This study aims to render a fundamental assessment of the Basel II internal ratings-based (IRB) approach by taking readings of the Australian banking sector since the implementation of Basel II and comparing them with signals from macroeconomic indicators, financial statistics and external credit ratings. The IRB approach to capital adequacy for credit risk, which implements an asymptotic single risk factor (ASRF) model, plays an important role in protecting the Australian banking sector against insolvency.
Realisations of the single systematic risk factor, interpreted as describing the prevailing state of the Australian economy, are recovered from the ASRF model and compared with macroeconomic indicators. Similarly, estimates of distance-to-default, reflecting the capacity of the Australian banking sector to absorb credit losses, are recovered from the ASRF model and compared with financial statistics and external credit ratings. With the implementation of Basel II preceding the time when the effect of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 was most acutely felt, the authors measure the impact of the crisis on the Australian banking sector.
Measurements from the ASRF model find general agreement with signals from macroeconomic indicators, financial statistics and external credit ratings. This leads to a favourable assessment of the ASRF model for the purposes of capital allocation, performance attribution and risk monitoring. The empirical analysis used in this paper reveals that the recent crisis imparted a mild stress on the Australian banking sector.
Given the range of economic conditions, from mild contraction to moderate expansion, experienced in Australia since the implementation of Basel II, the authors cannot attest to the validity of the model specification of the IRB approach for its intended purpose of solvency assessment.
Access to internal bank data collected by the prudential regulator distinguishes this paper from other empirical studies on the IRB approach and financial crisis of 2007-2009. The authors are not the first to attempt to measure the effects of the recent crisis, but they believe that they are the first to do so using regulatory data.
Tarca, S. and Rutkowski, M. (2016), "Assessing the Basel II internal ratings-based approach: Empirical evidence from Australia", Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 106-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFRC-05-2015-0024Download as .RIS
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