Accounting policies

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Accounting Policies

The principal accounting policies applied in the preparation of these financial statements are set out below. These policies have been consistently applied to all the years presented, unless otherwise stated.

 

A. Basis of preparation

These financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The financial statements have been prepared under the historical cost convention, as modified by the revaluation of financial assets at fair value through other comprehensive income, financial assets and financial liabilities held at fair value through profit or loss and all derivative contracts. In addition, financial assets and liabilities subject to amortised cost measurement which form part of a qualifying hedge relationship have been accounted for in accordance with hedge accounting rules – see “Derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting” on page 21. The financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis. The going concern assessment was made by the Bank’s Board of Directors when approving the Bank’s ‘Strategy Implementation Plan 2017 – 2019’ in December 2016, which analysed the Bank’s liquidity position. The assessment was re-confirmed by the President and Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer on 8 March 2017, the date on which they signed the financial statements.

 

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with IFRS requires the use of certain critical accounting estimates. It also requires management to exercise its judgement in the process of applying the Bank’s policies. The areas involving a higher degree of judgement or complexity, or areas where judgements and estimates are significant to the financial statements, are disclosed in “Critical accounting estimates and judgements” on page 24.

 

New and amended IFRS mandatorily effective for the current reporting period

There are a number of amendments to standards effective for the current reporting period which have no or negligible impact on the Bank’s financial statements, namely:

  • IFRS 11: Joint Arrangements
  • IAS 1: Presentation of Financial Statements
  • IAS 16: Property, Plant and Equipment
  • IAS 38: Intangible Assets

 

IFRS not yet mandatorily effective but adopted early

IFRS 9: ‘Financial Instruments’ is the IASB’s replacement project for IAS 39. The Standard has developed in phases and was completed in July 2014 with a mandatory application date for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018. The Bank adopted the first phase ‘recognition and measurement of financial assets’ (November 2009) in its 2010 financial statements.

 

See the accounting policy for financial assets for more details.

 

IFRS not yet mandatorily effective and not adopted early

The following standards are not yet effective and have not been adopted early.

 

Pronouncement

Nature of change

Potential Impact

Amendments to:

IFRS 2: Share-based Payment

 

Accounting for a modification of a share-based payment

transaction that changes its classification from

cash-settled to equity-settled.

 

Effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018.

 

The Bank considers that this standard is not applicable to its operations.

Amendments to:

IFRS 4: Insurance Contracts

 

Provides guidance for insurers in applying IFRS 9: Financial Instruments with IFRS 4: Insurance Contracts.

 

Effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018.

 

The Bank considers that this standard is not applicable to its operations.

IFRS 9: Financial Instruments

 

Classification and measurement of financial liabilities (October 2010).

 

Hedge accounting (November 2013).

 

Impairment methodology and introduction of a ‘fair value through other comprehensive income’ measurement category for financial assets represented by simple debt instruments (July 2014).

 

IFRS 9 to be adopted in its entirety for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018.

The Bank has commenced its implementation programme for the hedge accounting and impairment sections of IFRS 9. At this stage it does not foresee any material change to its classification and measurement of financial assets and liabilities.

Amendments to:

IFRS 10: Consolidated Financial Statements and

IAS 28: Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures

 

Provides guidance for accounting for the loss of control of a subsidiary as a result of a transaction involving an associate or a joint venture that is accounted for using the equity method.

 

Effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after a date to be determined by the IASB.

The Bank considers that these amendments have no applicability to its existing operations.

IFRS 15: Revenue from Contracts with Customers

Establishes principles for reporting useful information to users of financial statements about the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty

of revenue and cash flows arising from an entity’s contracts with customers.

 

Effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018.

The Bank has yet to assess the potential impact of adopting this standard.

IFRS 16: Leases

Sets out the principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases for both parties to a contract, that is, the customer (‘lessee’) and the supplier (‘lessor’).

 

Effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019.

The Bank has yet to assess the potential impact of adopting this standard.

