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International Monetary Fund

The erosion of EU trade preferences for bananas and sugar will have immediate negative implications for Belize’s economy. This paper suggests ways to enhance public debt management in Belize. The vulnerability of the banking sector appears relatively modest. However, the current level of loan-loss provisions and collateral valuation rules are not up to the international standards. Important steps have been taken to further improve compliance with the Basel Core Principles. The importance of debt-service reduction through sound macroeconomic policies is highlighted.

Mr. Burkhard Drees

Structured finance is one of the most innovative and rapidly growing areas of modern finance. Broadly defined, it refers to the repackaging of cash flows to transform the risk, return, and liquidity characteristics of financial portfolios. Structured financial instruments play a key role in transferring credit risk among financial institutions and between financial institutions and market participants in other sectors of the economy. But many financial supervisors and central bankers fear that some market participants may not fully understand the risks involved. They also question whether these instruments transfer risks to institutions best able to bear those risks or to those that are least regulated. To explore these issues, the IMF Institute hosted a high-level seminar on April 19-20 in Washington, D.C., where market practitioners, academics, policymakers, and regulators exchanged views with senior officials from more than 40 advanced and emerging market countries.

International Monetary Fund
The Australian banking system, which holds approximately half of total financial systems assets, and is dominated by four major banks, is sound with high earnings, high asset growth, and low levels of problem assets. Stress tests did not reveal near-term stability concerns, suggesting the banking system is likely to be resilient to adverse shocks. Australia’s financial supervisory structure of prudential authority and market conduct authority is sound overall. The medium-term challenges facing the banking sector are opportunities for growth and pressure on profitability.
International Monetary Fund
This paper examines the Insurance Regulation and Supervision for Cyprus’s Financial Sector Assessment Program. The domestic nonlife market is dominated by motor insurance which accounted for 58 percent of net premiums. All Cypriot business is reinsured with nondomiciled reinsurers. Health insurance is regulated as nonlife business when written as add-ons to accident and sickness or as life business when written with life policies. A number of professional bodies and self-regulatory industry associations complement the regulatory regime for the insurance industry.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents Detailed Assessment of the United States’s implementation of the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation. The general preconditions for effective securities regulation in the United States are present. The legal and accounting system supports the implementation of requirements and effective regulation of market participants. The legislation regarding bankruptcy, insolvency, and winding up in the jurisdiction and the professionals associated with those matters are sophisticated.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note provides an update on the Austrian insurance industry and an analysis of its regulatory and supervisory regime. The structure of the domestic insurance sector has remained largely stable since the last update. At Q3-2012 there were 50 insurance companies with assets of €108 billion, making up nearly 40 percent of GDP. Although insurance portfolios are largely concentrated in high-quality bonds, they have significant exposure to European banks. Most insurance companies in Austria appear well capitalized under the Solvency I regime. The industry remains profitable though margins have come under some pressure recently.
International Monetary Fund
The Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) has developed a robust supervisory framework, which exhibits high levels of implementation of the International Organization of Securities Commissions Principles. The AFM’s efforts are complemented by The NetherlandsCentral bank's (DNB) program of prudential supervision, which is reasonable and credible. Gaps in the legal framework for issuers, and on management of collective investment schemes, in the case of the DNB, have imposed limitations. Their ability to react in a swift manner to emerging risks in the financial sector is limited.
International Monetary Fund
This technical note highlights Austria’s analysis of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors Insurance Core Principles. The Austrian economy generally performed well over the past several years, with growth above the euro-area average, falling unemployment, and low inflation. The Financial Market Authority (FMA) should investigate the use of market-based soundness indicators. Following the recent reorganization of bank supervision responsibilities, the FMA insurance supervisors will need to work even closer with the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) in supervising financial groups.
International Monetary Fund
The global financial crisis has tested the effectiveness of supervision under the “Twin Peaks” model. The crisis revealed the strengths of the “Twin International Peaks” model, as decisions were able to be made in a timely manner to contain the crisis, and clear divisions of powers and responsibilities were instrumental in ensuring effective coordination between key agencies. However, the crisis also exposed certain areas where improvements could strengthen the “Twin Peaks” framework. Intensive and well-focused efforts are being made to strengthen the supervisory framework.