Peter Windsor, Jeffery Yong, and Michelle Chong-Tai Bell
The paper explores the use of accounting standards for insurer solvency assessment in the context of the implementation of IFRS 17. The paper is based on the results of a survey of 20 insurance supervisors. Overall, IFRS 17 is a welcome development but there will be challenges of implementation. Not many insurance supervisors currently intend to use IFRS 17 as a basis for solvency assessment of insurers. Perceived shortcomings can be overcome by supervisors providing clear specifications where the principles-based standard allows a range of approaches. Accounting standards can provide a ready-made valuation framework for supervisors developing new solvency frameworks.
This paper re-examines the stock-flow discrepancies of government debt and deficits and correlation with fiscal transparency. Applying the fully integrated relationship between financial stocks and flows allows for a more refined analysis of the deterministic components that make up the ‘stock-flow’ residual. Using partial measures of these stock-flow residuals, several empirical studies have found them to be significantly correlated with fiscaltransparency, inflation, fiscal rules, and banking crisis. Using fully integrated public finance data from the IMF Government Finance Statistics Yearbook for a sample of 22 countries, the findings in this paper suggest that stock-flow residuals have a significantly smaller magnitude than previously assumed and are, in fact, not correlated with fiscal transparency. A stronger determinant of fiscal transparency scores appears to be the actual reporting of fiscal data covering general government, especially a full financial balance sheet.
Accounting devices that artificially reduce the measured fiscal deficit can be analyzed as transactions involving unrecognized assets and liabilities. Different accounting systems recognize different sets of assets and liabilities and are thus vulnerable to different sets of devices. Some devices can be revealed by moving progressively from cash accounting to modified accrual accounting to full accrual accounting. Revealing all would require the publication of extended fiscal accounts in which all future cash flows give rise to assets or liabilities.
This proposed SDN surveys the various accounting stratagems which governments have used to meet fiscal targets—thereby sidestepping the need for true adjustment—and suggests remedial actions to limit this type of fiscal non-transparency. Types of creative accounting covered includes, for instance, currency swaps to hide a debt build-up (as in Greece in 2001–07), sale and leaseback of government property (for example, in the United States), assumption of long-term pension obligations in exchange for short-term revenue (Argentina, Hungary, and other Eastern European countries), use of public-private partnerships to defer the recognition of investment spending (for instance, Portugal), and reliance on non-cash compensation (such as pension rights) to reduce measured wage bills (in the United States, United Kingdom, etc.) As is evident from the examples given, these fiscal tricks have recently come under increased international scrutiny, highlighting the importance of good fiscal reporting, accounting, and transparency in general, for avoiding unpleasant surprises, ensuring government accountability, and containing fiscal vulnerabilities.
Ms. Jodi G Scarlata, Mr. Juan Sole, and Alicia Novoa
In light of the uncertainties about valuation highlighted by the 2007-2008 market turbulence, this paper provides an empirical examination of the potential procyclicality that fair value accounting (FVA) could introduce in bank balance sheets. The paper finds that, while weaknesses in the FVA methodology may introduce unintended procyclicality, it is still the preferred framework for financial institutions. It concludes that capital buffers, forward-looking provisioning, and more refined disclosures can mitigate the procyclicality of FVA. Going forward, the valuation approaches for accounting, prudential measures, and risk management need to be reconciled and will require adjustments on the part of all parties.
This paper examines how major efficiency gains and improved effectiveness were simultaneously achieved at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand over a five-year period. It identifies the business management concepts that were used to transform the organization, outlines how they were applied, and evaluates the benefits obtained. The paper concludes that substantial real efficiency gains were achieved, while effectiveness was maintained or enhanced. Looking more widely, the business management concepts used to achieve these benefits could be applied to other central banks.