Amendments to:

IAS 7: Statement of Cash Flows

 

An entity shall provide disclosures that enable users of financial

statements to evaluate changes in liabilities arising from financing

activities, including both changes arising from cash flows and non-cash

changes.

 

Effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2017.

This is a disclosure requirement only which the Bank will comply with in 2017.

Amendments to:

IAS 12: Income Taxes

 

Clarifies the requirements on recognition of deferred tax assets for unrealised losses on debt instruments measured at fair value.

 

Effective for annual reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2017.

 

The Bank is exempt from all forms of direct taxes and so this Standard is not applicable.

 

B. Significant accounting policies

Financial assets – Classification and measurement

The Bank early adopted the first instalment of IFRS 9: Financial Instruments, concerning the classification and measurement of financial assets, with effect from 1 January 2010 . Pursuant to that adoption, the Bank classifies its financial assets in the following categories: those measured at amortised cost and those measured at fair value. This classification depends on both the contractual characteristics of the assets and the business model adopted for their management..

 

Financial assets at amortised cost

An investment is classified as ‘amortised cost’ only if both of the following criteria are met: the objective of the Bank’s business model is to hold the asset to collect the contractual cash flows; and the contractual terms give rise on specified dates to cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest on the principal outstanding, interest being consideration for the time value of money and the credit risk associated with the principal amount outstanding.

 

Investments meeting these criteria are measured initially at fair value plus transaction costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition of the financial assets. They are subsequently measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method less any impairment. Except for debt securities held at amortised cost, which are recognised on trade date, the Bank’s financial assets at amortised cost are recognised at settlement date.

 

Financial assets at fair value

If either of the two criteria above is not met, the debt instrument is classified as ‘fair value through profit or loss’. The presence of an embedded derivative, which could potentially change the cash flows arising on a debt instrument so that they no longer represent solely payments of principal and interest, requires that instrument to be classified at fair value through profit or loss, an example being a convertible loan.

 

Debt instruments classified at fair value through profit or loss are recognised on a settlement date basis if within the Banking loan portfolio and on a trade date basis if within the Treasury portfolio.

 

The Bank’s share investments – equity investments held within its Banking portfolio – are measured at fair value through profit or loss, including associate investments. The Bank considers the latter to be venture capital investments for which IAS 28: Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures does not require the equity method of accounting.

 

When an instrument that is required to be measured at fair value through profit or loss has characteristics of both a debt and equity instrument, the Bank determines its classification as a debt or an equity instrument on the basis of the legal rights and obligations attaching to the instrument in accordance with IFRS.

The basis of fair value for listed share investments in an active market is the quoted bid market price on the balance sheet date. The basis of fair value for share investments that are either unlisted or listed in an inactive market is determined using valuation techniques appropriate to the market and industry of each investment. The primary valuation techniques used are net asset value and earnings-based valuations to which a multiple is applied based on information from comparable companies and discounted cash flows. Techniques used to support these valuations include industry valuation benchmarks and recent transaction prices.

 

The Bank’s share investments are recognised on a trade date basis.

 

At initial recognition, the Bank measures these assets at their fair value. Transaction costs of financial assets carried at fair value through profit or loss are expensed in the income statement. Such assets are carried at fair value on the balance sheet with changes in fair value included in the income statement in the period in which they occur.

 

The Bank also accounts for a small number of strategic equity investments at fair value through other comprehensive income with no recycling of such fair value gains or losses through the income statement.

 

Derecognition of financial assets

The Bank derecognises a financial asset, or a portion of a financial asset, where the contractual rights to that asset have expired or where the rights to further cash flows from the asset have been transferred to a third party and, with them, either:

(i) substantially all the risks and rewards of the asset; or

(ii) significant risks and rewards, along with the unconditional ability to sell or pledge the asset.

Where significant risks and rewards have been transferred, but the transferee does not have the unconditional ability to sell or pledge the asset, the Bank continues to account for the asset to the extent of its continuing involvement. Where neither derecognition nor continuing involvement accounting is appropriate, the Bank continues to recognise the asset in its entirety and recognises any consideration received as a financial liability.

