This paper presents an update to the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes Fiscal Sector Modules for Israel. The 2000–01 Financial Sector Assessment Program mission assessed Israel’s compliance with the Basel Core Principles for effective banking supervision. Israel was found materially noncompliant because of secrecy provisions that prohibit the Bank of Israel from disclosing supervisory information to other supervisors, both domestic and international. Israel was also found not fully compliant in some other areas including: objective, autonomy and powers; loan evaluation and loan loss provisioning; and investment criteria.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
A technical note on the stress test of Israel’s banking, insurance, and pension sectors is presented. The Israel Financial Sector Assessment Program Update stress testing exercise comprises a comprehensive analysis of solvency and liquidity risks of key banking and insurance institutions. Satellite models cover housing and corporate credit, household nonhousing credit, profit components, profit retention behavior, and haircut models of government and financial institution bonds. Single-factor tests have been conducted to estimate vulnerabilities to market risk and an idiosyncratic credit shock from exposures to the largest borrower groups and the three largest corporate borrowers.
Israel’s Report on Standards and Codes for the financial sector is presented. The authorities take a proactive approach to supervision and correcting incipient problems, and regulations are generally up to date. The assessment of implementation of the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision has been conducted in November 2011 within the framework of the Financial Sector Assessment Program Update for Israel. The Bank of Israel and specifically its Banking Supervision Department headed by the Supervisor of Banks is responsible for prudential oversight of banks.
This Selected Issues paper on Israel focuses on the fiscal institutions and the political economy in Israel. The paper addresses two questions. First, is there evidence for political-economy distortions to Israel’s fiscal policy? Second, what institutional changes could help in limiting these distortions? The paper presents some data on Israel’s political system and an empirical analysis of the relation between fiscal policy and the political infrastructure. It also presents some options for reducing political economy distortions through reforms in the budget process and institutions.
This report assesses Observance of Standards and Codes on Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) for Israel. Israel has made significant progress in strengthening its regime for AML/CFT since 2000. Overall, a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for AML/CFT is now in place, and Israel complies well with the FATF 40+8 Recommendations. The assessment, nevertheless, identified a number of areas where the regime for AML/CFT could be strengthened, including the need to ensure more consistency among the relevant supervisory authorities in addressing AML/CFT problems.
A full assessment of Israel’s compliance with the Insurance Core Principles (ICPs) of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) is presented. The Minister of Finance bears the political responsibility for supervisory oversight of the Israeli insurance system. Nonlife insurance accounts for about 50 percent of total premiums in the country, and motor premiums make up about 50 percent of that total. The Israeli insurance sector has been hit hard by the financial crisis. The Israeli stock market has fallen by 51 percent, sharply impacting companies’ earnings in 2008.
The recent government administrations and the Bank of Israel (BOI) are determined to obtain and preserve a stable currency and macroeconomic environment, in addition to deepening the financial sector. The BOI plays a key role in liquidity management and absorbing liquidity shocks owing to the uneven development of financial markets. The paper summarizes assessment of Israel's observance of financial sector supervision standards and codes. Israel has relatively well-developed, capable, and transparent financial sector supervision and monetary policy formulation. Insurance and pension reform should be completed.
Health policy has been for some time high on the agenda of many countries--and where it has not, it should be. Since no ideal model of health services has ever been devised 9 one may look for favorable elements in the health sector of a given country and examine their applicability to other countries. This paper analyzes Israel’s health sector in this context.
The recent housing bust has reignited interest in psychological theories of speculative excess (Shiller, 2007). I investigate this issue by identifying a segment of the U.S. population-evangelical protestants-that may be less prone to speculative motives, and uncover a significant negative relationship between their population share and house price volatility. Evangelicals' focus on Biblical prophecy could account for this difference, since it may enable them to interpret otherwise negative events as containing positive news, dampening the response of house prices to shocks. I provide evidence for this channel using a popular internet measure of "prophetic activity" and a 9/11 event study. I also analyze survey data covering religious beliefs and asset holding, and find that 'end times' beliefs are associated with a one-third decline in net worth, consistent with these beliefs providing a form of psychic insurance (Scheve and Stasavage, 2006a and 2006b) that reduces asset demand.