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One of the most significant lessons learned from the global financial crisis that began in 2007 was that banks’ information technology (IT) and data architectures were inadequate to support the broad management of financial risks. Many banks lacked the ability to aggregate risk exposures and identify concentrations quickly and accurately at the bank group level, across business lines and between legal entities. Some banks were unable to manage their risks properly because of weak risk data aggregation capabilities and risk reporting practices. This had severe consequences to the banks themselves and to the stability of the financial system as a whole.
In response, the Basel Committee issued supplemental Pillar 2 (supervisory review process) guidance to enhance banks’ ability to identify and manage bank-wide risks. In particular, the Committee emphasised that a sound risk management system should have appropriate management information systems (MIS) at the business and bank-wide level.
The Basel Committee also included references to data aggregation as part of its guidance on corporate governance.
Improving banks’ ability to aggregate risk data will improve their resolvability. For global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) in particular, it is essential that resolution authorities have access to aggregate risk data that complies with the FSB’s Key Attributes of Effective Resolution Regimes for Financial Institutions as well as the principles set out below. For recovery, a robust data framework will help banks and supervisors anticipate problems ahead. It will also improve the prospects of finding alternative options to restore financial strength and viability when the firm comes under severe stress. For example, it could improve the prospects of finding a suitable merger partner.
Many in the banking industry recognise the benefits of improving their risk data aggregation capabilities and are working towards this goal. They see the improvements in terms of strengthening the capability and the status of the risk function to make judgements. This leads to gains in efficiency, reduced probability of losses and enhanced strategic decision-making, and ultimately increased profitability.
Supervisors observe that making improvements in risk data aggregation capabilities and risk reporting practices remains a challenge for banks, and supervisors would like to see more progress, in particular, at G-SIBs. Moreover, as the memories of the crisis fade over time, there is a danger that the enhancement of banks’ capabilities in these areas may receive a slower-track treatment. This is because IT systems, data and reporting processes require significant investments of financial and human resources with benefits that may only be realised over the long-term.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has several international initiatives underway to ensure continued progress is made in strengthening firms’ risk data aggregation capabilities and risk reporting practices, which is essential to support financial stability.
There are also other initiatives and requirements relating to data that will have to be implemented in the following years. The Committee considers that upgraded risk data aggregation and risk reporting practices will allow banks to comply effectively with those initiatives.