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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

This technical note on Austria focuses on bank resolution and crisis management. This note assesses and makes recommendations regarding bank resolution and crisis management arrangements. The scope of the assessment includes the institutional arrangements for recovery, resolution, and crisis management; the supervision of banks’ recovery plans; the legal regime for bank bankruptcy and resolution; resolution planning by the authorities and addressing impediments to resolution; assuring funding to support resolution; the two deposit guarantee schemes; and the government authorities’ collective preparedness to deal with financial crisis. Recovery and resolution planning are well advanced. Key impediments to resolution have been identified and are being addressed, yet adequate means to ensure enough funding in resolution remains to be determined. The legal framework is sound, although additional flexibility could be provided in the bankruptcy regime. The authorities’ collective contingency planning for financial crisis and testing of plans should be intensified.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

This review provides an update on the Austrian insurance sector and an analysis of certain key aspects of the regulatory and supervisory regime. The note analyzes regulation and supervision in relation to key issues identified in previous Financial Sector Assessment Programs (FSAP), as well as material changes since the last FSAP. This note also covers the current situation and potential changes in the crisis management and early intervention framework of the insurance sector. It focuses on issues relevant to a long-standing policyholder protection mechanism, early intervention powers—existing and under discussion—and crisis management and resolution arrangements for insurance companies and groups. The analysis recommends that proper implementation of Solvency II needs ongoing validation and scrutiny by regulators, which could be at risk if supervisory resources with skills and expertise are not retained. Higher legal, reputational, and conduct risks are posing additional pressures to the life insurance sector. Market conduct supervision should be enhanced, with active use of enforcement powers in addition to the insights that studies launched by the government will provide.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

This technical note assesses strengths and weaknesses of the macroprudential policy framework in Austria and provides policy recommendations. Financial sector resilience in Austria has improved significantly since the global financial crisis, and the macroprudential policy framework has been formalized. The institutional framework is appropriate for conducting macroprudential policy effectively, but it could be strengthened in some areas. However, some structural vulnerabilities to financial stability remain and cyclical risks are on the rise. Banks’ low efficiency and the resulting low profitability of domestic operations continues to be a key concern, especially given the fact that the Central Europe and South Eastern Europe region accounts for over 40 percent of Austrian banks' consolidated profits. The framework contains a clear mandate, well-defined objectives, and provides enough powers to the Financial Market Stability Board. Broad-based vulnerabilities remain contained but build-up of risks in the real estate sector warrants further action. The framework for addressing structural vulnerabilities is sophisticated, however, further improvements could be considered.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

This technical note on Austria presents the Financial Stability analysis, stress testing, and interconnectedness. Austria’s banking sector presents unique structural vulnerabilities. Private credit growth has supported the cyclical boom without jeopardizing household and corporate indebtedness. Profits of Austrian subsidiaries in Central, Eastern, and South-eastern Europe have increased recently; however, the cycle is turning and the ability of the sector to maintain a solid net interest margin may be further challenged. The Austrian authorities have targeted vulnerabilities related to interconnectedness by imposing Other Systemically Important Institution buffers also at the unconsolidated level. Institutional cooperation arrangements are shown to act as a shock absorber for idiosyncratic shocks, but holdings among participating members of respective IPSs may lead to substantial inward stability risks in a systemic event. Under favorable economic conditions inverse ownership contributes strongly to their capital generation by allowing partial redistribution of profits higher tier banks in the Raiffeisen sector earn on their more profitable international business.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

This paper on Austria includes a targeted review of banking regulation and supervision, with a focus on topics related to the supervision of less significant institutions. The national transposition and implementation of EU directives and regulations has significantly closed some of the gaps identified in 2013. Oversight of bank loan portfolios was strengthened by guidance from the European Central Bank and European Banking Authority (EBA) concerning nonperforming loans and forborne exposures, and by EU regulation. As noted in the previous Basel Core Principles assessment, the Austrian Banking Act (BWG) and regulations do not establish an adequate framework for monitoring and addressing transactions with related parties; and the BWG does not require ex-ante approval for acquiring qualifying holdings in undertakings outside the financial sector. Although the BWG amendments strengthened the duties and responsibilities of credit institutions’ supervisory boards, operationally the role may be made more robust by increasing interaction between the supervisory board and banking supervisors.

International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

This Technical Note sets out the findings and recommendations made in the context of the 2019 Financial Sector Assessment Program for Austria in the areas of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism. It provides a targeted review of Austria’s progress in addressing the Money Laundering/Terrorism Financing vulnerabilities. Several initiatives, the amendments introduced to the Financial Markets Anti-Money Laundering Act, the Beneficial Owners Register Act, and other sectoral laws have led to significant enhancements of the legal and regulatory framework which resulted in a number of upgrades on technical compliance ratings by the Financial Action Task Force in the context of the two follow-up reports. The authorities took steps to transpose the Fourth and the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directives into national legislation. Steps have been taken to improve the legal and regulatory framework that applies to lawyers, notaries and tax advisors, and other Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions, but there is room for enhancing implementation. The authorities have recently adopted a comprehensive set of reforms to enhance entity transparency, including through the establishment of a Register of Beneficial Ownership.