 

Financial liabilities

The Bank has not adopted early that part of IFRS 9 which relates to financial liabilities and therefore still applies IAS 39: Financial Instruments.

 

With the exception of derivative instruments that must be measured at fair value, the Bank does not designate any financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss. All are measured at amortised cost, unless they qualify for hedge accounting in which case the amortised cost is adjusted for the fair value attributable to the risks being hedged. Liabilities deriving from issued securities are recognised on a trade date basis with other liabilities on a settlement date basis.

 

Interest expense is accrued using the effective interest rate method and is recognised within the ‘interest expense and similar charges’ line of the income statement, except for the allocated cost funding Treasury’s trading assets which is recognised within ‘net gains from Treasury activities at fair value through profit or loss’.

 

Contingent liabilities

Contingent liabilities are possible obligations arising from past events, whose existence will be confirmed only by uncertain future events, or present obligations arising from past events that are not recognised because either an outflow of economic benefits is not probable or the amount of the obligation cannot be reliably measured. Contingent liabilities are not recognised but information about them is disclosed unless the possibility of any outflow of economic benefits in settlement is remote. 

 

Derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting

The Bank primarily makes use of derivatives for four purposes:

(i)the majority of the Bank’s issued securities, excluding commercial paper, are individually paired with a swap to convert the issuance proceeds into the currency and interest rate structure sought by the Bank;

 

(ii)to manage the net interest rate risks and foreign exchange risks arising from all of its financial assets and liabilities;

(iii)to provide potential exit strategies for its unlisted equity investments through negotiated put options;

(iv)through currency swaps, to manage funding requirements for the Bank’s loan portfolio.

 

All derivatives are measured at fair value through the income statement unless they form part of a qualifying cash flow hedge, in which case the fair value is taken to reserves and released into the income statement at the same time as the risks on the hedged instrument are recognised therein. Any hedge ineffectiveness will result in the relevant proportion of the fair value remaining in the income statement. Fair values are derived primarily from discounted cash flow models, option pricing models and from third party quotes. Derivatives are carried as assets when their fair values are positive and as liabilities when their fair values are negative. In 2016 the Bank introduced additional valuation measures for its over-the-counter (OTC)22 derivatives portfolio to reflect credit and funding cost adjustments which the Bank reasonably anticipates will be incorporated into the exit price for such instruments. These adjustments, calculated at a portfolio level for each individual counterparty, allow for the following factors:

 

  • the credit valuation adjustment (“CVA”) reflects the impact on the price of a derivative trade of changes in the credit risk associated with the counterparty;
  • the debit valuation adjustment (“DVA”) reflects the impact on the price of a derivative trade of changes in the credit risk associated with EBRD, and
  • the funding valuation adjustment (“FVA”) reflects the costs and benefits arising when uncollateralised derivative exposures are hedged with collateralised trades.

 

The valuation adjustment deriving from these factors is detailed within the ‘Risk Management’ section of the report in the table detailing the fair value of the Bank’s derivative positions.

 

Hedge accounting

The Bank has not adopted early that part of IFRS 9 which relates to hedge accounting and therefore still applies IAS 39: Financial Instruments.

 

Hedge accounting is designed to bring accounting consistency to financial instruments that would not otherwise be permitted. A valid hedge relationship exists when a specific relationship can be identified between two or more financial instruments in which the change in value of one instrument (the hedging instrument) is highly negatively correlated to the change in value of the other (the hedged item). To qualify for hedge accounting this correlation must be within a range of 80 to 125 per cent, with any ineffectiveness within these boundaries recognised within “Fair value movement on non-qualifying and ineffective hedges” in the income statement. The Bank applies hedge accounting treatment to individually identified hedge relationships. Also included within this caption of the income statement are the gains and losses attributable to derivatives that the Bank uses for hedging interest-rate risk on a macro basis, but for which the Bank does not apply hedge accounting.

 

The Bank documents the relationship between hedging instruments and hedged items upon initial recognition of the transaction. The Bank also documents its assessment, on an ongoing basis, of whether the derivatives that are used in hedging transactions are highly effective in offsetting changes in fair values or cash flows of hedged items.

