17 June 2014

Gambia: 'Complexities of Banks Pose Serious Challenges to Regulators'

The Central Bank governor, Amadou Colley has observed that the nature and complexities of banks pose serious challenges to the supervisory authorities, thus suggesting that risk-focused supervision - which is institution specific - must be adopted by supervisors. He stressed that supervisory authorities must ensure that their risk-assessment systems take into consideration industry-wide trends.

The governor was speaking Monday at a local hotel in Kololi where he presided over the opening ceremony of a regional course on the implementation of Effective Risk Management and Good Corporate Governance Practices, organised by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM).

The governor stressed that it is important and appropriate for regulators to understand the risk profile of institutions and accordingly set minimum capital and liquidity requirements.

"Regulators should consider the adoption of counter-cyclical measures by finance institutions in their jurisdictions. There is also the need to have a proper balance in the board. It is critical that the board comprises sufficient independent directors with diversity of knowledge judgment and experience," he suggested.

Governor Colley also observed that financial innovation has increased the lack of transparency of financial institutions. He said regulators are usually far behind the operator's 'knowledge curve'.

"For instance, it took regulators several months to discern the magnitude of the crisis. It is therefore a matter of urgency that regulators build capacity in a manner that would match the speed and innovation of the industry. Given cross-border banking, there is the need for extensive cooperation and coordination at regional, continental and global levels of bank supervisors," he underscored.

The CBG chief reiterated that all financial institutions need sound risk management and good corporate governance practices. An enterprise-wide approach, he went on, is appropriate for setting objectives across the organisation, instilling a culture attuned to risk, and ensuring that key activities and risk are being monitored regularly.

"Clearly, it is paramount to ensure that institutions are not only identifying, measuring, and managing their risks, but are also developing and maintaining appropriate corporate governance structures for their business activities and risk taking. I commend WAIFEM once again for responding to the demands of member countries to hold this course on effective risk management and good corporate governance practices," he concluded.

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