioning of the bank complies with the regulatory guidelines and monitors for possible deviations from regulatory standards. Supervisory activities involve on-site inspection of the bank's records, operations and processes or evaluation of the reports submitted by the bank. Examples of bank supervisory bodies include the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the United States, the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority in the United Kingdom, the Federal Financial Markets Service in the Russian Federation, the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) in Germany.
A central bank, reserve bank, or monetary authority is the institution that manages the currency, money supply, and interest rates of a state or formal monetary union, and oversees their commercial banking system. In contrast to a commercial bank, a central bank possesses a monopoly on increasing the monetary base in the state, and also generally controls the printing/coining of the national currency, which serves as the state's legal tender. A central bank also acts as a lender of last resort to the banking sector during times of financial crisis. Most central banks also have supervisory and regulatory powers to ensure the solvency of member institutions, to prevent bank runs, and to discourage reckless or fraudulent behavior by member banks.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a United States government corporation providing deposit insurance to depositors in U.S. commercial banks and savings institutions. The FDIC was created by the 1933 Banking Act, enacted during the Great Depression to restore trust in the American banking system. More than one-third of banks failed in the years before the FDIC's creation, and bank runs were common. The insurance limit was initially US$2,500 per ownership category, and this was increased several times over the years. Since the passage of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2011, the FDIC insures deposits in member banks up to US$250,000 per ownership category.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
A national bank regulator imposes requirements on banks in order to promote the objectives of the regulator. Often, these requirements are closely tied to the level of risk exposure for a certain sector of the bank. The most important minimum requirement in banking regulation is maintaining minimum capital ratios.To some extent, U.S. banks have some leeway in determining who will supervise and regulate them.
The regulator requires banks to publicly disclose financial and other information and depositors and other creditors are able to use this information to assess the level of risk and to make investment decisions. As a result of this, the bank is subject to market discipline and the regulator can also use market pricing information as an indicator of the bank's financial health.
The capital requirement sets a framework on how banks must handle their capital in relation to their assets. Internationally, the Bank for International Settlements' Basel Committee on Banking Supervision influences each country's capital requirements. In 1988, the Committee decided to introduce a capital measurement system commonly referred to as the Basel Capital Accords. The latest capital adequacy framework is commonly known as Basel III.This updated framework is intended to be more risk sensitive than the original one, but is also a lot more complex.
The reserve requirement sets the minimum reserves each bank must hold to demand deposits and banknotes. This type of regulation has lost the role it once had, as the emphasis has moved toward capital adequacy, and in many countries there is no minimum reserve ratio. The purpose of minimum reserve ratios is liquidity rather than safety. An example of a country with a contemporary minimum reserve ratio is Hong Kong, where banks are required to maintain 25% of their liabilities that are due on demand or within 1 month as qualifying liquefiable assets.
Reserve requirements have also been used in the past to control the stock of banknotes and/or bank deposits. Required reserves have at times been gold, central bank banknotes or deposits, and foreign currency.
Corporate governance requirements are intended to encourage the bank to be well managed, and is an indirect way of achieving other objectives. As many banks are relatively large, and with many divisions, it is important for management to maintain a close watch on all operations. Investors and clients will often hold higher management accountable for missteps, as these individuals are expected to be aware of all activities of the institution. Some of these requirements may include:
Among the most important regulations that are placed on banking institutions is the requirement for disclosure of the bank's finances. Particularly for banks that trade on the public market, in the US for example the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires management to prepare annual financial statements according to a financial reporting standard, have them audited, and to register or publish them. Often, these banks are even required to prepare more frequent financial disclosures, such as Quarterly Disclosure Statements. The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 outlines in detail the exact structure of the reports that the SEC requires.
In addition to preparing these statements, the SEC also stipulates that directors of the bank must attest to the accuracy of such financial disclosures. Thus, included in their annual reports must be a report of management on the company's internal control over financial reporting. The internal control report must include: a statement of management's responsibility for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting for the company; management's assessment of the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting as of the end of the company's most recent fiscal year; a statement identifying the framework used by management to evaluate the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting; and a statement that the registered public accounting firm that audited the company's financial statements included in the annual report has issued an attestation report on management's assessment of the company's internal control over financial reporting. Under the new rules, a company is required to file the registered public accounting firm's attestation report as part of the annual report. Furthermore, the SEC added a requirement that management evaluate any change in the company's internal control over financial reporting that occurred during a fiscal quarter that has materially affected, or is reasonably likely to materially affect, the company's internal control over financial reporting.
