Phenomenon of 'too big to fail' banks at an end following regulatory action by FSB

BY Fraser Tennant

In a move that brings about the end of the phenomenon of banks being ‘too big to fail', the  Financial Stability Board (FSB) has this week unveiled its final Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity (TLAC) standard for global systemically important banks (G-SIBs).

The TLAC standard issued by the FSB, the body that coordinates regulation across the Group of 20 economies (G20), is essentially a buffer that will allow a big bank to fail whilst ensuring that no economic disorder ensues, as it did at the height of the 2007-09 financial crisis.

To do this, failing G-SIBs will be given access to sufficient loss-absorbing and recapitalisation capacity available for authorities to implement a resolution that minimises impacts on financial stability, maintains the continuity of critical functions, and avoids exposing public funds to loss.

Furthermore, the TLAC standard states a minimum requirement for G-SIBs bail-in but does not limit authorities’ powers to expose other liabilities to loss through bail-in or the application of resolution tools other than the TLAC. G-SIBs will also need to meet the TLAC requirement alongside the minimum regulatory requirements outlined in the Basel III framework (a comprehensive set of reform measures developed by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS)).

The existence of the TLAC tool follows on from the G20’s request in the wake of the financial crisis for the FSB to undertake a program of reforms such as increasing bank capital requirements, making derivatives markets more transparent and keeping a tighter rein on bankers' bonuses.

“The FSB has agreed a robust global standard so that G-SIBs can fail without placing the rest of the financial system or public funds at risk of loss," said Mark Carney, chair of the FSB. “This new standard, which will be implemented in all FSB jurisdictions, is an essential element for ending too-big-to-fail for banks. The economic impact assessments conducted as part of the detailed policy work shows that the economic benefits of the final standard far outweigh the costs.”

The FSB’s consultation period on a proposed standard on TLAC began in November 2014 in consultation with the BCBS; the final standard (November 2015) features numerous changes made following the consultation and impact assessment studies (also published this week).

In a letter to G20 leaders ahead of next week’s summit in Turkey (15 to 16 November), Mr Carney said that "countries must now put in place the legislative and regulatory frameworks for these tools (the TLAC standard) to be used."

News: G20 finalizes tools for ending 'too big to fail' banks


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