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Bank for International Settlements (BIS): World's oldest international financial organisation

12-APR-2016 12:26

    Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is the world's oldest international financial organisation that established on 17 May 1930. It is owned by 60 central banks, representing countries from around the world that together make up about 95% of world GDP to “fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks".


    It was established by an intergovernmental agreement between Germany, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the United States and Switzerland. As an organization of central banks, the BIS seek to make monetary policy more predictable and transparent among its 60-member central banks, except in the case of Eurozone countries which forfeited the right to conduct monetary policy in order to implement the euro. While monetary policy is determined by most sovereign nations, it is subject to central and private banking scrutiny and potentially to speculation that affects foreign exchange rates and especially the fate of export economies.

    Governing Bodies of Bank for International Settlements (BIS)

    It has three main departments. Two departments encompass the two principal activities of the BIS - policy analysis and banking - and the third provides general internal support.

    Monetary and Economic Department: Undertakes research and analysis to shape the understanding of policy issues concerning central banks, provides committee support and organises key meetings of senior central bankers and other officials in charge of financial stability. In addition, the department collects analyses and disseminates statistical information on the international financial system.

    Banking Department: Provides a range of financial services to support central banks in the management of their foreign exchange and gold reserves and invests the equity of the BIS.

    General Secretariat: Provides the entire organisation with comprehensive corporate services, including human resources, facilities management, security, finance, communications and IT.

    These departments are further supported by the Legal Service, the Risk Control unit, the Internal Audit unit, and the Compliance and Operational Risk Unit. Furthermore, the BIS's Financial Stability Institute facilitates the dissemination of the standard-setting bodies' work (see below under Governance of the BIS-hosted committees) to central banks and financial sector supervisory regulatory agencies.

    The governance and management of the Bank are conducted at three principal levels:

    General Meeting of BIS member central banks; The Bank's capital is held by central banks only. Sixty central banks and monetary authorities are currently members of the BIS and have rights of voting and representation at General Meetings.

    BIS Board of Directors: It is responsible for determining the strategic and policy direction of the BIS, supervising BIS Management, and fulfilling the specific tasks given to it by the Bank's Statutes. It meets at least six times a year.

    BIS Management: It is under the overall direction of the General Manager, who is responsible to the Board of Directors for the conduct of the Bank. In accordance with the Bank's Statutes, the General Manager is assisted by the Deputy General Manager.

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