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Basel III's ability to mitigate systemic risk

Stefan Schwerter (Ernst & Young, Hamburg, Germany)

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance

ISSN: 1358-1988

Article publication date: 15 November 2011




The financial crisis 2007‐2009 calls for a regulatory response. A crucial element of this task is the treatment of systemic risk. Basel III gains centre stage in this process. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to evaluate Basel III, examining its ability to reduce systemic risk.


The paper highlights the importance of reducing systemic risk to achieve the goal of overall financial stability. By first focusing on the theoretical foundations of systemic risk, this paper explores and analyzes the crucial aspects of this almost impalpable risk type. It further investigates the current regulation of systemic risk, clearly showing Basel II's inability to reduce it. Then, it evaluates the Basel Committee's efforts to address these weaknesses through Basel III by investigating its incentives and its ability to reduce obvious drawbacks of Basel II as well as systemic risk factors.


The findings show that there are still adjustments necessary. Although the development of Basel III is well advanced, providing some stabilizing incentives, there are still issues calling for closer consideration to counter all Basel II drawbacks and systemic risk factors adequately. These include: a risk‐weighted leverage ratio; a more thorough treatment of procyclicality; adjustments for the NSFR (Net Stable Funding ratio); and most importantly, the mandatory issue to internalize negative externalities from financial institutions, that is, the call for pricing systemic risk.


The paper not only examines the new Basel III framework, as a response to the Financial Crisis 2007‐2009, but also draws attention to specific areas which the Basel Committee and regulators need to focus on more thoroughly.



Schwerter, S. (2011), "Basel III's ability to mitigate systemic risk", Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 337-354.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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