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  • IMF Staff Position Notes x
  • Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation x
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Mr. Paolo Mauro, Mr. Mark A Horton, and Mr. Manmohan S. Kumar
This paper presents sharp increase in government debt has complicated the management of preexisting challenges from population aging, especially in advanced economies. The increase in debt ratios projected for these economies is the largest since World War II. The increase in deficits and debt raises complicated tradeoffs. Policymakers will need to balance two competing risks: on the one hand, a too hasty withdrawal of fiscal stimulus would risk nipping a recovery in the bud; on the other hand, with a delayed withdrawal investor concerns about sustainability may increase, leading to higher interest rates on government paper, undermining the recovery and increasing risks of a snowballing of debt. Regardless of the timing of adjustment, its necessary scale will be quite large, particularly for high-debt advanced economies. Preserving investor confidence in government solvency is key to avoiding an increase in interest rates, thereby not only preventing snowballing debt dynamics, but also ensuring that the fiscal stimulus is effective.
Mr. Christian B. Mulder, Phil De Imus, Ms. L. Effie Psalida, Jeanne Gobat, Mr. R. B. Johnston, Mr. Mangal Goswami, and Mr. Francisco F. Vazquez
This paper outlines some of the key information gaps in the information used in the assessment of financial institution and financial system stability and the priorities for filling them. Key areas for attention include the granularity of disclosures on exposures by large and complex financial institutions; disclosures and assessments of complex structured products; revamping of indicators used in financial stability analysis to focus on indicators with greater early warning content; and improving transparency in over-the-counter derivatives markets. Recommendations have been made by several institutions and forums to address gaps in information that contributed to the crisis. One of the key recommendations is to adopt good practices for disclosures by banks on activities affected by the financial turmoil, including meaningful information on exposures and impacts, with appropriate levels of granularity. It is imperative to strengthen public disclosure practices of systemically important financial institutions by making reporting information more granular and consist.
Ms. Laura E. Kodres and Mr. Aditya Narain
This paper explores the private- and public-sector responses to the crisis and some of the probable outcomes. Aside from improved supervision of individual institutions, greater emphasis needs to be put on financial regulations that reflect the systemic nature of financial risks and the role that macroeconomic policies play. Global consistency of regulation and financial sector taxation will be essential to mitigate systemic risks, avoid unintended distortions, and help ensure a level playing field. This note suggests the key aspects of the future contours will likely be: ? Banks are expected to return to their more traditional function as stricter regulation will limit the risks and activities they can undertake. ? The nonbanking sector will likely have a greater competitive advantage—both in supplying credit and providing investors with nonbank services—and will thus grow. ? The perimeter of regulation will need to expand to take into account risks in the nonbank sector. ? Market infrastructure will be reinforced to protect investors and will need to provide simplicity and transparency to make risks clearer and the financial system safer. ? The global financial system is likely to be smaller and less levered than in the recent past, and could well be less innovative and dynamic, at least for a while.
Ms. Marina Moretti, Mr. Aditya Narain, Ms. Laura E. Kodres, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, José Vinãls, and Jonathan Fiechter
Three years after the onset of the global financial crisis, much has been done to reform the global financial system, but there is much left to accomplish. The regulatory reform agenda agreed by G-20 leaders in 2009 has elevated the discussions to the highest policy level and kept international attention focused on establishing a globally consistent set of rules. Comprehensive reform, once agreed and implemented in full, will have far-reaching implications for the global financial system and the performance of the world economy. In designing the reforms, it is imperative that policymakers keep their focus on the overarching objective of creating a financial system that provides a solid foundation for strong and sustainable economic growth. This paper argues that the current reforms are moving in the right direction, but many policy choices lie ahead—nationally and internationally?which are both urgent and challenging. Policies need to address not only the risks posed by individual banks but also, importantly, those posed by nonbanks and the system as a whole. The recent proposals of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) represent a substantial improvement in the quality and quantity of bank capital, but these apply only to a subset of the financial system.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department and World Bank
This joint IMF-World Bank note provides a set of high-level recommendations that can guide national regulatory and supervisory responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and offers an overview of measures taken across jurisdictions to date.
Mr. Carlo Cottarelli and José Vinãls
In response to the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, government budgets and central banks have provided substantial support for aggregate demand and for the financial sector. In the process, fiscal balances have deteriorated, government liabilities and central bank balance sheets have been expanded, and risks of future losses for the public sector have increased.
