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Issue 16. Calculation of FISIM

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Description of the issue
The treatment of financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM) is described in paragraphs 6.163 to 6.169. The SNA recommends that FISIM should be calculated with respect to a reference rate that contains no service element and reflects the risk and maturity structure of deposits and loans. Different reference rates may be needed for domestic and foreign financial institutions. The assumption behind the FISIM approach is that it is the service element, and not the interest flows, that reflect varying degrees of risk, with riskier clients paying a higher service charge. This assumption has been queried and is being investigated.
Discussion on the issue
Measuring the economy's output and use of Financial Intermediation Services Indirectly Measured (FISIM) has been the subject of refinements in every revision of the SNA since 1968. The 2008 SNA observes that the production of financial services is the result of financial intermediation, financial risk management, liquidity transformation or auxiliary financial activities. However, there is a broad international consensus that aspects of the 2008 SNA recommendations on FISIM need to be clarified or further investigated. These include:
  • How the composition of the services that FISIM covers (particularly risk management and liquidity transformation) affects the selection of the reference rate and the price and volume breakdown of FISIM,

  • The financial instrument and unit scope of FISIM, and

  • The connection between the recommendations on implementation of FISIM and the definition of income.
The first item represents a clarification issue and the second and third items research issues. The ISWGNA, according to its terms of reference, established a Task Force on FISIM to address the clarification issue (see Terms of Reference of the Task Force). The research issues will be addressed at a later stage.

The review of the practical implementation issues in calculating FISIM is described under "FISIM recording" of the Issues Under Discussion.

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