A new report from TowerGroup recommends that U.S. banks should follow a series of initial steps to comply with the Basel II Capital Accord prior to full regulatory rules being released in order to remain competitive. According to the report, entitled ‘What Do We Do Now? A Basel II Voter’s Guide For Undecided Banks’, banks are faced a difficult dilemma: whether to wait for explicit regulatory rules and risk losing competitive ground or to plunge ahead with expensive compliance preparation without knowing exactly what regulators will require. The report asserts that taking action now would help banks to advance their lead-time preparation without committing prematurely to large technology investments. “For banks to achieve the optimal benefit from investments in Basel II, they must demonstrate across the organization the strategic value of linking the information needs of corporate compliance with those of the separate business lines.” The report added that banks that approach Basel II either as another compliance obligation – or as merely a fast track to lower capital reserve requirements – will misinterpret the strategic value of Basel II and very likely waste much of their technology investment.
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