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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Financial system >> Financial enterprises

Financial enterprises are institutions which engage in acquiring financial assets and incurring liabilities, for example, by taking deposits, borrowing and lending, providing superannuation, supplying all types of insurance cover, leasing, and investing in financial assets.

For national accounting purposes, financial enterprises are grouped into six sectors: Depository corporations; Life insurance corporations; Pension funds; Other insurance corporations; Central borrowing authorities; and Financial intermediaries n.e.c.

Depository corporations - are those included in the Reserve Bank of Australia's broad money measure (see Money supply measures). The Reserve Bank itself is a depository corporation; authorised depository institutions are those supervised by APRA and include banks, building societies and credit unions; non-supervised depository corporations registered under the Financial Statistics (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (Cwlth) include merchant banks, pastoral finance companies, finance companies and general financiers; finally cash management trusts are also included in depository corporations.

Life insurance corporations - cover the statutory and shareholders' funds of life insurance companies and similar businesses undertaken by friendly societies and long-service-leave boards.

Pension funds - cover separately constituted superannuation funds.

Other insurance corporations - cover health, export and general insurance companies.

Central borrowing authorities - are corporations set up by state and territory governments to provide liability and asset management services for those governments.

Financial intermediaries n.e.c. - cover common funds, mortgage, fixed interest and equity unit trusts, issuers of asset-backed securities, economic development corporations and cooperative housing societies.

Table 26.2 shows the relative size of these groups of financial enterprises in terms of their financial assets. This table has been compiled on a consolidated basis, that is, financial claims between institutions in the same grouping have been eliminated. The total is also consolidated, that is, financial claims between the groupings have been eliminated. For this reason, and because there are a number of less significant adjustments made for national accounting purposes, the statistics in the summary table will differ from those presented later in this chapter and published elsewhere.

26.2 FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, Financial assets - 30 June

Depository corporations

Reserve
Bank
Banks
Other
Life
insurance corporations
Pension
funds
Other
insurance corporations
Central
borrowing authorities
Financial intermediaries
n.e.c.
Consolidated financial
sector total
$b
$b
$b
$b
$b
$b
$b
$b
$b

1998
45.1
585.3
172.0
149.4
300.6
65.4
96.2
162.2
1,138.4
1999
44.6
637.9
179.5
170.8
344.7
68.4
97.0
163.8
1,216.1
2000
51.1
728.6
197.0
185.7
423.9
72.9
91.3
214.3
1,400.3
2001
56.1
805.2
225.1
189.2
456.5
75.1
91.8
223.5
1,499.1
2002
56.8
872.8
243.5
189.5
460.0
76.4
93.6
235.5
1,589.1
2003
56.3
972.7
239.9
186.3
472.6
85.2
104.3
249.7
1,673.2

Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0).

Banks

Between 1940 and 1959, central banking business was the responsibility of the Commonwealth Bank. The Reserve Bank Act 1959 (Cwlth) established the Reserve Bank of Australia as the central bank, and from 1959 to 1998 the Reserve Bank was responsible for the supervision of commercial banks. From 1 July 1998, APRA assumed responsibility for bank supervision while the Reserve Bank retained responsibility for monetary policy and the maintenance of financial stability, including stability of the payments system.

Banks are the largest deposit-taking and financial institutions in Australia. At the end of June 2003 there were 51 banks operating in Australia. All are authorised to operate by the Banking Act 1959 (Cwlth). Four major banks: the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and the Westpac Banking Corporation, account for over half the total assets of all banks. These four banks provide widespread banking services and an extensive retail branch network throughout Australia. The remaining banks provide similar banking services through limited branch networks often located in particular regions. At 30 June 2003, banking services were provided at 2,990 giroPost locations and 21,603 Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) throughout Australia.

The liabilities and financial assets of the Reserve Bank are set out in table 26.3. The liabilities and financial assets of the banks operating in Australia are shown in table 26.4.

