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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Denmark’s insurance sector is highly developed with a particularly high penetration and density in the life sector. Traditionally, work-related life insurance and pension savings are offered as a combined package, and life insurance companies dominate the market for mandatory pension schemes for employees. The high penetration explains the overall size of the insurance sector, which exceeds those of peers from other Nordic countries and various other EU member states. Assets managed by the insurance industry amounted to 146 percent of the GDP at end-2018, compared to 72 percent for the EU average.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note presents risk analysis of banking and insurance sector in France. The assessment is based on stress tests, which simulate the health of banks, insurers under severe yet plausible (counterfactual) adverse scenarios. The stress tests reveal that banks and insurers would be resilient against simulated shocks, although some challenges remain. French banks have improved their capitalization and asset quality; however, profitability remains challenged. The report also highlights that profitability is pressured on both the income and expense sides. Banks’ ability to generate higher interest income is constrained by persistently low interest rates, and market businesses including trading activities have contracted in recent years. Growth-at-risk (GaR) analysis shows that the biggest contributing factors to the risk of growth are cost of funding and stock market prices. Financial conditions continue to tighten gradually since mid-2017; though the overall conditions remain accommodative. Risks stemming from loans to households seem to be contained over the short- to medium-term horizon, given relatively strong households’ balance sheets, no evidence of significant misalignment in house prices, social safety nets, and fixed interest rates.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Financial System Stability Assessment paper on France provides summary of an assessment of the financial system. Dominated by internationally active financial conglomerates, the French financial system has made important progress since the last financial stability assessment program (FSAP). In order to address a build-up of systemic risks, the authorities have proactively used macroprudential measures and public communication. The government is pursuing a strategy to prepare Paris as a key financial hub, including by promoting crypto-assets, fintech, green finance, and market entry. Banking and insurance business lines, and the corporate sector, carry important financial vulnerabilities that need close attention. The FSAP thus has recommended augmenting policy tools to contain vulnerabilities and continue to act pre-emptively if systemic risks intensify. In order to mitigate intensification of corporate—and potentially household—vulnerabilities, the FSAP proposed: active engagement with the European Central Bank on the possible use of bank-specific measures; considering fiscal measures to incentivize corporates to finance through equity rather than debt; and a sectoral systemic risk buffer.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper assesses the stability of the Spanish financial system as a whole. Spain’s banking system has been steadily progressing since the last Financial System Assessment Program. The authorities have made a significant reform effort. Together with the economic recovery, and support by the European Central Bank’s accommodative policies, the banking system has strengthened its solvency and advanced in reducing nonperforming loans. It is critical to keep the reform process moving and to build on the advances made during 2012–16. Completing the restructuring of bank balance sheets is a priority. Enhanced monitoring and supervisory attention to interest rate and liquidity risks are also merited.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper presents an assessment of the Observance of Insurance Core Principles in New Zealand. Observance of these principles in New Zealand falls significantly short. In some areas, the implementation of initiatives that would improve observance is incomplete. Supervisory risk assessment and enhancement of regulatory reporting by insurers are limited, which compromises effective off-site supervision, macroprudential analysis, and publication of aggregate information on the market. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand should focus in regulation and supervisory work on setting standards on corporate governance, risk management, and internal controls. It should assess risk in these areas to promote the effectiveness of insurers’ governance.