The accounting regulation in the field of banks: a preliminary analysis of the risks in the italian scenario

Starting from the accounting regulation of bank system (Barth et al., 2014; De Jager, 2014; Yeager, 2013), the case related to the revaluation of Italian Central Bank’s share capital (so called, in the italian system “Banca d’Italia”) meets the interest of academics and practitioners in the national (Italy) and international field for his specific impact.

Infact, the italian law 5/2014 (available at www.parlamento.it) allows the revaluation of shares capital detained by the Bank of Italy without any liquidity transfer towards bank system.

Banks partecipating to the Bank of Italy’s share capital can increase the value of their shares by writing in the balance sheet a statutory reserve originated by the revaluation profit (Epstein, Jermakowicz, 2010; Knight, 2012).

After the introduction of this regulation (www.bancaditalia.it), each share has increased its value and the effect on the bank system can be focused on a better ranking and the possibility to obtain liquidity (Casu et al., 2010) from the international system with minor costs.

Moreover, each participation is under the threshold of 3% of the Bank of Italy’s share capital. For this reason, revaluation proposal has caused the possibility to sell shares detained by banks system directly to the Bank of Italy: this is one of the tipping points because of the possibility in activating a transfer towards private banks (www.bancaditalia.it). In the light of this aspects, by adding the revaluation of the Bank of Italy’s shares capital, annual dividends increased.

Infact, the European Commission are establishing validity of the italian regulation and in the national context there is some interpretation of this problem coming from for example Agenzia delle Entrante on the fiscal perspective.

The Ordinary Meeting of Shareholders of the Bank of Italy on may 26th, 2015 has been focused on many topics among which there is the revaluation of Italian Central Bank’s share capital. As indicated in the Governor’s Concluding Remarks available on website of the Bank of Italy: “(…) At its meeting on 30 April the Board of Directors determined that in future years dividends should ordinarily be in the range between last year’s and this year’s amounts, conditional on the size of net profit and on capitalization needs, unless the general conditions of the financial markets or the Bank’s profitability have undergone significant changes. The commencement of the redistribution of holdings of the Bank’s shares, as required by law, may be facilitated by awareness of this orientation. Meanwhile the Bank is working on the dematerialization of the shares. Once the new system is fully phased in, transfers will be made electronically in a dedicated market segment, so as to make the investment liquid. (…)” (available at www.bancaditalia.it/pubblicazioni/relazioneannuale/2014/en_cf_2014.pdf; pp. 3-4).

The contribution of the future research could be based on the discover of the emerging discussion at national (Italy) and international level in order to represent risks regulation coming from the italian scenario. In the light of this proposition, it is useful to understand which are strong and weak points coming from the above case study. Another interesting discussion could follow the possibility to explain accounting regulation of bank system as tool of economic politics.

by Rosa Lombardi