European banks: Reshuffling capital structures at regulators’ request
The spectre of a global systemic banking collapse, made almost real at the peak of the 2008 financial crisis, continues to haunt regulators around the world. For instance, in an attempt to shore up bank balance sheets, regulatory authorities are trying to upgrade the Basel Accords to set higher international standards for capital adequacy.
However, progress on version IV of the Basel agreement – currently on the committee to-do list – has been sluggish. Nevertheless, while Basel talks may have been sidelined for now, global authorities are making headway on common standards for so-called resolution capital – also known as total loss-absorbing capital (TLAC). It represents a shift in focus from considering common equity tier 1 (CET1), the purest form of equity, to one that takes a more comprehensive view of an institution’s capital.
This change in perspective has driven the UK Financial Stability Board (FSB) to zero in on the so-called too-big-to-fail, globally systemically important banks (G-SIBs) – the large financial conglomerates offering an array of services worldwide – with a set of proposals to further shockproof the banking system.