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Expert: Basel II might have prevented crunch

Future capital adequacy guidelines for banks would have helped prevent the global credit crisis from occuring, the chairman of the Basel committee suggested yesterday.

Nout Wellink commented that it was a "misunderstanding" to say that Basel II would have allowed the risky practices among banks that triggered the crunch.

Commenting in the Financial Times, the chairman admitted that "it has been argued that Basel II adopts the models that failed to perform in the recent turmoil".

However, he added that the rules "[do] not allow banks to use the credit pricing models that failed to perform".

Instead, Basel II would provide impetus for banks to produce "forward-looking approaches to assessing, managing and holding adequate capital for risks" - helping to prevent such crises from occurring in the future.

The guidelines are to replace the original Basel agreement, first implemented in 1988.

As well as being chairman of the Basel committee, Mr Wellink is also president of the Dutch central bank.