Market Risk Capital Rules: Creditworthiness Standards to Replace Credit Ratings

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On December 21, 2011 the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“Board”), and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) (collectively, the “agencies”) proposed rules on market risk capital (the “December Proposal”). The primary purpose of the December Proposal is to incorporate into the current market risk rules new creditworthiness standards to be used in risk-weighting certain debt and securitization positions without relying on credit ratings. Comments on the December Proposal are due by February 3, 2012.

The December Proposal substantially modifies an earlier proposal from January 2011 (“the January Proposal”). The January Proposal was an effort to bring the U.S. market risk capital rules in line with Basel II. Broadly, this proposal sought to modify the scope of the market risk capital rules to better reflect appropriate levels of risk, reduce procyclicality in market risk capital requirements, and increase transparency through enhanced disclosures.

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