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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department

This paper provides a detailed assessment of observance of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures–International Organization of Securities Commissions principles for financial market infrastructures (FMIs). Major achievements have been made to establish safe and efficient payments and securities settlement systems in Bahrain. The real-time gross settlement system is highly concentrated and has tight interdependencies with the securities settlement system, making risks management a top priority. The formal assessment suggests that most of the principles are broadly observed, and identifies areas to improve for closer alignment with international standards. The objective of the assessment has been to identify potential risks related to FMIs that may affect financial stability.

International Monetary Fund

The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Financial System Stability Assessment highlights banking supervision, insurance supervision, securities regulation, and antimoney laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. The banking sector is well capitalized. Asset quality has been improving and provisioning is high. Profitability surged in 2004–05, but historically, return on equity has been moderate for many institutions. Favorable liquidity conditions have caused regional equity and real estate markets to surge. Consumer lending has grown rapidly, although it slowed in 2005 following a tightening of loan to income limits.