We really wanted to like Basel III. Frankly, anything with a Roman numeral commands our immediate attention and respect: Super Bowl I, World War II, Rocky III.
Ok, maybe not Rocky III.
The name alone implies a certain tradition combined with a sense of progressive improvement. First there was Basel I (1988). Then came Basel II (2004). Now we have Basel III. Add the gravitas of a Swiss city and, well, we’re buyers.
But it’s a rough world we live in. All things once sacred are under scrutiny. Even as governments worked frantically over the past three years on a succession of plans to plug systemic cash leaks and bolster weak balance sheets, the unprecedented velocity of change in the financial sector made the best and brightest regulators look clueless.