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Using the news story from the Financial Times in Appendix A as a starting point for your research, write an essay which critically evaluates the extent which the Basel legislation is effective in addressing the causes of the financial crisis. Your essay should draw on a wide range of academic and professional sources, and use industry examples as appropriate to support your argument, and you should reach a well-supported conclusion on the extent to which you agree with the view put forward in the article that the ‘big pieces are there’ . Your essay should be no shorter than 2,250 words, and no longer than 2,500 words in total (excluding references).

– Marking criteria
Your essay will be marked, and feedback given, using the following grid:

Introduction
A clear introduction which summarises the key issues to be discussed, and sets the scene engagingly for the reader. (15 marks)

Discussion
A logical, coherent and convincing argument is developed, which clearly identifies and evaluated the key issues.
Extensive reading and research which is evidenced by a well informed discussion and appropriate citations in the text.  (60 marks)

Conclusion
A well warranted conclusion, which is well supported by and summarises clearly the arguments presented, and does not introduce any new material or concepts. (15 marks)

Use of English, referencing and bibliography
Use of clear, accurate and professional language appropriate for the readership.
Sources are appropriately cited within the text, and a correctly formatted list of references and  bibliography is present. (10 marks)

Appendix A
End in sight for post-crisis banking reform, says Basel head
The Financial Times, 29 March 2015
Laura Noonan in Basel

The avalanche of post-crisis banking regulation is coming to an end and most of the uncertainties weighing on the financial industry will be dealt with in the next year, Basel Committee secretary-general William Coen has said.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, the big pieces are there and it’s really now about getting to the finish line,” Mr Coen told the Financial Times. “We understand the importance of providing clarity and certainty and we’re working toward wrapping up as much as we can in the course of the next year.”

The completion of the Basel rule book would bring to a close an unprecedented period of new bank regulation triggered by the 2007 global financial crisis.

An analysis from Citi shows the world’s top 10 banks now have $470.8bn more capital than they had at the end of 2007. They have also made sweeping changes to their business models, curtailing riskier investment banking activities.

“It is critical that the industry now has sufficient time to implement, reflect and evaluate the cumulative impact,” said Tim Adams, president of the International Institute of Finance (IIF), the global financial industry group.

Areas of reform that still require clarification include Basel’s review of market risk rules — which looks at the effect of changing market prices on capital requirements for banks’ trading operations. Banks still want extra work carried out on this review, which could delay their completion by six to nine months. “It remains to be seen whether we’ll do that or not,” Mr Coen said, pointing to the extensive work that has already been done. The official deadline is the end of 2015.

Mr Coen said it was his “strong inclination” to also complete the review of banks’ trading book rules by the end of the year.

The other major ongoing Basel review looks at how banks calculate their risk weighted assets (RWA), the denominator for capital ratios. Mr Coen said the Committee was working on “technical fixes” that would give banks less flexibility when they use internal models to calculate their requirements. The Committee will consult on the measures later this year.

Simon Lewis, chief executive of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), said prolonged regulatory uncertainty would undermine economic growth. He stressed that there was a long way to go before banks could breathe a sigh of relief.

Huw van Steenis, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, said chief executives at the bank’s annual financial conference in London last week thought they were “80 to 90 per cent through the transformational financial reform agenda”.

With the era of rulemaking largely over, the Basel Committee’s focus is evolving. “It is the right time to step back and assess how these many moving parts fit together,” said Mr Coen.

The Committee is also assessing how well the rules have been implemented. “All indications are that mostly everyone is sticking to the rules and we’re pointing out those areas where people are not,” he said.
Paul Chisnall, executive director of the British Bankers’ Association, said it was important to pause for breath. “Reforms work best if they come in stages rather than a continuous stream,” he said.

Additional reporting by Caroline Binham in London
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2015.

 

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