26.3 RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, Financial assets and liabilities

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

FINANCIAL ASSETS

Monetary gold and SDRs(a)
1,564
1,661
1,555
Currency and deposits
12,020
12,367
11,092
One name paper
1,013
1,897
500
Bonds
39,709
40,163
42,805
Derivatives
152
-
8
Loans and placements
1,454
637
91
Other accounts receivable
140
122
221
Total(b)
56,052
56,847
56,272

LIABILITIES

Currency and deposits
29,882
40,767
34,321
Unlisted shares and other equity(c)
12,265
11,399
11,678
Other
189
1,783
6,536
Total
42,336
53,939
52,535

(a) Special Drawing Rights.
(b) Excludes non-financial assets (e.g. fixed assets, property, inventories, etc.).
(c) Estimates based on net asset values.
Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0).

26.4 BANKS(a), Financial assets and liabilities

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

FINANCIAL ASSETS

Currency and deposits
32,334
38,482
27,627
Acceptance of bills of exchange
80,720
77,975
77,006
One name paper
11,602
15,821
13,221
Bonds
28,981
25,464
26,747
Derivatives
31,606
41,089
56,656
Loans and placements
546,172
606,029
692,554
Equities
64,432
65,096
75,149
Prepayments of premiums and reserves
1,372
1,543
1,612
Other accounts receivable
7,958
1,319
2,122
Total(b)
805,177
872,818
972,694

LIABILITIES

Currency and deposits
407,418
449,345
499,687
Acceptance of bills of exchange
54,143
37,340
39,301
One name paper
86,854
86,735
110,210
Bonds
101,523
109,015
108,902
Derivatives
28,219
44,144
64,477
Loans and placements
36,125
43,040
47,171
Equity
169,349
181,822
171,989
Other accounts payable
3,539
3,560
3,164
Total
887,170
955,001
1,044,901

(a) Does not include the Reserve Bank of Australia.
(b) Excludes non-financial assets (e.g. fixed assets, property, inventories, etc.).
Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0).

Other depository corporations

In addition to banks, financial institutions such as building societies, credit unions and merchant banks play an important part in the Australian financial system. In the Australian financial accounts, other depository corporations are defined as those, apart from banks, with liabilities included in the Reserve Bank's definition of broad money. Non-bank institutions included in broad money are other authorised depository institutions (building societies and credit cooperatives), cash management trusts, and corporations registered under the Financial Statistics (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (Cwlth) which include money market corporations, pastoral finance companies, finance companies and general financiers.

The Financial Corporations Act 1974 (Cwlth) ceased on 1 July 2002. Corporations previously subject to the Financial Corporations Act 1974 (Cwlth) were then required to report to APRA as Registered Financial Corporations. From 31 March 2003 reporting requirements and categorisation for Registered Financial Corporations changed, reducing the number of other depository corporations to five.

Permanent building societies are usually organised as financial cooperatives. They are authorised to accept money on deposit. They provide finance principally in the form of housing loans to their members.

Credit cooperatives, also known as credit unions, are similar to building societies. As their name implies, they are organised as financial cooperatives which borrow from and provide finance to their members.

Money market corporations are similar to wholesale banks and for this reason they are often referred to as merchant or investment banks. They have substantial short-term borrowings which they use to fund business loans and investments in debt securities.

Other registered financial corporations. This category covers what were pastoral finance companies, finance companies and general financiers categories. These corporations engage in a variety of borrowing and lending activity.

Cash management trusts are investment funds which are open to the public. They invest the pooled monies of their unit holders mainly in money-market securities such as bills of exchange and bank certificates of deposit. As with other public unit trusts their operations are governed by a trust deed and their units are redeemable by the trustee on demand or within a short time. They are not subject to supervision by APRA or registered under the Financial Statistics (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (Cwlth).

Table 26.5 shows the total assets of each category of non-bank deposit-taking institution.

