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Basel III and Islamic Finance: What Lies Ahead?
Mike Kennedy, Head of Risk Management
Bank of London and The Middle East
February 2012

Basel III is unlikely to materially change the existing challenges faced by Islamic banks. However it is expected to dominate the agenda of many conventional financial institutions. Mike Kennedy discusses.

The profound impact of the global financial crisis prompted G20 leaders to seek an agreement on a set of international rules designed to improve both the quantity and quality of bank capital, and to discourage excessive leverage.

It is recognised that these rules should be phased in as the global economic situation improves. These new rules will become enshrined in the national legislation and subsequently codified in the issuance of a set of new international regulatory and capital adequacy standards — Basel III. The aim is to have Basel III fully implemented by 2019 with significant changes to the liquidity, capital adequacy and governance of all financial institutions.

A significant question highlights the road ahead for many banks: ‘What position would banks have been in if Basel III was applicable in 2009?’ The answer is shocking — banks would have been EUR577 billion (US$746 billion) short of capital and EUR1.73 trillion (US$2.23 trillion) short of liquid assets.

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