Banks may be required to obtain and maintain a current credit rating from an approved credit rating agency, and to disclose it to investors and prospective investors. Also, banks may be required to maintain a minimum credit rating. These ratings are designed to provide color for prospective clients or investors regarding the relative risk that one assumes when engaging in business with the bank. The ratings reflect the tendencies of the bank to take on high risk endeavors, in addition to the likelihood of succeeding in such deals or initiatives. The rating agencies that banks are most strictly governed by, referred to as the "Big Three" are the Fitch Group, Standard and Poor's and Moody's. These agencies hold the most influence over how banks (and all public companies) are viewed by those engaged in the public market. In recent years, following the Great Recession, many economists have argued that these agencies face a serious conflict of interest in their core business model.Clients pay these agencies to rate their company based on their relative riskiness in the market. The question then is, to whom is the agency providing its service: the company or the market?
European financial economics experts – notably the World Pensions Council (WPC) have argued that European powers such as France and Germany pushed dogmatically and naively for the adoption of the "Basel II recommendations", adopted in 2005, transposed in European Union law through the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD). In essence, they forced European banks, and, more importantly, the European Central Bank itself, to rely more than ever on the standardized assessments of "credit risk" marketed aggressively by two US credit rating agencies – Moody's and S&P, thus using public policy and ultimately taxpayers' money to strengthen anti-competitive duopolistic practices akin to exclusive dealing. Ironically, European governments have abdicated most of their regulatory authority in favor of a non-European, highly deregulated, private cartel.
Banks may be restricted from having imprudently large exposures to individual counterparties or groups of connected counterparties. Such limitation may be expressed as a proportion of the bank's assets or equity, and different limits may apply based on the security held and/or the credit rating of the counterparty. Restricting disproportionate exposure to high-risk investment prevents financial institutions from placing equity holders' (as well as the firm's) capital at an unnecessary risk.
In the US in response to the Great depression of the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's under the New Deal enacted the Securities Act of 1933 and the Glass–Steagall Act (GSA), setting up a pervasive regulatory scheme for the public offering of securities and generally prohibiting commercial banks from underwriting and dealing in those securities. GSA prohibited affiliations between banks (which means bank-chartered depository institutions, that is, financial institutions that hold federally insured consumer deposits) and securities firms (which are commonly referred to as “investment banks” even though they are not technically banks and do not hold federally insured consumer deposits); further restrictions on bank affiliations with non-banking firms were enacted in Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (BHCA) and its subsequent amendments, eliminating the possibility that companies owning banks would be permitted to take ownership or controlling interest in insurance companies, manufacturing companies, real estate companies, securities firms, or any other non-banking company. As a result, distinct regulatory systems developed in the United States for regulating banks, on the one hand, and securities firms on the other.
Among the reasons for maintaining close regulation of banking institutions is the aforementioned concern over the global repercussions that could result from a bank's failure; the idea that these bulge bracket banks are "too big to fail".The objective of federal agencies is to avoid situations in which the government must decide whether to support a struggling bank or to let it fail. The issue, as many argue, is that providing aid to crippled banks creates a situation of moral hazard. The general premise is that while the government may have prevented a financial catastrophe for the time being, they have reinforced confidence for high risk taking and provided an invisible safety net. This can lead to a vicious cycle, wherein banks take risks, fail, receive a bailout, and then continue to take risks once again.
Financial regulation is a form of regulation or supervision, which subjects financial institutions to certain requirements, restrictions and guidelines, aiming to maintain the integrity of the financial system. This may be handled by either a government or non-government organization. Financial regulation has also influenced the structure of banking sectors by increasing the variety of financial products available. Financial regulation forms one of three legal categories which constitutes the content of financial law, the other two being market practices, case law.
A banking license is a legal prerequisite for a financial institution that wants to carry on a banking business. Under the laws of most jurisdictions, a business is not permitted to carry words like a bank, insurance, national in their name, unless it holds a corresponding license. Depending to their banking regulations, jurisdictions may offer different types of banking licenses, such as
Operational risk is "the risk of a change in value caused by the fact that actual losses, incurred for inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems, or from external events, differ from the expected losses". This definition, adopted by the European Solvency II Directive for insurers, is a variation from that adopted in the Basel II regulations for banks. In October 2014, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision proposed a revision to its operational risk capital framework that sets out a new standardized approach to replace the basic indicator approach and the standardized approach for calculating operational risk capital.
Basel II is the second of the Basel Accords,, which are recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.
