What is Basel II & Basel III

What is Basel II & III?

You can't talk about Compliance without mentioning Basel it is a direct result of the Credit Crunch and has affected all Banks and many other Financial Service firms.

Basel II is the second of the Basel Accords, which are recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS). The purpose of Basel II, which was initially published in June 2004, is to create an international standard that banking regulators can use when creating regulations about how much capital banks need to put aside to guard against the types of financial and operational risks banks face. Advocates of Basel II believe that such an international standard can help protect the international financial system from the types of problems that might arise should a major bank or a series of banks collapse. 

In practice, Basel II attempts to accomplish this by setting up rigorous risk and capital management requirements designed to ensure that a bank holds capital reserves appropriate to the risk the bank exposes itself to through its lending and investment practices. Generally speaking, these rules mean that the greater risk to which the bank is exposed, the greater the amount of capital the bank needs to hold to safeguard its solvency and overall economic stability.

Basel III (or the Third Basel Accord) is a global, voluntary regulatory standard on bank capital adequacy, stress testing and market liquidity risk. It was agreed upon by the members of the BCBS in 2010–11, and was scheduled to be introduced from 2013 until 2015; however, changes from April 1, 2013 extended implementation until March 31, 2018. The third instalment of the Basel Accords was developed in response to the deficiencies in financial regulation revealed by the late 2000s financial crisis. Basel III was supposed to strengthen banks capital requirements by increasing bank liquidity and decreasing bank leverage.


Unlike Basel I and Basel II which are primarily related to the required level of bank loss reserves that must be held by banks for various classes of loans and other investments and assets that they have, Basel III is primarily related to the risks for the banks of a run on the bank by requiring differing levels of reserves for different forms of bank deposits and other borrowings. Therefore contrary to what might be expected by the name, Basel III rules do not for the most part supersede the guidelines known as Basel I and Basel II but work alongside them.