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The 1988 Basel Accord has become the global standard by which banks’ capital adequacy is measured. However, the new proposed Basel II Accord is aimed at creating a more risk sensitive capital framework. While the accord is not in itself legally binding, it will be implemented in the European Union (EU) through the Risk-based Capital Adequacy Directive (RCAD). The current expectation is that member states will be required to implement the directive in national legislation by no later than 31 December, 2006. Under the EU-adopted approach, Basel II will apply not merely to banks and building societies but to most investment houses.

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