A capital requirement is the amount of capital a bank or other financial institution has to hold as required by its financial regulator. This is usually expressed as a capital adequacy ratio of equity that must be held as a percentage of risk-weighted assets. These requirements are put into place to ensure that these institutions do not take on excess leverage and become insolvent. Capital requirements govern the ratio of equity to debt, recorded on the liabilities and equity side of a firm's balance sheet. They should not be confused with reserve requirements, which govern the assets side of a bank's balance sheet—in particular, the proportion of its assets it must hold in cash or highly-liquid assets.
In general, compliance means conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law. Regulatory compliance describes the goal that organizations aspire to achieve in their efforts to ensure that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations. Due to the increasing number of regulations and need for operational transparency, organizations are increasingly adopting the use of consolidated and harmonized sets of compliance controls. This approach is used to ensure that all necessary governance requirements can be met without the unnecessary duplication of effort and activity from resources.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is an independent agency of the Government of Canada reporting to the Minister of Finance created "to contribute to public confidence in the Canadian financial system". It is the sole regulator of banks, and the primary regulator of insurance companies, trust companies, loan companies and pension plans in Canada.
The Capital Requirements Directives (CRD) for the financial services industry have introduced a supervisory framework in the European Union which reflects the Basel II and Basel III rules on capital measurement and capital standards.
The Solvency II Directive is a Directive in European Union law that codifies and harmonises the EU insurance regulation. Primarily this concerns the amount of capital that EU insurance companies must hold to reduce the risk of insolvency.
A stress test, in financial terminology, is an analysis or simulation designed to determine the ability of a given financial instrument or financial institution to deal with an economic crisis. Instead of doing financial projection on a "best estimate" basis, a company or its regulators may do stress testing where they look at how robust a financial instrument is in certain crashes, a form of scenario analysis. They may test the instrument under, for example, the following stresses:
The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is a United States federal law that was enacted on July 21, 2010. The law overhauled financial regulation in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, and it made changes affecting all federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every part of the nation's financial services industry.
Basel III is a global, voluntary regulatory framework on bank capital adequacy, stress testing, and market liquidity risk. This third installment of the Basel Accords was developed in response to the deficiencies in financial regulation revealed by the financial crisis of 2007–08. It is intended to strengthen bank capital requirements by increasing bank liquidity and decreasing bank leverage.
Academics, practitioners, and regulators all recognise and agree that capital is required for banks to operate smoothly because capital provides protection. The critical question is how much, and what type of, capital a bank needs to hold so that it has adequate protection.
A systemically important financial institution (SIFI) or systemically important bank (SIB) is a bank, insurance company, or other financial institution whose failure might trigger a financial crisis. They are colloquially referred to as "too big to fail".
Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse is a report on the financial crisis of 2007–2008 issued on April 13, 2011 by the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The 639-page report was issued under the chairmanship of Senators Carl Levin and Tom Coburn, and is colloquially known as the Levin-Coburn Report. After conducting "over 150 interviews and depositions, consulting with dozens of government, academic, and private sector experts" found that "the crisis was not a natural disaster, but the result of high risk, complex financial products, undisclosed conflicts of interest; and the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street." In an interview, Senator Levin noted that "The overwhelming evidence is that those institutions deceived their clients and deceived the public, and they were aided and abetted by deferential regulators and credit ratings agencies who had conflicts of interest." By the end of their two-year investigation, the staff amassed 56 million pages of memos, documents, prospectuses and e-mails. The report, which contains 2,800 footnotes and references thousands of internal documents focused on four major areas of concern regarding the failure of the financial system: high risk mortgage lending, failure of regulators to stop such practices, inflated credit ratings, and abuses of the system by investment banks. The Report also issued several recommendations for future action regarding each of these categories.
Under the Basel II guidelines, banks are allowed to use their own estimated risk parameters for the purpose of calculating regulatory capital. This is known as the internal ratings-based (IRB) approach to capital requirements for credit risk. Only banks meeting certain minimum conditions, disclosure requirements and approval from their national supervisor are allowed to use this approach in estimating capital for various exposures.
The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) is a body set up by the Government of India, Ministry of Finance, on 24 March 2011, to review and rewrite the legal-institutional architecture of the Indian financial sector. This Commission is chaired by a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice B. N. Srikrishna and has an eclectic mix of expert members drawn from the fields of finance, economics, public administration, law etc.
The Capital Requirements Regulation(EU) No. 575/2013 is an EU law that aims to decrease the likelihood that banks go insolvent. With the Credit Institutions Directive 2013 the Capital Requirements Regulation 2013 reflects Basel III rules on capital measurement and capital standards.