In 2018 the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA) supervised 976 entities, with total assets of € 1,133.6 billion, with 380 staff members. In addition it monitored 64 million securities transactions of exchange-listed companies as well as around two billion derivative contracts for their observance of the orderly nature and fairness of their being conducted and in 1,654 cases performed analysis in relation to initial grounds for suspicion. It undertook on-site measures at some 250 entities under the risk-based approach, while thematically reviewing the observance of legal standards, imposing 136 sanctions and submitted information in relation to specific circumstances to the Public Prosecutor’s Office on 120 occasions. This is the outcome of the 2018 Annual Report, which was presented today be the FMA’s Executive Directors, Helmut Ettl and Klaus Kumpfmüller.
“Regulatory and supervisory measures are proving effective, Austria’s financial market is today set up in a stable and resilient way,” remarked Ettl and Kumpfmüller in summarising the 2018 Annual Report. A considerable contribution to achieving can be attributed to the six priorities for supervision that are derived from the medium-term risk assessment: the strengthening of entities’ capital base, active management of opportunities and threats arising from digitalisation, extension of collective consumer protection, further development of governance and internal control systems in the supervised entities, the extension of preventive crisis management instruments, as well as greater depth in the prevention of money laundering.
More tasks, headcount remains the same
“As the integrated supervisory authority for the whole of Austria’s financial market, we set particular store in extracting synergies in terms of know-how and costs as well as constantly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of supervision. The strengthening of the principle of proportionality in regulation, the risk-based approach to supervision as well as the new legal measures for streamlining and speeding up procedures have helped us, despite taking on additional duties, to tackle the challenges faced with a headcount that has now remained unchanged for the fourth year in a row,” remarked Ettl and Kumpfmüller. They also reminded about the fact that when the FMA was established in 2002, 17 laws were conferred upon the FMA, whereas now there are 37. In addition, the scope of the laws has been extended massively and the density of regulation has been significantly increased.
The FMA’s total budget in 2018 stood at approx. € 69.3 million, of which € 10.8 million were collected as transitory items for the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB) for the partial reimbursement of the services it provided. € 4 million of these costs are covered by a lump-sum from the Federal Government, with € 5.2 million being covered by fees and other income, with the remaining amount being borne on a usage-related basis by the supervised entities. Costs can be broken down by supervisory area as follows: 56.2% (€ 33.8 million) for banks, 24.3% (€ 14.6 million) for securities supervision, 17.5% (€ 10.5 million) for insurance undertakings and 2.0% (€ 1.2 million) for Pensionskassen.
The FMA as an Expertise-based Organisation
“A supervisory authority is only as good as the staff members that carry it,” remarked Ettl and Kumpfmüller: “As an expertise-based organisation we are very proud of how well qualified and motivated out colleagues are.” 80% of the employees hold a degree, 40% additionally hold an additional qualification such as the professional examinations as lawyers, auditors and tax advisors, or a second or postgraduate degree. FMA staff members also speak a total of over 40 foreign languages. “The FMA is an attractive employer, as the rankings regarding employee satisfaction all show. Supervision must however be dynamic, for which reason we place particular value on training, and invest on average € 2,500 per year per employee.”
The 2018 Annual Report can be downloaded here.
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