The Bank’s annual financial report and specific accounting framework

Question discussed at the 2009 general meeting

The Royal Decree of 14 November 2007 relating to the obligations of issuers of financial instruments admitted to trading on a regulated market imposes a number of obligations on listed companies with regard to the release of periodic information. This covers in particular the publication of an annual financial report in accordance with the provisions of Article 12 of this Royal Decree.

These provisions do not apply to the Bank. Article 18, §1, 1 of the Royal Decree – which is a literal transposition of Article 8, 1, a) of the European Directive on transparency (2004/109/EC) – expressly states that the obligations concerning periodic information do not apply "to the European Central Bank and to Member States’ national central banks whether or not they issue shares or other securities".

Indeed, the Bank is first and foremost a central bank and only then a listed company. In its capacity as a central bank and member of the Eurosystem, it must adhere to an amended accounting framework for which the majority of the rules, including valuation rules, are strictly set by the Eurosystem. This is justified by tasks which are of general interest and, in particular, the implementation of monetary policy with which the central banks comprising the Eurosystem are entrusted.

This specific accounting framework is set out on the initial pages of the notes to the annual accounts (p. 67-75 of the Corporate Report 2008).