|Continued innovation in financial markets since the 1993 SNA was written means a review
of the classification used for financial instruments is appropriate. Suggestions for change
arise for most of the present categories.
(a) Monetary gold
Should monetary gold be treated as a financial asset rather than as a valuable?
The 1993 SNA classifies Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) as assets without
corresponding liabilities arguing that IMF members do not have an unconditional liability to
repay their SDR allocations. However, SDR allocations have attributes of liabilities because
interest is payable on them and a country terminating IMF membership would be required to
repay its obligations including any SDR allocations. Also, the IMF Monetary and Financial
Statistics Manual recommends that the value of allocated SDRs be shown both on the assets
and liabilities side of the balance sheets of central banks, which is in accordance with the
IMF’s SDR Department’s guidance to member countries. Should SDR allocations be
considered liabilities in the SNA?
(c) Distinction between loans and deposits
The criteria to make the distinction between deposits and loans are not clear. Recent
financial innovations raise questions about the continuing analytical usefulness of the
distinction. A particular problem is when a position between two parties, especially financial
institutions, is seen as a deposit by one party and a loan by the other. Should the SNA
maintain a distinction between loans and deposits?
(d) Traded loans
When and under what circumstances do loans that are traded become securities? This is
important because virtually all loans are tradable and trading has increased. It also affects
market valuation since securities are valued at market price in the SNA and loans at nominal
(e) Securities other than shares
With financial derivatives treated as a separate instrument in the 1993 SNA, it would be
appropriate to introduce the term “debt securities” to replace “securities other than shares”.
Should there be a distinction between different types of financial derivatives, for example
between forwards and options as well as the inclusion of employee stock options (see issue
3) in this category?