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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This financial stability assessment provides an update on the significant regulatory and supervisory developments in the banking and insurance sectors of Belgium since 2006. The Belgian financial system is relatively large with solid capital buffers on aggregate, and the 2008 global financial crisis has had a major impact on the Belgian financial sector. The links between banks and the Belgian sovereign have intensified owing to the crisis, with total exposure of the banking sector to the federal government at 10 percent of banking sector assets in mid-2012.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note analyzes the key aspects of the regulatory and supervisory regime of banks, insurance companies and financial conglomerates (FCs) in Belgium. The regulatory framework for Belgian financial institutions has been strengthened substantially since the 2013 Financial Sector Assessment Program. Notably, new national banking and insurance laws have been issued, the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive and amendments to Financial Conglomerate Directive have been transposed, Solvency II has been implemented, and the National Bank of Belgium has been designated as the macroprudential authority. This has improved significantly the regulatory framework and broadened its scope to better address the challenges posed by FCs. Financial sector supervision has also been upgraded markedly.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The Belgian insurance industry was adversely affected by the global financial crisis and continued to confront challenges related to legacy assets and economic uncertainties in Europe. The Belgian authorities have made significant progress in updating the insurance regulatory regime and supervisory practice. The updated regulatory framework has a high level of observance with the Insurance Core Principles (ICPs), supported by robust prudential supervision. The authorities are advised to review current conduct-of-business (CoB) regulation and supervision to strengthen the protection for policyholders.
International Monetary Fund
Luxembourg hosts a large international financial center that plays a pivotal role in its economy and in European financial markets. The crisis exposed significant vulnerabilities in Luxembourg’s financial system, owing to large cross-border exposures to foreign parent banks. The authorities proceeded with large public support to systemically important financial institutions under stress and with a fivefold increase in the deposit guarantee. Strengthening home-host supervisory collaboration and cross-border bank resolution frameworks will be of crucial importance for Luxembourg. Financial stability assessment and stress tests are also carried out.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The Belgium Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) stress testing exercise examines a financial sector that remains in a state of transformation. Domestic economic challenges remain sources of continued uncertainty as the banking sector consolidates and reduces funding risks. Insurers face challenges from adverse economic and business conditions. Solvency and funding shocks under different macroeconomic scenarios were assessed. Both banking and insurance tests underscore the importance of sovereign risk for financial stability. The implementation of stress tests needs to be closely aligned with the resolution and recovery planning.
Mr. Andreas A. Jobst, Nobuyasu Sugimoto, and Timo Broszeit
Over the last decade, stress testing has become a central aspect of the Fund’s bilateral and multilateral surveillance work. Recently, more emphasis has also been placed on the role of insurance for financial stability analysis. This paper reviews the current state of system-wide solvency stress tests for insurance based on a comparative review of national practices and the experiences from Fund’s FSAP program with the aim of providing practical guidelines for the coherent and consistent implementation of such exercises. The paper also offers recommendations on improving the current insurance stress testing approaches and presentation of results.