BASEL COMMITTEE ON BANKING SUPERVISION

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) was established in 1974, shortly after the failure of Bankhaus Herstatt in West Germany, on the initiative of the governors of the G10 central banks. The main purpose was to enhance international cooperation between the banking supervisory authorities, especially in the light of the crisis that had affected the international banking market. The Basel committee is composed of members from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Member countries are represented by their central banks and by their authorities responsible for the prudential supervision of banking business. The Committee's Secretariat is based at the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland where meetings are held regularly three or four times a year. The Committee promotes cooperation between the banking supervisory authorities by facilitating the exchange of information, by defining prudential principles and by setting supervisory standards. However, its rules are not legally enforceable, rather they are intended as a guide for convergence towards common approaches and common standards. The Committee's work is organized under four main sub-committees. The Standards Implementation Group (SIG), divided into two subgroups (Validation and Operational Risk Subgroup), is responsible for the implementation of the Basel II Framework in different jurisdictions. The Policy Development Group (PDG) supports the Committee in developing policies, on the basis of the reporting activity of seven working groups: the Risk Management and Modelling Group (RMMG), the Research Task Force (RTF), the Working Group on Liquidity, the Definition of Capital Subgroup, a Basel II Capital Monitoring Group, the Trading Book Group (TBG) and the Cross-border Bank Resolution Group. The main objective of the Accounting Task Force (ATF) is to issue international accounting and auditing standards and practices. Three working groups report to the ATF: the Conceptual Framework Issues Subgroup, the Financial Instruments Practices Subgroup, and the Audit Subgroup. Finally, the Basel Consultative Group (BCG) exchanges information also with non-member countries on Committee initiatives. Since 1975, the Committee has issued a long series of documents. In particular, in 1983 it elaborated the report entitled Principles for the supervision of banks’ foreign establishments, followed in 1993 by Minimum Standards for the supervision of international banking groups and their cross-border establishments, which set the principles for the supervision of banks’ foreign branches, subsidiaries and joint ventures. In 1997, it developed the Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision, and in October 1999 the "Core Principles Methodology". Both documents, revised in 2006, provided a basic reference for effective banking supervision. In 1988, the Committee issued its most important document, "International convergence of capital measurement and capital standards", commonly referred to as the Basel Capital Accord that introduced international standards on capital adequacy. The 1988 capital framework was revised over time and adapted to the evolution of the banking sector. It was amended in November 1991, April 1995, and January 1996. Finally, in June 1999, the Committee proposed the definitive replacement of the 1988 capital adequacy framework that occurred in June 2004. The New Capital Framework, generally referred to as Basel 2 agreement, has been designed to provide more risk-sensitive capital requirements and a greater degree of disclosure to encourage market discipline, in response to the financial innovation occurred in the 1990s. As a result, it includes three pillars: minimum capital requirements, Supervisory Review Process and Market Discipline and Disclosures. The Committee also focused on the treatment of banks’ trading books by working jointly with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), and by applying the Revised Framework to certain exposures arising from trading activities. The Committee also issued guidance on other relevant supervisory issues as accounting, auditing, anti-money laundering, and various types of risk, such as credit, liquidity, market and operational risk. In the aftermath of the 2007 financial market crisis, the Basel II capital framework was further strengthened in July 2009, especially with regard to risk managements and disclosure rules (Pillar 2 and Pillar 3). In particular, since the beginning of the crisis, the Committee has worked in close collaboration with other relevant international financial bodies, and especially with the Financial Stability Forum (FSF).
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