1. General accounting conventions
The Bank of Finland observes the economic-based accounting principles and techniques adopted by the Governing Council of the ECB, and the Bank’s annual accounts are drawn up in accordance with these harmonised principles. In accordance with section 11 of the Act on the Bank of Finland, the Parliamentary Supervisory Council confirms, on the proposal of the Board, the principles applied in drawing up the annual accounts.
The Bank of Finland’s profit and loss account also comprises income and expenses of the Bank’s pension fund and of the Financial Supervisory Authority. The ECB guideline on accounting and financial reporting does not regulate accounting for the pension fund.
2. Revaluation of items denominated in foreign currency and gold
Items denominated in foreign currency and gold are converted into euro at the exchange rate prevailing on the balance sheet date. Foreign currency-denominated items have been revaluated on a currency-by-currency basis. Revaluation differences related to foreign exchange rate movements and securities price movements are treated separately. Unrealised gains are recorded in revaluation accounts. Unrealised losses are taken to the profit and loss account if they exceed previous corresponding unrealised revaluation gains registered in the revaluation accounts. Unrealised losses taken to the profit and loss account are not reversed against any future unrealised gains in subsequent years. No distinction is made between the price and currency revaluation differences for gold. Instead, a single gold valuation is made. Realised gains and losses related to foreign exchange rate movements during the financial year are calculated on the basis of the daily net average cost method. Foreign exchange rates used in the financial statements are presented in the table below.
|Currency||31 Dec 2020||31 Dec 2019|
|Special Drawing Rights (SDR)||0.8485||0.8104|
3. Valuation and amortisation of securities
Income and expenses are recognised in the period in which they are earned or incurred. Realised income and expenses are entered in the profit and loss account. The difference between the acquisition price and nominal value of debt securities is entered as income or expense over the maturity of the security. Gains and losses related to movements in the prices of debt securities are calculated on the basis of the average cost method.
Unrealised gains are recorded in revaluation accounts. Unrealised losses are taken to the profit and loss account if they exceed previous corresponding unrealised revaluation gains registered in the revaluation accounts. Unrealised losses taken to the profit and loss account are not reversed against any future unrealised gains in subsequent years. Both euro-denominated and foreign currency-denominated securities are valued on a security-by-security basis. If unrealised losses are entered in the profit and loss account in respect of a security or a currency, the average price of the security or the net average rate of the currency is adjusted correspondingly before the beginning of the next financial year.
Reverse repurchase agreements, or reverse repos, are recorded as collateralised outward loans on the assets side of the balance sheet. Repurchase agreements, or repos, are recorded as collateralised inward deposits on the liabilities side of the balance sheet. Securities sold under repurchase agreements remain on the Bank’s balance sheet.
Securities held for monetary policy purposes
Debt securities currently held for monetary policy purposes are accounted for at amortised cost (subject to impairment).
Securities other than those held for monetary policy purposes
Marketable securities and similar assets are valued either at the mid-market prices or on the basis of the relevant yield curve prevailing on the balance sheet date, on a security-by-security basis. For 2020, mid-market prices on 31 December 2020 were used.
Marketable investment funds are valued at market prices on a net – fund – basis and not on the basis of the underlying assets provided that they meet certain predetermined criteria, broadly speaking in relation to the level of influence of the Bank of Finland on the day-to-day operations of the fund, the legal status of the fund and the way the investment is evaluated. There is no netting between the revaluation results of different marketable investment funds.
Real estate funds are valued on the basis of the last available price. The prices are reviewed in January when the funds report the prices on the balance sheet date.
4. Accounting conventions relating to intra-ESCB balances
Intra-Eurosystem balances result primarily from cross-border payments in the European Union (EU) that are settled in central bank money in euro. These transactions are for the most part initiated by private entities. They are settled in TARGET2Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer system.and give rise to bilateral balances in the TARGET2 accounts of EU central banks. These bilateral balances are netted and then assigned to the ECB on a daily basis, leaving each national central bank (NCB) with a single net bilateral position vis-à-vis the ECB only.
Intra-Eurosystem balances of the Bank of Finland vis-à-vis the ECB arising from TARGET2, as well as other intra-Eurosystem balances denominated in euro (e.g. interim ECB profit distributions to NCBs, monetary income results), are presented on the balance sheet of the Bank of Finland as a single net asset or liability position and disclosed under ‘Other claims within the Eurosystem (net)’ or ‘Other liabilities within the Eurosystem (net)’. Intra-ESCB balances versus non-euro area NCBs not arising from TARGET2 are disclosed either under ‘Claims on non-euro area residents denominated in euro’ or ‘Liabilities to non-euro area residents denominated in euro’.
Intra-Eurosystem claims arising from the Bank of Finland’s participating interest in the ECB are reported under ‘Participating interest in ECB’. This balance sheet item includes (i) the NCBs’ paid-up share in the ECB’s subscribed capital, (ii) any net amount paid by the NCBs due to the increase in their shares in the ECB’s equity valueEquity value means the total of the ECB’s reserves, revaluation accounts and provisions equivalent to reserves, minus any loss carried forward from previous periods. In the event of capital key adjustments taking place during the financial year, the equity value also includes the ECB’s accumulated net profit or net loss until the date of the adjustment. resulting from all previous ECB capital key adjustments, and (iii) contributions in accordance with Article 48.2 of the Statute of the ESCB with respect to central banks of Member States whose derogations have been abrogated.
