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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This note provides an update and assessment of developments in insurance supervision since 2014. It is part of the 2020 Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) for the Hong Kong SAR (HKSAR) and draws on discussions there from September 10 to 24, 2019. It has not been updated for the impact of recent global events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The insurance sector is large, especially long-term (life) insurance, highly international and has been growing steadily. The long-term market is amongst the world’s largest, particularly by penetration (premiums to GDP). Growth has been supported by the popularity of savings products, including sales of policies to Mainland Chinese visitors (MCVs), although these have declined from their peak. The general insurance sector, though comprising many more companies, is relatively small and spread over many lines. The authorities have identified scope for growth in protection policies as well as opportunities for captive and specialty lines related to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Tax incentives have supported the recent successful introduction of new annuity and health insurance products. Although foreign-owned companies account for a large share of business, the HKSAR is the home of three major domestic groups operating internationally.
Peter Windsor, Jeffery Yong, and Michelle Chong-Tai Bell
The paper explores the use of accounting standards for insurer solvency assessment in the context of the implementation of IFRS 17. The paper is based on the results of a survey of 20 insurance supervisors. Overall, IFRS 17 is a welcome development but there will be challenges of implementation. Not many insurance supervisors currently intend to use IFRS 17 as a basis for solvency assessment of insurers. Perceived shortcomings can be overcome by supervisors providing clear specifications where the principles-based standard allows a range of approaches. Accounting standards can provide a ready-made valuation framework for supervisors developing new solvency frameworks.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Detailed Assessment of Observance on Insurance Core Principles on Thailand discusses that the government of Thailand has made a concerted effort to develop the insurance sector. The government has implemented a series of insurance development plans toward this end. Some significant regulatory and supervisory challenges remain, however, if Thailand is to continue to meet the pressures of a changing market and to continue to build the trust on which future growth depends. Consideration should be given to vesting more supervisory authority for key supervisory decisions with the Commission rather than with the Minister and Cabinet. Vesting authority with the Commission will help to ensure that the insurance supervisor has adequate powers to meet the objectives of insurance supervision. With respect to winding up and exit from the market, the insurance legislation should be amended to clearly establish a point at which it is no longer permissible for a troubled insurer to continue in business.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This technical note Financial Stability Analysis and Stress Testing on Singapore contributes to the assessment of the stability and soundness of the financial sector with a comprehensive set of risk analyses. The work combines an examination of key risk indicators with detailed stress tests, which simulate the health of banks, insurers, nonfinancial corporates and households under severe yet plausible (counterfactual) adverse scenarios. Scenarios include global financial market turmoil, a major slowdown of economic activity in China, cyber-attacks and extreme flooding. The analyses include simulations of contagion within the international banking network, within the domestic banking system and between different types of financial institutions in the financial system. The stress tests reveal that the financial system is broadly resilient to severe adverse shocks; however, foreign exchange liquidity is a key vulnerability. The analyses suggest that Monetary Authority of Singapore should continue strengthening its surveillance by closing data gaps and developing its analytical tools. Further data collection on domestic interlinkages, household mortgage debt at the borrower level, insurers’ balance sheets would enhance surveillance.
International Monetary Fund
Standards assessments serve several important objectives but are not well integrated into Fund surveillance. Financial standards assessments, when undertaken in the context of FSAPs, are used to identify weaknesses in financial regulation and supervision, or other areas covered by international standards. However, those weaknesses are not specifically linked to the risks and vulnerabilities facing the financial sector. Conversely, the analysis of country-specific vulnerabilities in the FSAP does not contribute to targeting the standard assessment effort, since the assessment must be exhaustive and cover the entire standard.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Insurance Core Principles Detailed Assessment Report was prepared in the context of the Financial Sector Assessment Program for the People’s Republic of China–Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The report describes that the insurance penetration and density in HKSAR is among the top 10 in the world. Foreign-owned insurers are dominant in the HKSAR insurance sector, and account for about 72 percent of total assets as at end-2012. The long-term insurance industry is highly concentrated, while the market share of general insurance industry is more evenly distributed. All except one of the top-10 insurance groups are all foreign owned, with much larger consolidated operations compared to their operations in HKSAR. The Insurance Authority is responsible for regulating and supervising the insurance industry of the HKSAR. It is supported by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, a government department in the HKSAR. A self-regulatory system is used to supervise the conduct of business of intermediaries.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Financial System Stability Assessment report on Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) highlights that HKSAR’s financial sector is very well regulated, with the capacity to withstand a diversity of shocks. The sector, however, faces major risks, which puts a significant premium on effective liquidity management, macroprudential oversight, and microprudential supervision. The regulation and supervision framework of the financial sector is of a high caliber, and displays a high level of compliance with international standards, but there remains scope for further strengthening. Financial market infrastructures are highly sophisticated, but further enhancements are needed to fully comply with new international standards.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper discusses key findings of the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). HKSAR has a very high level of compliance with the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) complements its high supervisory standards with a sustained commitment to the international regulatory reform agenda where it is an early adopter of many standards. The banking system is characterized by the dominant presence of institutions with foreign ownership, including the systemic banks, which puts a premium on the HKMA’s role as a host supervisory authority.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper evaluates and addresses Malaysia’s compliance with the Core Principles for Effective Deposit Insurance Systems (Core Principles), and reviews relevant laws, regulations and regulatory and supervisory practices related to conventional banking sector, and the operations of Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM). Though several weaknesses in the legal framework have been noted in this assessment, there has been no experience with bank failures in Malaysia since PIDM’s establishment in 2005. The paper also covers Islamic deposits, which manage a separate Islamic Deposit Insurance Fund (IDIF).
Mr. Garry J. Schinasi


How is finance related to economic processes, and why should it be viewed as a public good requiring policy action? This book provides an answer. The book develops a practical framework for safeguarding financial stability, which encompasses both prevention and resolution of problems. It also examines on-going and future challenges to financial stability posed by globalization, a growing reliance on derivatives and their markets, and the capital market activities of insurers and reinsurers.