FRANKFURT, April 14 A senior International
Monetary Fund official has backed the European Central Bank's
efforts to encourage trading in asset-backed securities (ABS) in
Europe by easing rules for low-risk debt packages.
The ECB and the Bank of England presented a joint paper last
week on their initiative to kick-start the shrinking market for
The ECB wants to revive the market as a means of unlocking
lending to smaller and mid-sized firms, which form the backbone
of the euro zone economy.
ABS got a bad name when some particularly complex securities
played a central role in triggering the financial crisis of the
Jose Vinals, director of the IMF's monetary and capital
markets department, said it could now be useful to ease
restrictions on less complex securitisation products.
"It could be very helpful to adjust the regulatory treatment
so that for safe asset-backed securities, such as those in
Europe, risk weights apply that better reflect the low risk
compared to the complex structures in the United States," he
told German newspaper Boersen Zeitung in an interview released
However, he said the simplicity and transparency of the
products should be improved further and added that Europe should
not push ahead alone with new regulations.
"I would prefer a global solution," he said.
Tougher rules were applied to ABS after the crisis, making
the assets less attractive for banks to create and hold.
But the ECB argues that European ABS should be assigned more
lenient capital treatment because they are different from their
more complex U.S. cousins and have a lower default rate.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)