Trawl for IFSC risks finds €322bn of SPV assets

Central Bank reports level of special purpose vehicle assets for first time

The  Central Bank revealed in its latest Macro-Financial Review, published on Tuesday, that a review uncovered 820 SPVs with combined assets at the end of December of €322 billion.

The Central Bank revealed in its latest Macro-Financial Review, published on Tuesday, that a review uncovered 820 SPVs with combined assets at the end of December of €322 billion.

 

A Central Bank search for potential unregulated risks in the Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre has thrown up 820 vehicles covering more than €320 billion of assets.

Regulators globally, led by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in Switzerland, have been seeking since the outset of the financial crisis to strengthen oversight of shadow banking - or the growing level of financial activity that occurs outside the traditional banking sector.

An FSB report in November showed that Ireland’s International Financial Services Centre ranked with China as the joint third-largest hub for non-bank finance firms, behind the US and UK, with €2.3 trillion of assets.

While much of Ireland’s shadow banking activity, such as investment funds and money market funds, are heavily regulated and supervised, entities such as financial vehicle corporations (FVCs), and special purpose vehicles (SPVs) are not.

The Central Bank last year ordered SPVs to start filing data on their activities last year so it can get a handle on what they are up to and assess the risks they may pose to the financial system. FVCs have been under obligation to file figures with the European Central Bank since 2009.

The Central Bank revealed in its latest Macro-Financial Review, published on Tuesday, that the review uncovered 820 SPVs with combined assets at the end of December of €322 billion.

“The new data cover a wide range of activities, including financial investments on behalf of parent entities, intra-group financing, external financing for the parent entity, loan origination and financial leasing,” the report said. “These data are currently being analysed in detail with particular focus on financial links to other entities.”

While SPVs have limited exposure to the Irish economy, the data suggests they “have a wide range of links across countries and economic sectors”, it said. More details will be published by the Central Bank in the coming months.