UK and European banks progress Basel III reform programmes despite rising regulatory compliance costs and data challenges

UK and European headquartered global banks are reporting strong progress towards Basel III compliance, well ahead of the January 2025 implementation deadline, according to new EY research. The Basel III framework seeks to strengthen the resilience of the banking system, headlined by a standardization of approach to credit risk, credit valuation adjustment risk, and operation risk.

EY’s research – which covers 51% of UK, 27% of European and 29% of US headquartered banks by assets – finds that all of the UK banks surveyed, nearly two-thirds (61%) of European banks, and 57% of US banks have now mobilised a Basel III reform programme. Going a step further, half of UK banks (50%), nearly a fifth (17%) of European banks, and 29% of US banks are using Basel III reforms to accelerate and deliver significant and transformational data management, technology and operating model change across their organization.

However, although progress is being made, the survey also found that 83% of UK banks and 67% of European banks are yet to determine their approach to allocating the capital impact of the standardized floor brought in by Basel III reforms – a core requirement of the regulation. It is unlikely the standardized floor will be applicable in the US.

The survey also found that, while all banks surveyed have appointed an executive sponsor to their reform programmes, there is divergence around whether the responsibility sits within the finance or risk function. Half of UK banks, a third of European banks, and 29% of US banks have appointed a sponsor or accountable executive responsible for Basel III reforms in finance; under a fifth (17%) in the UK and Europe have appointed a sponsor in risk; and 33% of UK banks, 44% of European banks and 57% of US banks have organized joint responsibility across the two functions.

Rising costs and quality of data in focus

The quality and availability of data required to comply with Basel III was identified as the most significant challenge to delivery of the reforms for 60% of UK banks monitored and 33% of European banks.

Costs are also an area of challenge, and there is significant divergence in banks’ experience of the costs associated with the implementation of Basel III reforms. Two thirds (67%) of UK banks report an increase in costs of Basel III reforms over the last 12 months, relative to just 22% of European banks. 57% of US banks report a cost increase.

Under a fifth (17%) of UK banks estimate that the end-to-end costs for delivering the Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (FRTB) – the comprehensive suite of capital rules brought about by Basel III Reforms – will be sub-US$10m, relative to 76% of European banks and 29% of US banks. Half (50%) of UK banks anticipate that FRTB delivery costs could end up in the range of US$100-200m+, relative to just 6% of European banks and 29% of US banks.

Jared Chebib, EMEIA Basel III Leader and Banking Partner at EY, comments: “As we move nearer to the compliance deadline, we expect costs, resources and the demands presented by implementation to ramp up. Organizations must identify and allocate senior sponsorship to key elements of the reform programme to ensure that momentum is maintained towards the deadline – even as global regulators continue to finalise their position.”

banksBasel III complianceBasel III reformdata challengesEuropeanEYprogressrising costsUK
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