Tier 1 Capital Ratio

Tier 1 Capital Ratio

Tier 1 Capital Ratio is the ratio of Tier 1 capital (capital that is available for banks on a going concern basis) as a proportion of bank’s risk-weighted assets.  Tier 1 capital includes the bank’s shareholder’s equity, retained earnings, accumulated other comprehensive income, and contingently convertible and perpetual debt instruments of the bank.

Explanation

  • The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 threw light on the weak capital and loss absorption capacity of many financial institutions internationally. There were discrepancies observed in the computation of capital across geographies and jurisdictions, which reduced the comparability of capital ratios and shook confidence in the reported figures.
  • To ensure that high-quality capital was reckoned and to bring about uniformity in the computation of capital ratios of financial institutions, the global committee of banking supervisors – the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, issued the Basel III accord.
  • Basel III norms laid emphasis on increasing the loss-absorbing capacity of banks to be better prepared for financial crisis events by strengthening the capital ratios of the banks. Basel III norms required a minimum Tier 1 capital ratio of 6% and the total capital ratio of 8%. The III accord also requires banks to maintain a capital buffer of 2.5% over and above the total capital requirement of 8%, to provide additional comfort.
Tier 1 Capital Ratio

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Formula

Formula

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Components

Tier 1 Capital = Common Equity Tier 1 Capital + Additional Tier 1 Capital
  1. Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) Capital – CET1 capital is the core equity capital of the bank and includes shareholder’s equity, retained earnings, and accumulated other comprehensive income of the bank.
  2. Additional Tier 1 (AT1) Capital – AT1 capital includes certain contingently convertible and perpetual debt of the bank since they provide going concern capital to the bank.
CET1 Capital Ratio Formula

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OR

AT1 Capital Ratio Formula

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Tier1 = CET1 + AT1
  • = 4.5% + 1.5%
  • = 6%

Basel III accord focused on building up the core capital of the banks. As a result, the norms capped the amount of AT1 capital that can be considered to reckon Tier 1 capital, at 1.5% of the bank’s risk-weighted assets.

Example

Consider an example of a bank determining its risk-weighted assets at $150,000 million. The amount that qualifies as Tier 1 capital after regulator adjustments add up to $10,500 million, with CET1 capital comprising $9,500 million and AT1 capital accounting for the balance of $1,000 million.

This can be calculated as follows:

Example 1

Alternatively,

  • = ($9,500 ÷ $150,000) + ($1,000 ÷ $150,000)
Example 1-1
Ratio = CET1 Ratio + AT1 Ratio
  • = 6.33% + 0.67%
Example 1-2
  • = 7%

Tier 1 Capital vs. Tier 1 Leverage Ratio

Tier 1 Leverage Ratio = Tier 1 Capital / On and Off-Balance Sheet Exposures.
  • Tier 1 leverage ratio was introduced by the Basel III norms to prevent banks from excessively leveraging their businesses. Basel III prescribes a minimum Tier 1 leverage ratio of 3%.
  • Banks that are considered too big to fail, the failure of which is expected to have an adverse effect on the global economy as a whole, are categorized as Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs). The minimum Tier 1 capital and Tier 1 leverage requirement for G-SIBs is prescribed at a level higher than other banks. The exact regulatory minimum is fixed on a case-to-case basis for each G-SIB separately, taking into account factors such as the size of their bank and their relative importance, its interconnectedness with the economies across jurisdictions, level of infrastructure facilities of the bank, etc.

Conclusion

Basel III norms resulted in the tightening of Tier 1 capital norms and the introduction of the Tier 1 leverage ratio to prevent excessive build-up of leverage and to increase the capacity of the banks’ capital to be able to cushion possible losses from its exposures. A more robust Tier 1 capital ratio indicates the better ability of the bank to be able to absorb losses. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, the higher the ratio, more particularly the CET1 capital ratio, the better.

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