Fair value hedges

The Bank’s hedging activities are primarily designed to mitigate interest rate risk by using swaps to convert the interest rate risk profile, on both assets and liabilities, into floating rate risk. Such hedges are known as “fair value” hedges. Changes in the fair value of the derivatives that are designated and qualify as fair value hedges, and that prove to be highly effective in relation to hedged risk, are included in the income statement, along with the corresponding change in fair value of the hedged asset or liability that is attributable to that specific hedged risk.

In the case of a fair value hedge of a financial liability, where the hedge ceases to qualify for hedge accounting and the financial liability contains an embedded derivative which is of a different economic character to the host instrument, that embedded derivative is bifurcated and measured at fair value through the income statement. This is not required of hedged financial assets as IFRS 9 does not require bifurcation of embedded derivatives in the case of financial assets.

 

Cash flow hedges

The Bank has engaged in cash flow hedges, principally to minimise the exchange rate risk associated with the fact that its administrative expenses are incurred in the pound sterling. The amount and timing of such hedges fluctuates in line with the Bank’s view on opportune moments to execute the hedges. In December 2016 the Bank purchased in the forward foreign exchange market approximately fifty per cent of the pound sterling figure for the 2017 budget. The movement in the fair value of these hedges will be recognised directly in reserves until such time as the relevant expenditure is incurred, when the hedge gains or losses will be reflected as part of the euro-equivalent expenses for the year.

 

For further information on risk and related management policies see the Risk Management section of the report.

 

Financial guarantees

Issued financial guarantees are initially recognised at their fair value, and subsequently measured at the higher of the unamortised balance of the related fees received and deferred, and the expenditure required to settle the commitment at the balance sheet date. The latter is recognised when it is both probable that the guarantee will need to be settled and that the settlement amount can be reliably estimated. Financial guarantees are recognised within other financial assets and other financial liabilities.

 

Impairment of financial assets

Financial assets at amortised cost

The Bank has not adopted early that part of IFRS 9 which relates to impairment and therefore still applies IAS 39: Financial Instruments.

 

Where there is objective evidence that an identified loan asset is impaired, specific provisions for impairment are recognised in the income statement. Impairment is quantified as the difference between the carrying amount of the asset and the net present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the asset’s original effective interest rate where applicable. The carrying amount of the asset is reduced through the use of an allowance account and the amount of the loss is recognised in the income statement. The carrying amount of the asset is reduced directly only upon write-off. Resulting adjustments include the unwinding of the discount in the income statement over the life of the asset, and any adjustments required in respect of a reassessment of the initial impairment.

The criteria that the Bank uses to determine that there is objective evidence of an impairment loss include:

 

  • delinquency in contractual payments of principal or interest
  • cash flow difficulties experienced by the borrower
  • breach of loan covenants or conditions
  • initiation of bankruptcy proceedings
  • deterioration in the borrower’s competitive position
  • deterioration in the value of collateral.

 

Provisions for impairment of classes of similar assets that are not individually identified as impaired are calculated on a portfolio basis (the general provision). The methodology used for assessing such impairment is based on a risk-rated approach, with the methodology applied for all sovereign risk assets taking into account the Bank’s preferred creditor status afforded by its members. The Bank’s methodology calculates impairment on an incurred loss basis.23 Impairment is deducted from the asset categories on the balance sheet.

 

The Bank additionally makes transfers within its reserves to maintain a separate loan loss reserve to supplement the cumulative amount provisioned through the Bank’s income statement on an incurred loss basis.

 

Impairment, less any amounts reversed during the year, is charged to the income statement. When a loan is deemed uncollectible the principal is written off against the related impairment provision. Such loans are written off only after all necessary procedures have been completed and the amount of the loss has been determined. Recoveries are credited to the income statement if previously written off.

 

Loans and advances are generally renegotiated in response to an adverse change in the circumstances of the borrower. Depending upon the degree to which the original loan is amended, it may continue to be recognised or will be derecognised and replaced with a new loan. To the extent the original loan is retained, it will continue to be shown as overdue if appropriate and individually impaired where the renegotiated payments of interest and principal will not recover the original carrying amount of the asset.