26.5 OTHER DEPOSITORY CORPORATIONS, Total assets

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

Permanent building societies
12,898
12,414
12,927
Credit cooperatives
21,973
23,961
26,714
Money market corporations
81,248
85,837
92,894
Other registered financial corporations
82,340
88,466
(a)118,076
Cash management trusts
31,980
32,383
29,306
Total
230,439
243,061
279,917

(a) Break in series
Source: Managed Funds, Australia (5655.0); APRA; Reserve Bank of Australia.

Life insurance corporations

Life insurance corporations offer termination insurance and investment policies. Termination insurance includes the payment of a sum of money on the death of the insured or on the insured receiving a permanent disability. Investment products include annuities and superannuation plans. The life insurance industry in Australia consists of 40 direct insurers, including six reinsurers. As with the banking industry, the life insurance industry is dominated by a few very large companies holding a majority of the industry's assets.

Life insurance companies are supervised by the APRA under the Life Insurance Act 1995 (Cwlth). APRA also regulates friendly societies which offer services similar to life insurance corporations.

Table 26.6 shows the financial assets and liabilities arising from both policyholder and shareholder investment in life insurance corporations and APRA regulated friendly societies.

26.6 LIFE INSURANCE CORPORATIONS, Financial assets and liabilities

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

FINANCIAL ASSETS

Currency and deposits
12,781
11,866
10,818
Bills of exchange
4,604
3,577
3,113
One name paper
10,257
11,975
14,000
Bonds
41,164
38,629
38,332
Derivatives
28
247
165
Loans and placements
9,065
5,918
6,368
Equities
106,558
109,609
107,281
Other accounts receivable
4,730
7,727
6,270
Total
189,187
189,548
186,347

LIABILITIES

Bills of exchange
-
36
4
One name paper issued in Australia
-
26
-
One name paper issued offshore
702
413
-
Bonds etc. issued in Australia
1,119
1,096
1,010
Bonds etc. issued offshore
1,313
968
789
Derivatives
371
-112
-142
Loans and placements
4,946
3,566
4,608
Listed and unlisted equity
46,208
35,509
24,149
Net equity in reserves
47,926
47,766
41,062
Net equity of pension funds
116,070
120,966
121,924
Other accounts payable
4,805
5,717
5,039
Total
223,460
215,951
198,443

Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0).

Pension funds

Pension funds have been established to provide retirement benefits for their members. Members make contributions during their employment and receive the benefits of this form of saving in retirement. There are two basic types of contribution, employer contributions in the form of the superannuation guarantee and voluntary contributions. In order to receive concessional taxation treatment, a pension fund must elect to be regulated under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cwlth) (SIS Act). These funds are supervised by either APRA or the ATO. Public sector funds, being funds sponsored by a government employer or government controlled business enterprise, are exempt from direct APRA supervision.

The largest number of pension funds comprise self-managed superannuation funds. From 1 July 2000 the ATO assumed responsibility for regulating self-managed superannuation funds.

Self-managed superannuation funds are superannuation funds:

  • that have less than five members;
  • each individual trustee of the fund is a fund member;
  • each member of the fund is a trustee;
  • no member of the fund is an employee of another member of a fund, unless they are related; and
  • if the trustee of the fund is a body corporate each director of the body corporate is a member of the fund.

Corporate funds are funds sponsored by a single non-government employer, or group of employers. Industry funds generally have closed memberships restricted to the employees of a particular industry and are established under an agreement between the parties to an industrial award.

Public sector funds are those funds sponsored by a public sector employer. Retail funds are pooled superannuation products sold through an intermediary to the general public. Funds with less than five members but which do not qualify as self-managed superannuation funds are known as small APRA funds.

In addition to separately constituted funds, the SIS Act also provides for special accounts operated by financial institutions earmarked for superannuation contributions, known as Retirement Savings Accounts, that also qualify for concessional taxation under the supervision of APRA. The liabilities represented by these accounts are liabilities of the institutions concerned and are included with the relevant institution in this chapter (e.g. retirement savings accounts operated by banks are included in bank deposits in table 26.4), but are also footnoted in table 26.8 for completeness.

