Central Bank Governance and Financial Stability

Expert Based: June 19 – 21, 2017ILjubljana, SloveniaICentral Banking

The learning initiative followed the discussion of central bank autonomy as a key element of good economic governance in the context of the CEF-ECB 2016 regional seminar for the Western Balkans. Organized by the CEF with the participation of the BIS and the IMF, it provided an opportunity to delve deeper into accountability and governance issues stemming from a broadening of central bank mandates across the SEE constituency to include, formally or otherwise, policy objectives and operational responsibilities for financial stability.

Indeed, in the wake of the financial crisis, the earlier focus of many central banks on maintaining price stability has been augmented by various financial stability mandates. This has substantially raised the complexity of central banking. It has also replaced a world where central banks were not meant to be the focus of attention - by maintaining price stability so well, that their actions would barely be noticed - with one in which they are squarely in the limelight, drawing public and political attention. Central banks are often seen as the only institution that can restore financial stability and sustained economic growth, and their reputation is on the line, independently of whether they have full authority over the required toolkit, decision-making and financial resources. At the same time, mandates, objectives, decision-making powers and financial responsibilities for financial stability actions remain weakly defined in many jurisdictions.

In view of a difficult road of experimentation ahead, and much learning that remains to be done to improve on these matters, the topic is ripe for a sharing of knowledge and experience between participating countries with insight from partner institutions on global practices. While the first day brought together senior management and external board members invited to share their experience in dealing with the challenges stemming from financial stability objectives, the second and third day broadened the discussion to cover a variety of operational aspects relating to good governance, effective oversight practices and sound administrative management across central banks.  The governance structures for fulfilling financial stability mandates and striking an effective balance between autonomy and accountability were the starting point for the discussion.

Program Outline

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The learning initiative unfolded over 2.5 days. In line with other events of the CEF central banking thematic area, the program was designed to be highly interactive, comprising expert presentations, both from participants and partners, group work and plenary discussions.

On the first day, the challenges stemming from the broadening of central bank mandates were discussed from a big-picture perspective, with a focus on what an individual central bank can do to help stakeholders (parliament, government, markets and the financial sector, and the public at large) understand the new environment and to appropriately adjust rules and understandings on the central bank's functions and responsibilities. To keep the discussion grounded in practice and respond to constituency needs on operational matters, a small number of specific challenges were covered in some detail – these include how financial stability objectives can be specified, what kinds of decision-making frameworks for financial stability matters have evolved, and how central bank financial strength can be calibrated and maintained.

To achieve a blend of high-level and concrete perspective, introductory presentations provided an overview of the experience of central banks across the globe. Brief lead presentations by selected participants introduced the regional perspective and country specifics, and a considerable part of the meeting time will be allocated to discussion among participants, with the CEF facilitating a sharing of experience relating to challenges faced and lessons learned.

The second and third day built on previous discussions to devote further attention to selected aspects of good governance, drawing a distinction between different types of policy frameworks, objectives and toolkits, as well as legal and practical safeguards for striking a balance between autonomy and accountability. This helped shed light on key elements of decision-making structures and the role of board members. The discussion delved into their contribution towards fulfilling the central bank mandate, their interactions with other governance bodies and committees, and drawed lessons on reporting lines and communication. Since financial stability issues straddle across multiple institutions with consequences for taxpayers, the delicate issues of vested interests and coordination between central banks and ministries of finance will also be of interest. This included an illustration of areas which have sometimes proven to be sensitive or a source of disagreement and highlights from global practice with respect to conflict resolution mechanisms. The discussion also covered the main aspects of central bank internal organization and administration, such as audit functions, to illustrate how to strengthen good governance, build trust and uphold credibility. This was complemented by a discussion of transparency and policy effectiveness, highlighting key elements of financial reporting practices and central bank balance sheet issues, particularly in relation to financial stability objectives.

Target Audience

The initiative was primarily designed for members of central bank boards and senior management who are directly involved in accountability processes and effective policy-making. Representatives of Governor's offices, Board Secretariats, Chief Financial Officers, Heads of Legal Services, and those directly involved in relationships with external stakeholders are also invited to participate. Proceedings and group discussions will be subject to Chatham House rules to encourage frank discussion, while key highlights of lead presentations will be reported, unattributed, on social media to reach out to participants’ colleagues within their home institutions. Reading materials were made available to participants ahead of time, as the latter were expected to present their country perspectives on the issues raised for discussion.


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  • Paul Moser-Boehm, Senior Economist, Central Banking Studies of the Monetary and Economic Department, Bank for International Settments

Paul works on questions of central bank governance, management and organisation, and helps support the activities of the Central Bank Governance Forum. Collecting, analysing and disseminating information about what central banks do and how they do it is an important part of this work. The Central Banking Studies Team maintains an informal Network on Central Bank Governance for this purpose, and works with time-limited study groups that are established from time to time to address topical governance issues in depth.