 

Statement of cash flows

The statement of cash flows is prepared using the indirect method. Cash and cash equivalents comprise balances with less than three months maturity from the date of the transaction, which are available for use at short notice and that are subject to insignificant risk of changes in value.

 

Foreign currencies

The Bank’s reporting currency for the presentation of its financial statements is the euro.

 

Foreign currency transactions are initially translated into euro using the exchange rates prevailing at the dates of the transactions. Foreign exchange gains and losses resulting from the settlement of such transactions, and from the translation at the year-end exchange rate of monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies, are included in the income statement, except when deferred in reserves as qualifying cash flow hedges. .

 

Capital subscriptions

The Bank’s share capital is denominated in euro and is divided into paid-in and callable shares. Paid-in shares are recognised on the balance sheet as members’ equity. Callable shares will not be recorded on the balance sheet unless the Bank exercises its right to call the shares.

 

Intangible assets

Costs associated with maintaining computer software programmes are recognised as an expense as incurred. Costs that are directly associated with identifiable and unique software products controlled by the Bank, and that will generate economic benefits exceeding costs beyond one year, are recognised as intangible assets. Direct costs include the staff costs of the software development team and an appropriate portion of relevant overheads.

 

Expenditure that enhances or extends the performance of computer software programmes beyond their original specifications is recognised as a capital improvement and is added to the original cost of the software. Computer software development costs recognised as intangible assets are amortised using the straight-line method over an estimated life of three years.

 

Property, technology and office equipment

Property, technology and office equipment is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is calculated on the straight-line method to write off the cost of each asset to its residual value over the estimated life as follows:

 

Freehold property

30 years

Improvements on leases of less than 50 years unexpired

Unexpired periods

Technology and office equipment

Between one and three years

Update in accounting estimate

During the year a review of the useful lives of the technology and office equipment assets was conducted. This review resulted in an increase in the estimated useful lives of a number of assets. The impact of this change in estimated useful lives has been a €7.2 million reduction to the 2016 depreciation expense. The effect on future periods is not disclosed due to the impracticality of estimating future asset balances.

 

Accounting for leases

Leases of assets under which all the risks and benefits of ownership are effectively retained by the lessor are classified as operating leases. The Bank has entered into such leases for most of its office accommodation, both in its UK headquarters and its resident offices in other countries in which it has a presence. Payments made under operating leases are charged to the income statement on a straight-line basis over the period of the lease. When an operating lease is terminated before the lease period has expired, any payment required to be made to the lessor by way of penalty is recognised as an expense in the period in which the termination takes place.

 

Interest, fees, commissions and dividends

Interest income and expense is recognised on an accruals basis using the effective interest rate method. This method requires that, in addition to the contractual interest rate attaching to a financial instrument, those fees and direct costs associated with originating and maintaining the instrument are also recognised as interest income or expense over the life of the instrument. The amortisation of such fees and costs is recognised in the same line of interest income or expense as the instruments to which they relate. Further details are provided below.

 

  • Banking loans: this represents interest income on banking loans. Interest is recognised on impaired loans through unwinding the discount used in deriving the present value of expected future cash flows.
  • Fixed-income debt securities and other: this represents interest income on Treasury investments with the exception of those measured at fair value where the interest is recognised in ‘net gains from Treasury activities at fair value through profit or loss’. Where hedge accounting is applied to an underlying investment – typically using a swap to convert fixed-rate interest into floating – the net interest of the swap is included within this interest income line.
  • Interest expense and similar charges: this represents interest expense on all borrowed funds. The majority of the Bank’s borrowings are undertaken through the issuance of bonds that are almost always paired with a one-to-one swap to convert the proceeds into the currency and floating rate profile sought by the Bank. Hedge accounting is applied to such relationships and the net interest of the associated swap is included within interest expense.
  • Net interest income/(expense) on derivatives: in addition to swaps where the interest is associated with specific investments or borrowings, the Bank also employs a range of derivatives to manage the risk deriving from interest rate mismatches between the asset and liability side of the balance sheet. The net interest associated with these derivatives is presented separately as it is not identifiable to individual assets or liabilities presented elsewhere within ‘net interest income’. This lack of specific “matching” also means that hedge accounting is not applied in respect of the risks hedged by these derivatives.

