Capital Adequacy of Financial Enterprises

22 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2011

See all articles by Piet De Jong

Piet De Jong

Macquarie University - Department of Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies; Financial Research Network (FIRN); Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School

Dilip B. Madan

University of Maryland

Date Written: February 13, 2011


Financial entities commonly go bankrupt with disastrous consequences for individuals and society These consequences arise since bankrupt limited liability company is not responsible for losses exceeding its financial resources. Such losses are carried by unsecured creditors or, in the case of insurance companies, policy holders. Hence each limited liability entity holds an option to put losses in excess of its financial resources to other parts of the economy.

Governments may cover losses, in which case the option is often called the "taxpayer put". Business with random assets and liabilities, such as banks, insurance companies and hedge funds, are typically required to hold capital to decrease the probability of bankruptcy and make businesses acceptable to the external economy. In this paper these businesses are viewed as operating in markets with the law of two prices with sales occurring at bid prices and purchases at ask prices. The structure of bid and ask prices defines the market environment. Given the business and its regulatory and market environment, expressions are developed for the rest of the balance sheet. This includes the value of equity, the value of the implicit put option, exact expressions for the capital adequacy ratios that correct both the numerator employed in the Basel accords along with a theoretically precise formulation of the denominator or the equivalent of risk weighted assets. Computations are illustrated for two balance sheets. One with lognormally distributed and correlated assets and liabilities and the second for a business of risky loans financed by writing options on a related underlier.

Keywords: Capital adequacy ratios, acceptable risks, Basel accords, capital requirements, reserve requirements

JEL Classification: G22, G28, G38

Suggested Citation

De Jong, Piet and Madan, Dilip B., Capital Adequacy of Financial Enterprises (February 13, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Piet De Jong (Contact Author)

Macquarie University - Department of Applied Finance and Actuarial Studies ( email )

Sydney, New South Wales

Financial Research Network (FIRN)

C/- University of Queensland Business School
St Lucia, 4071 Brisbane


Macquarie University, Macquarie Business School ( email )

New South Wales 2109

Dilip B. Madan

University of Maryland

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