Basel III: IMF says tiger, critics say mouse

30 September 2010

In mid September, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (see Update 63) released its “Basel III” rules. José Vinals, director of the IMF’s monetary and capital markets department praised the regulations as “a substantial step forward in addressing the micro-prudential failings in the areas of capital and liquidity buffers in banks”. However, independent commentators disagreed. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times says that “Basel has laboured mightily and brought forth a mouse. Needless to say, the banking industry will insist the mouse is a tiger.” He adds that trebling of capital reserves “sounds tough”, but “trebling almost nothing does not give one very much.”