 

Fees received in respect of services provided over a period of time are recognised as income as the services are provided. Other fees and commissions are classed as income when received. Issuance fees and redemption premiums or discounts are amortised over the period to maturity of the related borrowings on an effective yield basis.

 

Dividends relating to share investments are recognised in accordance with IAS 18 when the Bank’s right to receive payments has been established, and when it is probable that the economic benefits will flow to the Bank and the amount can be reliably measured.

 

Staff retirement schemes

The Bank has a defined contribution scheme and a defined benefit scheme to provide retirement benefits to its staff. The Bank keeps all contributions to the schemes, and all other assets and income held for the purposes of the schemes, separately from all of its other assets.

 

Under the defined contribution scheme, the Bank and staff contribute to provide a lump sum benefit, such contributions being charged to the income statement and transferred to the scheme’s independent custodians.

 

The defined benefit scheme is funded entirely by the Bank and benefits are based on years of service and a percentage of final gross base salary as defined in the scheme. Independent actuaries calculate the defined benefit obligation at least every three years by using the projected unit credit method. The present value of the defined benefit obligation is determined by discounting the estimated future cash outflows (relating to service accrued to the balance sheet date) using the yields available on high-quality corporate bonds. For intermediate years, the defined benefit obligation is estimated using approximate actuarial roll-forward techniques that allow for additional benefit accrual, actual cash flows and changes in the underlying actuarial assumptions.

 

The Bank’s contributions to the defined benefit scheme are determined by the Retirement Plan Committee, with advice from the Bank’s actuaries, and the contributions are transferred to the scheme’s independent custodians.

 

The defined benefit cost charged to the income statement represents the service cost and the net interest income/(cost) on the plan’s net asset or liability. Remeasurements due to actuarial assumptions, including the difference between expected and actual net interest, are recognised in ‘other comprehensive income’. The net defined benefit or liability recognised on the balance sheet is equal to the actual surplus or deficit of the defined benefit plan..

 

Taxation

In accordance with Article 53 of the Agreement, within the scope of its official activities, the Bank, its assets, property and income are exempt from all direct taxes. Taxes and duties levied on goods or services are likewise exempted or reimbursable except for those parts of taxes or duties that represent charges for public utility services.

C. Critical accounting estimates and judgements

Preparing financial statements in conformity with IFRS requires the Bank to make estimates and judgements that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts included in the income statement during the reporting period. Estimates and judgements are continually evaluated and are based on historical experience and other factors, including expectations of future events that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances.

 

These estimates are highly dependent on a number of variables that reflect the economic environment and financial markets of the countries in which the Bank invests, but which are not directly correlated to market risks such as interest rate and foreign exchange risk. The Bank’s critical accounting estimates and judgements are outlined below.

 

Fair value of derivative financial instruments

The fair values of the Bank’s derivative financial instruments are determined by using discounted cash flow models. These cash flow models are based on underlying market prices for currencies, interest rates and option volatilities. Where market data is not available for all elements of a derivative’s valuation, extrapolation and interpolation of existing data has been used. Where unobservable inputs have been used, a sensitivity analysis has been included under “fair value hierarchy” within the Risk Management section of the report.

 

Fair value of Banking loans at fair value through profit or loss

The fair values of the Bank’s loans at fair value through profit or loss are determined by using a combination of discounted cash flow models and options pricing models. These models incorporate market data pertaining to interest rates, a borrower’s credit spreads, underlying equity prices and dividend cash flows. Where relevant market data is not available extrapolation and interpolation of existing data has been used. Where unobservable inputs have been used, a sensitivity analysis has been included under “fair value hierarchy” within the Risk Management section of the report.

