November 8, 2013 / 3:50 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-FSB to name 29 banks on too-big-to-fail list - Russia

MOSCOW, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The Financial Stability Board, a global regulatory body, will name 29 banks worldwide that are “too big to fail” in an updated list that will be published next week, Russia’s top international finance official said on Friday.

“Among the 29 banks there will be Chinese institutions,” Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said, referring to large banks that will have to hold a larger capital buffer than their smaller local rivals from 2016.

After the failure of Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, taxpayers were called on to shore up lenders in Britain and the United States whose demise could have caused global financial chaos.

Since then, governments have backed rules to make safer the “bulge bracket” banks whose balance sheets may be too large for national governments to shore up on their own, hence the ‘too big to fail’ label.

The FSB, which coordinates global regulation for the Group of 20 leading economies, last year named Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC and JP Morgan Chase as the banks required to have the largest cushion.

Storchak, who was speaking at a news conference in Moscow after a scheduled plenary meeting of the FSB, said that there will be some replacements in the updated list.

An original list drafted in 2011 had 29 banks and was shortened by one to 28 a year ago. Banks are required to hold additional equity of between 1 and 2.5 percent of risk-weighted assets depending on which risk ‘bucket’ they are assigned to.

FSB Secretary General Svein Andresen told the same press conference that priorities are to ensure that the globally systemic important banks have adequate loss-absorbing capacity if they do fail.

“The point here is to ensure that when these financial institutions have exhausted their own equity capital, it is not the public purse that pays for saving systematically important banks,” Andresen said.

“That means that there need to be coordination arrangements across many countries to deal with the problems of these massive institutions.”

Some bankers say that solving the too-big-to-fail issue will be hard but that success would make other post-crisis reforms almost irrelevant.

The FSB is also working on addressing the problematic side of shadow banking, paying increased attention to China, where according to various estimates, shadow banking amounts to 40 percent to 70 percent of gross domestic product.

China is to submit its own report on the size of the phenomenon by the end of the year, Andresen said. Storchak said the issue was problematic.

“Authors (of a report delivered at Friday’s meeting) were forced to conclude that the work of the Chinese statistical services until now does not make it possible to reliably estimate the size of the problem,” Storchak said.

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