EU banks lag in disclosure

Disclosures do not need to be in official filings, FSF said. (GETTY IMAGES)

European banks are lagging behind their US counterparts in disclosing risk information recommended by the Financial Stability Forum (FSF), its secretary general said.

The forum, a group of regulators, central bankers and finance ministers assembled by the Group of Seven leading industrial nations, had urged banks to come clean on losses from the credit crisis by mid-2008.

"We have heard a number of European banks have said they don't have enough time to implement the disclosure template," Svein Andresen told the Global ABS 2008 conference. Big US banks have been able to disclose the information, and they have had no more time to do it, he said.

"European institutions just ought to get on with it," added Andresen, who is also secretary-general of the Bank for International Settlements. Such disclosures do not need to be in official filings, but can simply be in the form of slide presentations as part of a mid-year report, he said.

The FSF in a 75-page report released in mid-April also proposed increases in capital provisions.

The measures include seeking guidance from banks' on management of firm-wide risk, stress testing practices, off balance-sheet exposures and exposure to highly leveraged counterparties, Andresen said.

"Firms with persistent weaknesses in these areas will face higher capital charges," he added.

Bank write-downs have already amounted to more for European institutions than for US banks, $168 billion (Dh616bn) compared with about $130bn, said Imene Rahmouni-Rousseau, head of financial stability and markets at the Banque de France, citing Bloomberg data of two weeks ago.



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