The average capital reserves for Canada's Big Six banks — defined as Tier 1 capital (common shares, retained earnings and non-cumulative preferred shares) to risk-adjusted assets — is 9.8%, several percentage points above the 7% required by Canada's federal bank regulator. That's a little better than major U.S. commercial banks like Bank of America, but significantly higher than an average capital ratio of about 4% for U.S. investment banks and 3.3% for European commercial banks.So the capital reserve of Canada's banks is required by law to be more than twice as high as Europe's are, and in practice is almost three times as high. Also, Canada's investment dealers are subject to the same strict regulation that banks are. Not that the banks are grateful for this security -- they spent the better part of the last decade whining about over-regulation. It would be nice to get a thank you, is all I'm saying.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Regulation saved your money -- if you're Canadian
Good piece from Time, on the basic reason that Canada's banks are more sound than America's: