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Document Type

Case Studies

Abstract

After the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) introduced the Basel III framework in 2010, individual countries confronted the question of how best to implement the framework given their unique circumstances. Switzerland, with a banking industry that is both heavily concentrated and very large relative to the size of its overall economy, faced a special challenge. It ultimately adopted what is sometimes referred to as the “Swiss Finish” to Basel III—enhanced requirements applicable to Switzerland’s “too-big-to-fail” banks Credit Suisse and UBS that go beyond the base requirements established by the BCBS. Yet the prominent role played by relatively new contingent convertible capital (CoCos) in the Swiss Finish, coupled with the fact that banks are allowed to use their own internal models in determining whether requirements are met may call into question the extent to which the Swiss Finish to Basel III represents a meaningful enhancement to the risk-based capital requirements of the Basel framework.

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