By Rhiannon Sowerbutts and Peter Zimmerman of the Bank’s Financial Stability Directorate and Ilknur Zer of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
Inadequate public disclosure by banks contributed to the financial crisis. This is because investors, unable to judge the risks that banks are bearing, withdraw lending in times of systemic stress. This article presents quantitative indices which allow for the comparison of disclosure between banks and over time. Internationally, disclosure has improved since 2000, particularly around banks’ valuation methods and funding risk. However, more information alone is not sufficient to solve the problem. More needs to be done to ensure that the information provided is useful to investors, and that investors are incentivised to use this information. The ongoing reform agenda aims to address this.