The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
“How much capital should shareholders be required to invest 11 in their bank?” is a question that has been asked for a half century or more. This concern for the adequacy of bank capital is part of the broader regulation of banks to assure their solvency. The length of time that capital adequacy has been debated suggests the extreme difficulty, really the impossibility, of objectively deciding what is an adequate amount of capital, or what is the appropriate ratio of capital to assets, liabilities, deposits, or risk assets—whichever denominator is eventually chosen. Nevertheless, this does not diminish the importance of capital adequacy as an operational norm for assuring bank solvency.
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.
These Technical Notes on France explain integration of global financial markets. The stress tests for the France Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) were designed to yield as comprehensive and detailed a picture as possible within the constraints of the approach. Retail activity by foreign banks in France is small, but significant. The financial landscape in France remains characterized by a large number of idiosyncrasies that affect monetary transmission. Macroeconometric models point to a smaller reaction to monetary policy in France than in other large euro-area economies.
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.