Before focusing on central bank governance Paul worked for the Secretariat of the Group of Ten and its working parties, and helped provide support for groups such as the G22. Paul joined the BIS in 1998, after working for 11 years in the Research Department at the Bank of Canada on applied research topics, current analysis and economic projections. Paul is a Canadian citizen. He received an M.A. in Economics from the University of British Columbia in 1987 with a thesis in Labour Economics.

  • Blaise Gadanecz, Economist, Central Banking Studies of the Monetary and Economic Department, Bank for International Settlements

Blaise has been at the Bank for International Settlements since 1999. Before joining, he worked for the French Treasury as well as the Financial Stability Department of the Bank of England.

Blaise currently works on governance issues at central banks. For a number of years, he has participated in the collaborative activities of the BIS Monetary and Economic Department with regional groups of central banks such as SADC, MEFMI, CEMLA and SEACEN. He is the author of reports and research pieces in various BIS publications (such as the Quarterly Review, the BIS Working Paper series, BIS Papers), refereed journals and books. His research interests include central banks, financial markets, bank intermediation and policy issues related to monetary and financial stability.

He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Wales and a Master’s degree in Banking, Finance and Insurance from Université Paris-Dauphine.

  • Ashraf Khan, Senior Financial Sector Expert, Monetary and Capital Markets Department, International Monetary Fund

Ashraf  leads MCM’s work on central bank governance, independence, risk management, and currency management, contributes to general corporate governance issues, and Islamic Finance. He coordinated the recent update of the IMF’s Central Bank Legislation Database.

Before joining the IMF, Ashraf worked as head of the governance and accounting department at the Central Bank of the Netherlands, as trade policy advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, and as a corporate lawyer with CMS Derks Star Busmann.

He holds a Master of Dutch Private Law, and a Master of International Law from the Free University of Amsterdam, as well as a Master of Philosophy from Jawaharhal Nehru University, New Delhi. Ashraf was a founding board member of the Duisenberg School of Finance, Amsterdam, and has published numerous articles on governance and risk management.

  • Attila Arda, Senior Counsel, Financial and Fiscal Law Unit, Legal Department, International Monetary Fund

Atilla is specialized in central bank law, governance, and safeguards; EU institutional and financial sector law; legal and institutional frameworks for macroprudential policy, financial stability mandates, and crisis management; bank resolution; and crisis preparedness.

He has worked on the Financial Sector Assessment Programs for Montenegro (deputy mission chief), Austria, Belgium (ongoing), Bulgaria, Finland, Israel, Japan, Slovenia, and Sweden. Atilla has also field experience in (leading) technical assistance projects and financial sector reforms in over two dozen countries—and many more from HQ—including in Europe (Albania, Austria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Kosovo, Macedonia, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Ukraine).

Previously he worked as a Senior Financial Sector Expert in the IMF’s Monetary & Capital Markets Department. Prior to joining the IMF in 2007, Atilla was Senior Counsel in the central bank of the Netherlands (2000-2007) where he was also Substitute Board Secretary; he also contributed to the workings of the Legal Committee of the European System of Central Banks. Before that, Atilla held appointed and elected offices in the City Council of Amsterdam (1994-2002).

He is a regular speaker at international conferences, led for several years the IMF’s annual two-week courses in Austria/JVI and Singapore/STI on central banking and financial sector legal frameworks, and currently chairs an annual course on central bank governance and legal risks in Cambridge/UK.

  • Sanjeev Matai, Senior Accountant, Safeguards Division, Finance Department, International Monetary Fund

Sanjeev leads and conducts safeguards assessments of central banks in many regions around the world. Throughout his career, Mr. Matai has been involved in training central bankers in the areas of governance, risk management, and auditing. He has presented at international conferences in New York, Washington D.C, Bulgaria, Turkey and Uganda.

Prior to joining the IMF, Mr. Matai worked at the South African Reserve Bank in many capacities including senior management roles in internal audit, and credit risk and compliance, and operational roles in currency operations and banking. Mr. Matai trained as an accountant at PKF (Durban) where he managed accounting, tax, and audit projects across a wide range of industries. During this time, Mr. Matai also represented the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants at schools promoting accounting as a profession. Mr. Matai is a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) and holds an Honors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa.

Keynote Speakers

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  • Boštjan Jazbec, Governor, Bank of Slovenia

  • Christian Fehlker, Principal Economist, Directorate General International and European Relations, European Central Bank


The program for this learning initiative is supported by the Bank of Slovenia and is delivered in cooperation with the Bank of International Settlements and the Monetary and Capital Markets, Finance, and Legal Departments of the International Monetary Fund. National central bank representatives will also participate in the learning to bring in a strong regional perspective.

Bank of Slovenia Bank for International Settlements International Monetary Fund