State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in Emerging Europe’s economies, notably in the energy and transport sectors. Based on a new firm-level dataset, this paper reviews the SOE landscape, assesses SOE performance across countries and vis-à-vis private firms, and evaluates recent SOE governance reform experience in 11 Emerging European countries, as well as Sweden as a benchmark. Profitability and efficiency of resource allocation of SOEs lag those of private firms in most sectors, with substantial cross-country variation. Poor SOE performance raises three main risks: large and risky contingent liabilities could stretch public finances; sizeable state ownership of banks coupled with poor governance could threaten financial stability; and negative productivity spillovers could affect the economy at large. SOE governance frameworks are partly weak and should be strengthened along three lines: fleshing out a consistent ownership policy; giving teeth to financial oversight; and making SOE boards more professional.
Concerns about excessive variability in bank risk weights have prompted their review by regulators. This paper provides prima facie evidence on the extent of risk weight heterogeneity across broad asset classes and by country of counterparty for major banks in the European Union using internal models. It also finds that corporate risk weights are sensitive to the riskiness of an average representative firm, but not to a market indicator of a firm’s probablity of default. Under plausible yet severe hypothetical scenarios for harmonized risk weights, counterfactual capital ratios would decline significantly for some banks, but they would not experience a shortfall relative to Basel III’s minimum requirements. This, however, does not preclude falling short of meeting additional national supervisory capital requirements.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
This report seeks to help the IMF enhance its effectiveness by identifying major recurring issues from the IEO’s first 20 evaluations and assessing where they stand. The IMF’s core areas of responsibility are surveillance, lending, and capacity development. The aim of this report is to strengthen the follow-up process by focusing on key issues that recurred in IEO evaluations, rather than on specific recommendations on their implementation. The IEO believes that a framework of reviewing and monitoring recurring issues would be useful in establishing incentives for progress, strengthening the Board’s oversight, and providing learning opportunities for the IMF.
The staff report highlights that the insurance sector in Sweden is well developed and mature. The captive insurance segment is mainly driven by tax advantages. This assessment provides an update on the significant regulatory and supervisory developments in the insurance sector of Sweden since 2002. The assessment is based solely on the laws, regulations, and other supervisory requirements and practices that were in place at the time of the assessment.
This paper considers how a tax on financial transactions could be applied to three broad and partially overlapping categories of financial instruments: (1) exchange-traded instruments; (2) over-the-counter instruments; and, (3) foreign exchange instruments. For each category, the paper examines the factors that would facilitate or complicate the administration of a financial transactions tax, the options for collecting the tax, the types of compliance risks that are likely to be encountered, and measures for mitigating these risks.