Intra-Eurosystem claims arising from the transfer of foreign reserve assets to the ECB by the Bank of Finland at the time of joining the Eurosystem are denominated in euro and reported under ‘Claims equivalent to the transfer of foreign reserves’.
Intra-Eurosystem balances arising from the allocation of euro banknotes within the Eurosystem are included as a single net asset under ‘Net claims related to the allocation of euro banknotes within the Eurosystem’ (see ‘Banknotes in circulation’ in the notes on accounting conventions).
5. Valuation of fixed assets
Fixed assets are valued at initial cost less depreciation. Depreciation is calculated on a straight-line basis over the expected economic lifetime of an asset, beginning in the calendar month following acquisition.
The counteritem of buildings and land capitalised in the 1999 balance sheet at market prices is the revaluation account. Depreciation in respect of buildings has been entered by adjusting the revaluation account downwards so that depreciation has no impact on the Bank of Finland’s profit and loss account.
The economic lifetimes of assets are calculated as follows:
- Computers, related hardware and software, and motor vehicles: 4 years
- Machinery and equipment: 10 years
- buildings: 25 years.
Fixed assets with a value of less than EUR 10,000 are written off in the year of acquisition.
6. Banknotes in circulation
The ECB and the euro area NCBs, which together comprise the Eurosystem, issue euro banknotes.Decision ECB/2010/29 of 13 December 2010 on the issue of euro banknotes (recast), OJ L 35, 9.2.2011, p. 26, as amended. The total value of euro banknotes in circulation is allocated to the Eurosystem central banks on the last working day of each month in accordance with the banknote allocation key.Banknote allocation key means the percentages that result from taking into account the ECB’s share in the total euro banknote issue and applying the subscribed capital key to the NCBs’ share in such total. The ECB has been allocated a share of 8% of the total value of euro banknotes in circulation, whereas the remaining 92% has been allocated to NCBs according to their weightings in the capital key of the ECB. The share of banknotes allocated to each NCB is disclosed in the balance sheet under liability item ‘Banknotes in circulation’. The difference between the value of the euro banknotes allocated to each NCB in accordance with the banknote allocation key and the value of the euro banknotes that it actually puts into circulation also gives rise to remuneratedDecision ECB/2016/36 of 3 November 2016 on the allocation of monetary income of the national central banks of Member States whose currency is the euro (recast), OJ L 347, 20.12.2016, p. 26. intra-Eurosystem balances. These claims or liabilities are disclosed under the sub-item ‘Intra-Eurosystem claims/liabilities: Net claims/liabilities related to the allocation of euro banknotes within the Eurosystem’. In the Bank of Finland’s balance sheet, the item is on the assets side. The interest income and expense on these balances is cleared through the accounts of the ECB and is disclosed under ‘Net interest income’.
7. Interim profit distribution by the ECB
The Governing Council of the ECB has decided that the seigniorage income of the ECB, which arises from the 8% share of euro banknotes allocated to the ECB, as well as the income arising from the securities held under (a) the Securities Markets Programme (SMP), (b) the third covered bond purchase programme (CBPP3), (c) the asset-backed securities purchase programme (ABSPP), (d) the public sector purchase programme (PSPP), and (e) the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) is distributed in January of the following year by means of an interim profit distribution, unless otherwise decided by the Governing Council.Decision ECB/2014/57 of 15 December 2014 on the interim distribution of the income of the European Central Bank (recast), OJ L 53, 25.2.2015, p. 24, as amended. It is distributed in full unless it is higher than the ECB’s net profit for the year and subject to any decisions by the Governing Council to make transfers to the provision for financial risks.
The Governing Council may also decide to reduce the amount of the income on euro banknotes in circulation to be distributed in January by the amount of the costs incurred by the ECB in connection with the issue and handling of euro banknotes. The amount distributed to NCBs is disclosed in the profit and loss account under ʻIncome from equity shares and participating interest’.
8. Pension fund
The assets of the Bank of Finland’s pension fund are included in the Bank’s balance sheet. A separate annual report is prepared on the pension fund.
The pension fund’s real estate is recorded in the balance sheet at value prevailing on transfer date less annual depreciation. If the balance sheet value of real estate has been covered by revaluation, the corresponding depreciation is recorded by reversing the revaluation so that depreciation has no impact on the Bank of Finland’s profit and loss account.
9. Recording of provisions
Provisions can be made in the annual accounts, if they are necessary for safeguarding the real value of the Bank’s funds or for smoothing out variations in profit and loss arising from changes in exchange rates or the market value of securities. Provisions can also be made, as necessary, to cover the Bank’s pension liability.
10. Off-balance sheet commitments
Profits and losses arising from off-balance sheet instruments are recognised and treated in a similar manner to on-balance sheet instruments. Foreign exchange forward transactions are included in the net foreign currency positions when calculating average costs.
11. Changes in accounting conventions
There were no changes in accounting conventions in the financial year 2020.