Risk-Based Regulation: Time to Go Back to the Future?

Andrew G.  Haldane Directeur exécutif pour la stabilité financière, Banque d’Angleterre. Contact : andy.haldane@bankofengland.co.uk.
Vasileios Madouros Économiste, direction de la stabilité financière, Banque d’Angleterre. Contact : vasileios.madouros@bankofengland.co.uk.

The regulatory infrastructure supporting the financial system has become increasingly complex over time. In this article, we focus on what has been the backbone of the regulatory infrastructure for banks in recent decades: risk-based capital regulation. We start by outlining the costs of the increasing granularity and complexity of the risk weighting regime. These costs are observable and material, risking an erosion of market confidence in the overall regime. We then turn to the benefits, investigating whether more granular and complex approaches to risk weighting have improved regulators' capacity to assess bank risk. These benefits are more elusive – both in theory and in practice. We outline some policy options for streamlining the regulatory infrastructure to make it more robust to its inherent uncertainty.

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