Sinckler calls for regional body
Barbados’ Minister of Finance is calling for a regional association for the supervision of the banking and non-bank financial sectors.
Chris Sinckler made the call as regional pension regulators meet in Barbados for the two-day 2014 Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Caribbean Association of Pension Supervisors at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
He explained that such a body would be tasked with merging the operational and financial arrangements needed to assess and monitor financial stability on an ongoing basis.
“I am pleased to say that the region has made great strides in this regard, as there are not only financial stability reports by countries across the region, but there is a regional financial stability group currently tasked with producing a regional financial stability report which could take into consideration the relevant linkages across the financial system.
“[In this regard], the pensions sector is growing and the assets under management are material to financial stability across the region. It is therefore important that we begin to integrate pension related data into financial stability reports, such that the relevant linkages and the impact of these linkages from the pension sector can be considered in the regional financial stability report,” he said.
Sinckler explained that these linkages would take into consideration the ongoing reform by considering aspects such as the investment risk in portfolios, access to alternative investment options, the amount of gross investment in Government issued securities by pension plans, and the matching of the assets and liabilities of pension plans given the longer term liabilities stemming from persons living longer.
“With the requisite resources behind this research, I am confident that we can produce impactful and meaningful results which can inform our policy makers in the pension sector. There has been gradual progress in key areas of financial sector oversight in many Caribbean countries. More importantly, supervisors have been shifting to risk-based approaches to make optimal use of resources and more attention is being placed on supervisory capacity with better trained staff and regulatory coverage strengthening. These changes are in direct recognition of the importance of regulation and the non-bank financial sectors,” he noted.
Sinckler said the recent financial crisis has highlighted the importance of this type of supervision for the financial sector.
Addressing the opening of the conference, he said there was also a need for cross border collaboration on national financial sector policies.
“In your deliberations over the coming two days, it is incumbent on participants to work along with each other. We are of the opinion that an expansion of the Memorandum of Understanding network among Caribbean pension regulators would ultimately lay the framework for exchanging information in this regard and may be a suggested point at which negotiations can begin,” he said.
Among the reforms which the minister urged regulators to consider were the active reviewing of the current legislation; reviewing the process to update the regulations and legislation to make it more responsive and timely; signing of MOUs for cross border information sharing; and harmonization of the regulatory framework across all companies.