Organisation, governance and activities

30 June 2008

This chapter provides an overview of the internal organisation and governance of the Bank for International Settlements. It also reviews the activities of the Bank, and of the international groups it hosts, over the past financial year. These activities focus on promoting cooperation among central banks and other financial authorities, and on providing financial services to central bank customers.

Many of the Bank's activities were refocused in the second half of the year to deal with the financial market turmoil that emerged in August 2007. In addition to an acceleration and modification of committees' work plans, other notable responses to the turmoil were:

  • a special meeting of central bank Governors to discuss the underlying causes and potential economic consequences of the turmoil;
  • more frequent and detailed discussions among central bankers and financial market participants more broadly, facilitated by the BIS and the committees it hosts;
  • increased research devoted to the causes and policy implications of the turmoil;
  • publication of information on monetary policy frameworks to complement central banks' market operations, with a view to enhancing transparency and the understanding of central bank actions;
  • initiatives by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision to help make the banking system more resilient to financial shocks; and
  • close cooperation with other organisations following the turmoil, in particular support for the Financial Stability Forum's working groups on enhancing market and institutional resilience.

Furthermore, the BIS took a number of measures in its banking and risk management activities to address the challenges that have emerged as a result of the financial turmoil.

The Bank's balance sheet grew to SDR 311 billion (USD 511 billion) at end-March 2008, representing a year-on-year increase of 15%. Some SDR 236 billion (USD 388 billion) of official foreign exchange reserves are deposited with the BIS, around 6% of the world's total. Net profits for the Bank's 78th financial year amounted to SDR 545 million (USD 847 million), compared with SDR 619 million (USD 920 million) in the preceding year.