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Beyond Common Equity - The Influence of Secondary Capital on Bank Insolvency Risk

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  • Thomas Conlon

    (University College Dublin)

  • John Cotter

    (University College Dublin)

  • Philip Molyneux

    (University of Sharjah)

Abstract

Banks adhere to strict rules regarding the quantity of regulatory capital held, but have some flexibility as to its composition. In this paper, we examine bank insolvency risk (distance to default) for listed North American and European banks over the period 2002-2014, focusing on sensitivity to capital other than common equity. Decomposing tier 1 capital into equity and non-core components reveals a heretofore unidentified variation in risk reduction capacity. Greater non-core tier 1 capital is associated with increased insolvency risk for larger and more diversified banks, impairing the risk reducing capacity of aggregate tier 1 capital. Overall tier 2 capital is not linked with insolvency risk, although a conflicting relationship is isolated conditional on the level of total regulatory capital held. Finally, the association between risk and capital is weakened when the latter is defined relative to risk-weighted assets.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Conlon & John Cotter & Philip Molyneux, 2018. "Beyond Common Equity - The Influence of Secondary Capital on Bank Insolvency Risk," Working Papers 201806, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201806
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    Keywords

    Regulatory Capital; Bank Risk; Regulatory Capital Arbitrage; Tier 1; Tier 2;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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