Ms. Inci Ötker and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu
Financial sector reforms are being considered to address the risks posed by large and complex financial institutions (LCFIs). The vast majority of global finance is intermediated by a handful of these institutions with growing interconnections within and across borders. Common trends that contributed to the recent global crisis included sharp increases in leverage, significant reliance on short-term wholesale funding, growth of off-balance-sheet activities, maturity mismatches, and increased share of revenues from complex products and trading activities. The key objective of the financial sector reforms is to promote a less leveraged, less risky (or better cushioned), and thus a more resilient financial system that supports strong and sustainable economic growth. The recent proposals of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) on capital standards represent a substantial improvement in the quantity and quality of capital in comparison with the pre-crisis situation. The analysis of this paper suggests that, subject to usual caveats associated with limited data disclosures and availability, phase-in arrangements will allow most banks to move to these higher standards through earnings retention, assuming a modest economic and earnings outlook. It also suggests that should banks generate strong earnings in the coming years, and distribute lower dividends, they could rebuild common equity capital ratios faster than required under the current phase-in periods. The analysis of the paper also suggests that the new capital standards will have a significant impact on investment-banking-type activities, including through tighter requirements for trading book exposures. Investment banking activities will also be affected by a host of other regulatory initiatives, including the new accounting rules and higher standards for securitization, derivatives, and trading businesses, as well as measures to restrain certain activities. Yet, LCFIs with an investment banking focus have flexible business models and can adjust their strategies easily to mitigate the effects of the regulatory reforms, notwithstanding a multitude of regulations affecting their activities. The ultimate effect of the reforms on business models remains to be seen until the regulations take their final shape.
International Monetary Fund
This paper highlights the state of Public Finances Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor. This edition of the Cross-Country Fiscal Monitor provides an update of global fiscal developments and policy strategies, based on projections from the November 2009 WEO. These projections reflect the assessment of IMF staff of current country policies and initiatives expected during 2009–2014 Underlying fiscal trends in advanced economies are weaker than previously projected, however, lower expected costs of financial sector support in the United States mean that 2009 headline numbers are better. New estimates of needed medium-term fiscal adjustment in advanced economies. Fiscal policy will continue to provide substantial support to aggregate demand in most countries this year, but a tightening is projected to commence next year in G-20 emerging markets. Fiscal policy is projected to begin tightening in emerging G-20 economies next year, reflecting a combination of reduced anti-crisis spending and expected consolidation beyond the withdrawal of crisis-related stimulus in Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey, supported by a pick-up of growth. Higher commodity prices are also expected to contribute to lower overall deficit.
Mr. Robert Rennhack
The Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region has weathered the global financial crisis reasonably well so far, although tighter global financial conditions began to take their toll on trade, capital flows and economic growth in late 2008. This resilience reflects the reforms put in place by many countries over the past decade to strengthen financial supervision and adopt sound macroeconomic policies. Building on this progress, the region’s financial sector reform agenda now aims at further improvements, including steps aiming to improve compliance with the Basel Core Principles of Banking Supervision and to broaden and deepen domestic financial markets.
İnci Ötker-Robe and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu

Financial sector reforms are being considered to address the risks posed by large and complex financial institutions (LCFIs). The vast majority of global finance is intermediated by a handful of these institutions with growing interconnections within and across borders. Common trends that contributed to the recent global crisis included sharp increases in leverage, significant reliance on short-term wholesale funding, growth of off-balance-sheet activities, maturity mismatches, and increased share of revenues from complex products and trading activities. The key objective of the financial sector reforms is to promote a less leveraged, less risky (or better cushioned), and thus a more resilient financial system that supports strong and sustainable economic growth. The recent proposals of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) on capital standards represent a substantial improvement in the quantity and quality of capital in comparison with the pre-crisis situation. The analysis of this paper suggests that, subject to usual caveats associated with limited data disclosures and availability, phase-in arrangements will allow most banks to move to these higher standards through earnings retention, assuming a modest economic and earnings outlook. It also suggests that should banks generate strong earnings in the coming years, and distribute lower dividends, they could rebuild common equity capital ratios faster than required under the current phase-in periods. The analysis of the paper also suggests that the new capital standards will have a significant impact on investment-banking-type activities, including through tighter requirements for trading book exposures. Investment banking activities will also be affected by a host of other regulatory initiatives, including the new accounting rules and higher standards for securitization, derivatives, and trading businesses, as well as measures to restrain certain activities. Yet, LCFIs with an investment banking focus have flexible business models and can adjust their strategies easily to mitigate the effects of the regulatory reforms, notwithstanding a multitude of regulations affecting their activities. The ultimate effect of the reforms on business models remains to be seen until the regulations take their final shape.