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Financial Stability Board Could Broaden List of Systemically Important Financial Institutions

Roberta Holland | August 28, 2013

The international Financial Stability Board has signaled that more than banks can pose systemic market threats, with its decision last month to expand its “too big to fail” rules to nine global insurers. Now the organization may include more types of institutions, according to an official with the FSB.

Eva Hupkes, adviser on regulatory policy and cooperation with the FSB, told the Investment & Pensions Europe news site that the organization is developing assessment methodology to figure out what types of financial institutions could present such a threat. Hupkes did not rule out the possibility that pension funds could be included in the future.

“When the FSB adopted in 2011 the key attribute of a resolution regime, the ‘too big to fail' notion was primarily directed towards banks due to the nature of their activities, but the scope from the beginning was not limited to any specific type of institutions,” Hupkes told IPE.

In July, the FSB added nine major global insurance companies to its list of systemically important financial institutions -- Allianz, AIG, Assicurazioni Generali, Aviva, Axa, MetLife, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Prudential Financial, and Prudential plc. They joined 28 banking groups already identified by the FSB. The board said the insurance companies would be reviewed annually for inclusion.

Hupkes said the FSB is trying to determine whether failure of other types of institutions could pose a systemic risk to the market. The board hopes to publish its report before the start of the G20 summit next month.

“There is still work being done on the assessment methodology for the non-bank and non-insurance sector,” Hupkes said. “This work is under way and has not been completed yet.”

Mirzha de Manuel, a researcher at the Centre for European Policy Studies, told IPE that he questioned whether a failure of a pension fund is likely. But he acknowledged that should a major pension fund fail, “there would be some major consequences for citizens and ultimately one could expect some form of bailout.”