Country surveillance constitutes an essential part of the IMF's mandate to oversee the international monetary system and to monitor the economic and financial policies of its 185 member countries. The IMF's Executive Board conducts regularly scheduled reviews of country surveillance (the Triennial Surveillance Review) to consider ways to improve its effectiveness. The 2008 review is the first such review since the Executive Board approved, in June 2007, a new Decision on Bilateral Surveillance. This Decision affirms that the focus of bilateral surveillance is on those policies of members that can significantly influence present or prospective external stability. The review focused on the implementation of country surveillance in the recent past, as presented in the following set of papers:
• The overview paper presents the main findings and priority areas for further work. The review finds that stakeholders hold the quality of IMF surveillance in high regard, but that improvements should focus on risk assessment, integration of macroeconomic and financial sector surveillance, multilateral perspectives (cross-border spillovers and cross-country analysis), and exchange rate assessments. The priority areas identified in the review served as key background for the preparation of the IMF’s Statement of Surveillance Priorities (SSP).
• The Thematic Findings (Supplement 1) provides supporting analysis on the implementation of bilateral surveillance in the recent past and, particularly, on the appropriateness of its focus and its analytical value added in particular areas, including the overall “health check”, exchange rates, financial sector issues, cross-country analysis and cross-border spillover analysis (including a case study of surveillance in the run up to the subprime crisis), the degree of candor and evenhandedness in surveillance, and the effectiveness of its communication.
• The Background Information paper (Supplement 2) provides further information, including a description of review methodologies, and results including interview findings, surveys of various audiences, and supporting data on the quality of consultation documents.
• The External Consultant’s Report provides an independent view of IMF surveillance in Europe.
The Standards and Codes Initiative (“Initiative”) has been identified as one of several building blocks for the overhaul of the global financial architecture after the Asian crisis in the late 1990s. Twelve policy areas were selected as key for sound financial systems and a framework for Reports on the Observance of Standard and Codes (ROSCs) was established and has been implemented by the Bank and the Fund for about a decade.
Since the Initiative’s inception, a majority of member countries have had one or more ROSCs, although—in part due to the voluntary nature of ROSCs—the coverage is not fully complete.
After peaking in 2003, the annual number of ROSCs completed has declined considerably. In particular, the number of fiscal transparency and data ROSCs has dropped, reflecting the downsizing of the Fund, and changes in departmental priorities. The reduction in financial sector ROSCs—generally done as a part of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP)—has been less, although fewer ROSCs have been done per FSAP.
Revisions to the standards to incorporate the lessons from the crisis, the initiatives of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and changes to financial surveillance are likely to have important implications for the future of the Initiative. In particular, the commitment by FSB members to undergo FSAPs every 5 years and the FSB’s framework to enhance adherence to international financial standards are likely to boost demand for financial sector ROSCs. These resource pressures impose a greater burden on the prioritization process, and strategic decisions will have to be made to augment resources for the Initiative or on where the resource cuts could come from in order to maintain adequate coverage of non-G20 countries.
This paper serves as background reference to the paper, "2011 Review of the Standards and Codes Initiative." The Initiative, which covers standards in 12 policy areas relevant for Bank and Fund work, was created as an integral part of a global response to promote financial stability in the aftermath of the Asian crisis in the 1990s. This paper discusses developments since the Initiative’s last review in 2005. In particular, it covers the evolution of standards in the 12 policy areas, progress in implementing measures to improve the effectiveness of the Initiative, the role that the Initiative played in the recent global crisis, and perceptions of major stakeholders reflected in survey responses and bilateral consultations conducted by staff.
This report is part of the 2011 ROSC Initiative review. It focuses on generating additional inputs for an informed assessment of the effectiveness of the Initiative in strengthening institutions in member countries. In particular, it analyses in detail a sample of twenty-two specific country experiences—at least two for each standard currently included in the Initiative. The review of specific country experiences with ROSC exercises—diagnosis and implementation of recommendations and follow-up—contributes to evaluate the extent to which ROSCs have been instrumental in identifying institutional weaknesses and contributed to promote financial reform and reduce financial vulnerability. This is an independent review prepared by an external consultant.
This paper assesses progress in strengthening Fund surveillance and identifies needed improvements. It differs from past reviews insofar as it: (A) encompasses not only bilateral but also multilateral surveillance; and (B) steps-up external inputs in the form of studies by outside observers, commentaries, and assessment of recommendations by an external advisory group.