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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper summarizes the stress tests (ST) undertaken for the Malaysian banking system as part of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP). All banks were subject to solvency, liquidity and contagion tests in the macroeconomic stress testing set-up. The solvency tests assessed the resilience of the Malaysian banking system under three macroeconomic scenarios from 2012 to 2016. Single year bottom up (BU) sensitivity tests for Malaysian banks covered various single-factor credit and market risk shocks. A multi-factor BU sensitivity liquidity test was also carried out by participating banks and extended to not only key onshore banks but covered some Labuan entities and overseas subsidiaries. The findings suggest that the onshore banking system in Malaysia has substantial capital buffers to absorb credit losses on its credit risk exposures. Conventional banks can benefit from buffers provided by significant income as a first line of defense against credit losses. Some larger domestic banks benefit from income in terms of strong revenues from domestic operations as well as potential income from overseas operations.
Ms. Inutu Lukonga
Consumer protection and financial literacy are essential pillars of a well functioning and stable financial system. As the global financial crisis demonstrated, inadequate attention to consumer protection and financial literacy can lead to financial instability. Though Shari’ah principles provide a strong foundation for consumer protection, the principles alone cannot provide adequate protection because not all providers are guided by ethical precepts and the practices have deviated from the principles. To safeguard the stability of the Islamic finance industry, consumer protection frameworks that cater to the specifics of Islamic financial products should be an integral part of regulatory frameworks.
Aledjandro Lopez Mejia, Suliman Aljabrin, Rachid Awad, Mr. Mohamed Norat, and Mr. In W Song
This paper aims at developing a better understanding of Islamic banking (IB) and providing policy recommendations to enhance the supervision of Islamic banks (IBs). It points out and discusses similarities and differences of IBs with conventional banks (CBs) and reviews whether the IBs are more stable than CBs. Given the risks faced by IBs, the paper concludes that they need a legal, corporate and regulatory framework as much as CB does. The paper also argues that it is important to ensure operational independence of the supervisory agency, which has to be supported by adequate resources, a sound legal framework, a well designed governance structure, and robust accountability practices.
Raja Almarzoqi, Mr. Sami Ben Naceur, and Alessandro Scopelliti
The paper analyzes the relationship between bank competition and stability, with a specific focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Price competition has a positive effect on bank liquidity, as it induces self-discipline incentives on banks for the choice of bank funding sources and for the holding of liquid assets. On the other hand, price competition may have a potentially negative impact on bank solvency and on the credit quality of the loan portfolio. More competitive banks may be less solvent if the potential increase in the equity base—due to capital adjustments—is not large enough to compensate for the reduction in bank profitability. Also, banks subject to stronger competitive pressures may have a higher rate of nonperforming loans, if the increase in the risk-taking incentives from the lender’s side overcomes the decrease in the credit risk from the borrower’s side. In both cases, country-specific policies for market entry conditions—and for bank regulation and supervision—may significantly affect the sign and the size of the relationship. The paper suggests policy reforms designed to improve market contestability and to increase the quality and independence of prudential supervision.
Mr. Heiko Hesse and Mr. Tigran Poghosyan
This paper analyzes the relationship between oil price shocks and bank profitability. Using data on 145 banks in 11 oil-exporting MENA countries for 1994-2008, we test hypotheses of direct and indirect effects of oil price shocks on bank profitability. Our results indicate that oil price shocks have indirect effect on bank profitability, channeled through country-specific macroeconomic and institutional variables, while the direct effect is insignificant. Investment banks appear to be the most affected ones compared to Islamic and commercial banks. Our findings highlight systemic implications of oil price shocks on bank performance and underscore their importance for macroprudential regulation purposes in MENA countries.
Mr. In W Song and Carel Oosthuizen
The growing presence of Islamic banking needs to be accompanied by the development of effective regulation and supervision. This paper examines the results of the survey conducted by the International Monetary Fund to document international experiences and country practices related to legal and prudential frameworks governing Islamic banking activities. Although a number of countries have made considerable progress in creating legal, regulatory, and supervisory frameworks that accommodate Islamic banking, there are substantial differences. This paper also identifies a number of challenges faced by regulatory and supervisory agencies regarding Islamic banking.
Mr. Andreas A. Jobst and Mr. Juan Sole
This paper provides a conceptual overview of key aspects of the design and implementation of solvency stress testing of Islamic banks. Based on existing regulatory standards and prudential practice, the paper explains how Islamic finance principles and their impact on various risk drivers affect the capital assessment of asset-oriented financial intermediation under stress. The formal specification of these risk factors helps operationalize and integrate the stress testing of Islamic banks within established frameworks for financial stability analysis.
Mr. Juan Sole and Andreas Jobst
Derivatives are few and far between in countries where the compatibility of financial transactions with Islamic law requires the development of shari'ah-compliant structures. Islamic finance is governed by the shari'ah, which bans speculation and gambling, and stipulates that income must be derived as profits from the shared generation of goods and services between counterparties rather than interest or a guaranteed return. The paper explains the fundamental legal principles underpinning Islamic finance with a view towards developing a cohesive theory of derivatives subject to shari'ahprinciples. After critically reviewing accepted contracts and the scholastic debate surrounding existing financial innovation in this area, the paper offers an axiomatic perspective on a principle-based permissibility of derivatives under Islamic law.
Mr. Jemma Dridi and Maher Hasan
This paper examines the performance of Islamic banks (IBs) and conventional banks (CBs) during the recent global crisis by looking at the impact of the crisis on profitability, credit and asset growth, and external ratings in a group of countries where the two types of banks have significant market share. Our analysis suggests that IBs have been affected differently than CBs. Factors related to IBs‘ business model helped limit the adverse impact on profitability in 2008, while weaknesses in risk management practices in some IBs led to a larger decline in profitability in 2009 compared to CBs. IBs‘ credit and asset growth performed better than did that of CBs in 2008-09, contributing to financial and economic stability. External rating agencies‘ re-assessment of IBs‘ risk was generally more favorable.
Martin Cihák and Mr. Heiko Hesse

Institutions offering Islamic financial services constitute a significant and growing share of the financial system in several countries.