Mr. Tobias Adrian, Mr. James Morsink, and Miss Liliana B Schumacher
This paper explains specifics of stress testing at the IMF. After a brief section on the evolution of stress tests at the IMF, the paper presents the key steps of an IMF staff stress test. They are followed by a discussion on how IMF staff uses stress tests results for policy advice. The paper concludes by identifying remaining challenges to make stress tests more useful for the monitoring of financial stability and an overview of IMF staff work program in that direction. Stress tests help assess the resilience of financial systems in IMF member countries and underpin policy advice to preserve or restore financial stability. This assessment and advice are mainly provided through the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). IMF staff also provide technical assistance in stress testing to many its member countries. An IMF macroprudential stress test is a methodology to assess financial vulnerabilities that can trigger systemic risk and the need of systemwide mitigating measures. The definition of systemic risk as used by the IMF is relevant to understanding the role of its stress tests as tools for financial surveillance and the IMF’s current work program. IMF stress tests primarily apply to depository intermediaries, and, systemically important banks.
Unlike most nonfinancial corporations, in a market-based economy, banks are subject to a special regime of licensing, regulation, and supervision (hereinafter also “prudential regulation”). In a market-based economy, the function of banks differs from that of other enterprises, calling for special treatment of banks by the state.
Banks require a strong legal framework providing certainty concerning their rights and obligations under the law and permitting them to enforce their financial claims expeditiously and effectively against counterparties in default. Conversely, weaknesses in the legal system that create uncertainties concerning the existence and enforceability of property rights increase the risk that, as debtors hiding behind such weaknesses default on their obligations, banks will not be able to collect on their claims. Inefficiencies in the judicial processing of financial claims by banks may inhibit the marketing of financial assets and reduce their value; this often results in unhealthy accumulations of nonperforming assets on banks’ balance sheets, weakening the banking system as a whole. Meanwhile, banks will cover these risks and market inefficiencies in the form of higher charges, creating upward pressure on transaction costs throughout the economy.
Regulatory intervention includes all action taken by the bank regulator with respect to a bank in response to continuing violations of prudential law (banking law, implementing regulations, etc.) on the part of that bank. Thereby, the bank regulator intervenes directly or indirectly in the bank’s management and operations.
This paper presents a factual update of the Insurance Core Principles including insurance sector market and regulatory developments for Switzerland. Regulatory reforms since 2003 have updated Switzerland’s regulatory and supervisory regime for the insurance industry to bring it in line with international best practices. The Insurance Supervision Law (ISL) has reoriented the regulatory focus and expanded the regulatory scope to include group/conglomerate supervision, corporate governance, risk management, and market conduct of insurance intermediaries. The ISL also provides for a range of corrective and preventive regulatory measures.
This technical note discusses key findings of the assessment of Insurance Core Principles (ICP) for the reinsurance industry for Switzerland. It reveals that the Swiss reinsurance market is dominated by three large players with a strong international presence. The reinsurance industry comprises 20 professional reinsurers and 50 reinsurance captives with gross premiums written totaling SwF 37.4 billion for 2005. Swiss Re, European Re, and Converium have consistently maintained more than 75 percent market share. More than 95 percent of reinsurance premiums came from foreign business.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper discusses the findings of Detailed Assessment of International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) insurance core principles on Italy. Regulation and supervision of the insurance industry in Italy is the responsibility of the newly established Institution for the Supervision of Insurance (IVASS). IVASS has reached international best practice in several areas of supervision. IVASS actively exercises group supervision and by 2000, IVASS established the first college of supervisors. Intragroup transactions and related party participations limits are strictly monitored and enforced. IVASS handling of the licensing of undertakings is complete and comprehensive and ensures appropriate considerations pursuant to regulations. Enhanced supervision in some areas is required.
In defining the authority of the regulator to order corrective action, most laws use permissive language and provide that the regulator may order the bank to take corrective measures. Some provisions of banking law, however, use mandatory language in providing remedial authority, requiring the regulator to take corrective action whenever a particular infraction has occurred and is continuing or a level of noncompliance described in the law has been reached.124