Liechtenstein has a GDP of US$5.2 billion, of which 40 percent comes from industry and 30 percent from financial services. Currently, 15 banks operate in Liechtenstein (one additional bank is in the process of being wound down without loss to the depositors). The market is highly concentrated with the three largest banks accounting for 90 percent of the total banking balance sheet size; 86 percent of assets under management; 89 percent of operating profits before tax, and 63 percent of employment in the banking sector.
The financial sector in Liechtenstein provides primarily wealth-management services, including banking, trust, other fiduciary services, investment management, and life insurance. The establishment of the Financial Market Authority (FMA) as the unified, independent regulator in January 2005 is a huge step for the financial services industry. The FMA and other authorities have been successful in implementing most of the recommendations provided in the earlier 2002 IMF assessment. The authorities and the industry continue to make significant efforts to strengthen the antimoney laundering regime, though there is still work ahead.
Globalization requires enhanced information flows among financial regulators. Standard-setting bodies for financial sector regulation provide extensive guidance, but financial sector assessments have often found that problems in cooperation and information exchange continue to constrain cross-border supervision and financial integrity oversight. In July 2004, the IMF organized a conference on cross-border cooperation for standard setters, financial intelligence units (FIUs), and financial regulatory agencies. This book brings together conference papers in which participants discuss: information exchange for an effective anti–money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, in terms of both standards and practices; the standards for cooperation in the insurance sector; and the experiences of regulators from banking, securities, and unified regulatory agencies with international cooperation. The book also includes papers providing a general overview of international standards and their implementation and, on the basis of survey results, of practices among financial sector regulators and FIUs.