Post date: June 10, 2003

The Harvard Law School Program on International Financial Systems held a conference today that examined risk-based capital standards for financial institutions. The conference is the culmination of a two-year study on risk-based capital, supported by Swiss Reinsurance Company.

“Our study is broader than the Basel effort since it involves capital standards for securities and insurance firms, not just banks. Given conglomeration of financial services and arbitrage of assets among different financial firms, one needs a broader outlook than just banks,” said Harvard Law School Professor Hal S. Scott, director of the Program on International Financial Systems. “Also, our conference discussed the serious implications of the decision by U.S. regulators to significantly curtail the implementation of the new Basel proposals in the United States.”

The conference was timely as new proposals for capital standards for banks have recently been issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which is responsible for setting capital standards for internationally active banks.

“The mastering of the regulatory challenges requires a proactive involvement by the affected companies. Capital adequacy is a priority issue for the entire financial services industry,” said Markus Diethelm, chief legal officer of Swiss Reinsurance Company. “Swiss Re decided to sponsor this academic research project to enhance its competence and respectability in the current debate on regulatory reform. Our co-operation with Harvard Law School’s Program on International Financial Systems has proved to be very beneficial in this respect.”

Participants on the panels included Michel Crouhy, senior vice president of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; Richard Herring, professor of international banking and director of the Lauder Institute at the Wharton School of Business; Andrew Kuritzkes, managing director of Mercer Oliver Wyman; and Rolf Nebel, legal counsel and head of regulatory affairs of Swiss Reinsurance Company.

The findings of the study will be published in a book tentatively titled Capital Adequacy: Law, Regulation, and Implementation by Oxford University Press in 2004.

The Harvard Law School Program on International Financial Systems was founded in 1986. It was established to conduct research linking law, economics and finance. For more than fifteen years the program has published books, held symposia, and provided policy advice to a variety of countries.

Swiss Re is a leading reinsurer and the world’s largest life and health reinsurer. The company is global, operating from 70 offices in 30 countries. Since its foundation in 1863, Swiss Re has been in the reinsurance business. Swiss Re has three business groups: Property & Casualty, Life & Health and Financial Services. Swiss Re is rated “AA+” by Standard & Poor’s, “Aa1” by Moody’s and “A++” by A.M. Best.