Activities of the Representative Office for the Americas 2010/11
Annual Report of the Americas Office on the occasion of the BIS Annual General Meeting 2011 Mexico City, June 2011
The purpose of the Americas Office is to strengthen relations and promote cooperation between the BIS and the central banks and supervisory authorities based in the region. The Office accomplishes that goal by improving the exchange of information and data, facilitating the organisation of meetings and seminars and contributing to the Bank’s financial and economic research on the Americas. By informing and advising customers in the region about BIS banking services, the Office also actively promotes the role of the BIS as a bank for central banks and international financial organisations.
In short, the Office provides central banks, financial authorities and international organisations in the Americas with greater access to the BIS. As an integral part of the BIS that reports directly to the General Manager, the Office also strives to add a Latin American and Caribbean perspective to all aspects of BIS operations.
This expansion has not always proceeded steadily and smoothly over the years. In 2008–09, as a result of the international financial crisis, the BIS experienced a temporary but marked decrease in business volumes, mainly due to measures taken by the BIS to protect its balance sheet. However, the subsequent gradual return to more normal market conditions in 2009–10 allowed the BIS to restore its banking relationships in the region to their previous levels or even beyond them. An interesting development in this respect has been a renewed search for diversification, in terms not only of strategic asset allocation (with gold coming back to the forefront), but also of currency composition of reserves, in particular for central banks whose economies have increasing connections with Asian markets..."
Unlike the BIS Representative Office for Asia and the Pacific, the Americas Office does not conduct treasury operations or have a dealing room. Nonetheless, it facilitates BIS banking activities by providing marketing support and technical advice to customers in the region. In this connection, the special Training Workshops Programme held in Switzerland by the BIS for risk and reserve managers attracted in 2010 a record number of participants from central banks and international organisations of Latin America and the Caribbean..."
"...In addition, during the period under review, numerous business relationship and technical visits were paid to central bank customers and to regional and international organisations based in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. The BIS also participated in various risk and reserve management seminars organised by other financial institutions, in particular the Centre for Latin American Monetary Studies (CEMLA) and the Latin American Reserve Fund (FLAR)..."
"...In addition, the Americas Office supports regional networking through use of the Bank’s eBIS platform, a password-protected internet tool that is free for all registered users. The Office created and administers a special area in eBIS for central bank lawyers in the region. At present, more than 60 central bank lawyers form part of this group. Several, but not all, regional central banks are represented. Through eBIS, users have access to documents, most often unpublished, relating to the administration of reserves, central bank autonomy, bank resolutions and payment systems. The platform also provides access to the “knowledge base” of the Central Bank Governance Network..."