RBI postpones Basel-III rollout to April 1

Last Updated: Sat, Dec 29, 2012 05:17 hrs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has rescheduled the start date for implementation of Basel-III financial norms to April 1, instead of January 1, it announced today.

Their circular came on a day when some public sector banks had withdrawn their perpetual bond issuances, as these would not qualify as tier-1 capital in the Basel-III regime. As a result, banks will have more time on this.

RBI said it would closely monitor the progress on Basel-III implementation in other countries, particularly in the major ones which are members of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS).

In May, it had issued guidelines on implementation of Basel-III capital regulation. These were to be implemented from January 1 and to be fully in place as on March 31, 2018.

The commencement date was kept as January 1, though the government's financial year begins on April 1, given the global implementation schedule agreed to by the BCBS. Postponement gives banks more time on perpetual bonds. Tier-1 capital is the core measure of a bank's financial strength from a regulator's point of view. Under Basel-III, equity capital and retained earnings are the predominant form of tier-1 capital and perpetual bonds do not qualify.

Corporation Bank and Indian Overseas Bank were planning to raise Rs 200 crore and Rs 800 crore, respectively, in December by way of perpetual bonds. They'd withdrawn these issues for December but can now raise these till March 31.

BCBS, on December 14, observed that 11 members had published the final set of Basel-III regulations effective from the start date of January 1 - Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and Switzerland. Seven other jurisdictions, including the European Union and America, had issued draft regulations and indicated they were working towards issuing final versions as quickly as possible.

The Committee further observed, "The globally agreed timeline includes a number of milestones from 2013 to 2019, designed to provide for a gradual phasing in of the new capital requirements. It is expected that as remaining jurisdictions finalise their domestic regulations during 2013, they will incorporate all the remaining transitional deadlines in line with the original global agreement, even where they have not been able to meet the January 1 start date. Hence, by the end of 2013, almost all Basel Committee jurisdictions will be implementing Basel-III, in accordance with the agreed timetable. This is an absolutely critical step towards strengthening the resilience of the global banking system.

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