Erik Thedéen, Finansinspektionen's Director General and Chair of IOSCO's Task Force on Sustainable Finance made a speech at the conference Driving Global Standards on Sustainable Finance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has incurred large human and economic costs and also affected the financial sector. Maintaining own funds in financial institutions is important both for ensuring the resilience of the financial system and supporting banks' lending through this crisis.
Governments, central banks, and authorities around the world have taken powerful measures to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. These measures also helped dampen uncertainty on the financial markets. By utilising available buffers and continuing to lend to firms and households, the financial sector can dampen the impact of the crisis. It is also important to remember that the economic crisis is not over, and uncertainty is therefore high, notes Finansinspektionen (FI) in its first stability report of the year.
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an exceptional stress for the real economy. Governments, central banks and supervisory authorities have implemented significant measures to dampen the crisis. This has helped to reduce the uncertainty on the financial markets. But we are in still in the middle of the crisis, and there is considerable uncertainty going forward.
The global sustainability network NGFS (Network for Greening the Financial System) is publishing today a report on how banks around the world consider climate-related risks in their lending. The report shows that this is occurring more frequently, but it is at the same time difficult to see which loans constitute a lower risk. This is because, for example, there is no international classification and a shared perception of which assets are “green” and “brown”.
The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is having a financial impact on firms and households around the world. There is considerable uncertainty about how much the disease will impact the global economy. This economic uncertainty also affects the financial system.
The rate at which household debt is increasing has slowed the past three years. The two amortisation requirements that FI introduced contributed to this change. But the low interest rates entail risks. The debt of commercial real estate companies has been increasing sharply, and the banks have large exposures to the sector. FI decided today to raise the capital requirements for bank loans for commercial real estate. Erik Thedéen also noted that cyber threats are a challenge facing society as a whole, and cooperation is needed on a broad front.
FI will explore the possibility of advocating both nationally and internationally increased disclosure of firms’ internal carbon pricing.
The low interest rates are expected to remain low for a longer period of time. It could lead to greater risk-taking among various actors, and increased challenges for insurance undertakings.
FI’s Director General spoke today at the Finansdagen conference in Stockholm.