The New Basel Capital Accord (Basel II) influences how financial institutions around the world, and especially European Union institutions, determine the amount of capital to reserve. However, as the recent global crisis has shown, the revision of Basel II is needed to reflect current trends, such as increased volatility and correlation, in the world financial markets. The overall objective of Basel II is to increase the safety and soundness of the international financial system. Basel II builds on three main pillars: Pillar I deals with the minimum capital requirements for credit, market and operational risk, Pillar II focuses on the supervisory review process and finally Pillar III promotes market discipline through enhanced disclosure requirements for banks. The aim of this paper is to provide the historical background, key features and impact of Basel II on financial markets. Moreover, we discuss new proposals for international bank regulation (sometimes referred to as Basel III) which include requirements for higher quality, constituency and transparency of banks' capital and risk management, regulation of OTC markets and introduction of new liquidity standards for internationally active banks.