 

Fair value of share investments

The Bank’s method for determining the fair value of share investments is described under “Financial assets” in the Accounting Policies section of the report and an analysis of the share investment portfolio is provided in note 17. In relation to the Bank’s share investments where the valuations are not based on observable market inputs, additional sensitivity information has been included under “fair value hierarchy” in the Risk Management section of the report.

 

Provisions for the impairment of loan investments

The Bank’s method for determining the level of impairment of loan investments is described within the Accounting Policies section of the report and further explained under credit risk within the Risk Management section of the report.

 

Portfolio provisions for the unidentified impairment of non-sovereign loan investments at 31 December 2016 were €250 million (2015: €252 million).

 

During 2016 the Bank carried out its regular annual review of the loss parameters underpinning estimates of unidentified impairment, with the aim of better reflecting the Bank’s loss experience. This review resulted in a modest reduction in the level of portfolio provisions. The key revision to these estimates was:

 

Probability of default24

  • In determining the probabilities of default for each risk rating, the historical datasets used to calibrate the rates were updated to include 2015. This was carried out for both the internal and external data used to determine the final probability of default rates.

 

If this change to loss parameter estimates had been applied at 31 December 2015, the portfolio provisions for the unidentified impairment of non-sovereign loan investments would have reduced by €16 million from €252 million to €236 million. The total reduction, as a result of this change, in portfolio provisions (including sovereign loan investments) at 31 December 2015 would have been €18 million. No estimate of the effect these changes may have on future periods has been undertaken on the grounds of impracticability.

 

In addition, the sensitivity of portfolio provisions at 31 December 2016 to the key variables used in determining the level of impairment is provided below.

 

Risk ratings

  • If all non-sovereign loan investments were upgraded by three ‘notches’ or detailed ratings on the Bank’s probability of default rating scale, this would result in a reduction of €206 million (2015: €208 million) in portfolio provisions on non-sovereign loans.
  • Conversely, if all non-sovereign loan investments were downgraded by three ‘notches’ or detailed ratings on the Bank’s probability of default rating scale this would result in a charge to the income statement of €403 million (2015: €447 million) in relation to portfolio provisions for non-sovereign loans.

 

Probability of default rates

  • In determining the probabilities of default for each risk rating, the relative weighting applied to external data and the Bank’s own experience is reviewed annually. The 2016 general provisioning methodology applies a 67 per cent weighting to the Bank’s own experience and a 33 per cent weighting to external data. A +/- 10 percentage points change in the weighting assigned to the Bank’s own experience would lead to a change in portfolio provisions of -/+ €25 million (2015: €24 million).

 

Loss emergence period

  • Provisions for unidentified impairment are made to reflect losses arising from events existing but not identified at the balance sheet date and which will emerge within a 12-month period from that date. If the loss emergence period was reduced to three months it is broadly estimated that this would result in a decrease in portfolio provisions charged to the income statement of approximately €186 million (2015: €186 million).

Loss given default rates

  • A change in loss given default rates of 10 percentage points would lead to a change in portfolio provisions of +/- €56 million (2015: €55 million).

 

Sovereign ratings

  • Portfolio provisions for the unidentified impairment of sovereign loan investments at 31 December 2016 amounted to €29 million (2015: €32 million). If all sovereign loans were downgraded by three ‘notches’ or detailed ratings on the Bank’s probability of default rating scale this would result in a total charge to income statement of €58 million (2015: €63 million). Similarly, if the portfolio was upgraded by three ‘notches’ this would result in a release to the income statement of €24 million (2015: €27 million).

 

With respect to specific provisions, an increase or decrease of 10 percentage points on the current provision cover level would have an impact of +/- €121 million (2015: €125 million).

 

FOOTNOTES

21 See note 18 to the financial statements on page 62.

22 OTC derivatives are those not settled through a central clearing party.

23 See ‘Loss emergence period’ on page 26 under ‘Critical accounting estimates and judgements’.

24 See table showing probability of default ratings used by the Bank in the credit risk section under ‘Risk Management’.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

One Exchange Square London EC2A 2JN United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7338 6000 Fax: +44 20 7338 6100

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