Most Basel members miss own deadline for new bank rules

LONDON Thu Apr 4, 2013 10:41am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - The world's top banking regulatory body said over half its members missed the January deadline set by global leaders for introducing tougher rules to make banks safer.

Critics say the delay underlines the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's lack of enforcement powers which means it can only "name and shame" laggards.

The committee said on Thursday 11 of its 27 members have approved rules to implement the Basel III accord, the world's main regulatory response to the 2007-09 financial crisis that sent undercapitalized banks running to governments for help to stay afloat.

Some of the world's top financial centers such as Britain, Germany, France and the United States have yet to finalize or introduce their rules based on an accord world leaders endorsed over two years ago.

January marked the start of a six-year phase-in of the new regime.

"The committee believes that disclosure will provide additional incentive for members to fully comply with the international agreements," the committee said.

Nine laggards are European where the rules are being agreed by the European Union. A deal was only reached last month and will not come into effect until January 2014, a year late.

Federal Reserve Governor Daniel Tarullo said on Wednesday the United States will fine tune its rules later this year.

"Countries have moved to implement at rather different paces and this reflects the profound nature of the changes and the debates needed on implementation," said Patricia Jackson, a former Basel Committee member and now a financial services partner at Ernst & Young consultancy.

The EU and the United States account for a majority of global banking assets, though most big banks on both sides of the Atlantic meet or exceed the Basel capital requirements.

The Basel Committee said last month the world's top banks have made big strides in meeting Basel's capital rules in full several years early.

But some regulators worry other parts of Basel due to be rolled out over coming years, such as limits on a bank's balance sheet, could slide because of the delayed starting dates.

Hardline regulators in Britain and the United States are already pushing for a rethink of Basel III, saying it is too complicated to work and the committee will consider some simplification.

(Editing by David Cowell)

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