The number of pension funds is shown in table 26.7. The assets of pension funds are shown in table 26.8 and include unfunded pension claims by pension funds on the Australian Government where these have been formally recognised in accounting systems. The assets in the table do not include any provision for the pension liabilities of governments to public sector employees in respect of unfunded retirement benefits. At 30 June 2003 the ABS estimate for claims by households on governments for these outstanding liabilities was $135.2b.

26.7 PENSION FUNDS(a) - 30 June 2003

Type of fund
no.

Corporate
1,874
Industry
112
Public sector
73
Retail
231
Small APRA funds
8,353
Self-managed superannuation funds
(a)258,450
Total
(a)269,093

(a) Approximate number, final data not yet available.
Source: APRA; Australian Taxation Office.

26.8 PENSION FUNDS(a), Financial assets

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

Currency and deposits
34,257
33,591
38,000
Bills of exchange
6,399
4,998
6,503
One name paper
11,819
11,543
14,141
Bonds
34,988
38,542
40,499
Loans and placements
18,141
15,944
15,758
Equities
223,892
223,292
225,688
Unfunded superannuation claims
6,329
5,826
5,092
Net equity of pension funds in life office reserves
116,070
120,966
121,924
Other accounts receivable
4,641
5,262
4,999
Total
456,536
459,964
472,604

(a) Retirement savings accounts were valued at $749m at 30 June 2003 (APRA).
Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0).

Other insurance corporations

This sector includes all corporations that provide insurance other than life insurance. Included are general, fire, accident, employer liability, household, health and consumer credit insurers.

Private health insurers are regulated by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council under the National Health Act 1959 (Cwlth). At 30 June 2003 there were 44 private health insurers, including health benefit funds of friendly societies. Other private insurers are supervised by APRA under the Insurance Act 1973 (Cwlth). At 30 June 2003 there were 143 insurers authorised to conduct new or renewal general insurance supervised by APRA. There are 10 separately constituted public sector insurance corporations with significant assets. Table 26.9 sets out the financial assets and liabilities of other insurance corporations at 30 June 2003 and the preceding two years.

26.9 OTHER INSURANCE CORPORATIONS, Financial assets and liabilities

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

FINANCIAL ASSETS

Currency and deposits
5,358
6,944
7,469
Bills of exchange
2,055
3,247
2,879
One name paper
2,868
2,524
4,399
Bonds
21,690
21,989
28,709
Loans and placements
7,362
5,715
6,589
Equities
25,172
24,372
20,733
Other accounts receivable
10,548
11,561
14,402
Total
75,053
76,352
85,180

LIABILITIES

One name paper on issue
-
43
37
Bonds on issue
197
128
522
Loans and placements
1,575
1,731
1,817
Listed shares and other equity
10,371
8,905
14,798
Unlisted shares and other equity
14,621
16,484
15,442
Prepayment of premiums
45,744
51,444
53,694
Other accounts receivable
7,612
9,476
6,121
Total
80,120
88,211
92,431

Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0); APRA; Private Health Insurance Administration Council.

Central borrowing authorities

Central borrowing authorities are institutions established by the state governments and the Northern Territory Government primarily to provide finance for public corporations and quasi-corporations, and other units owned or controlled by those governments, and to arrange investment of the units' surplus funds. The central borrowing authorities borrow funds, mainly by issuing securities, and on-lend them to their public sector clientele. However, they also engage in other financial intermediation activity for investment purposes, and may engage in the financial management activities of the parent government.

Table 26.10 shows the financial assets and liabilities held by the central borrowing authorities at 30 June of the most recent three years.

26.10 CENTRAL BORROWING AUTHORITIES, Financial assets and liabilities

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

FINANCIAL ASSETS

Currency and deposits
1,236
2,341
6,736
Holdings of bills of exchange
5,714
5,232
5,388
One name paper
4,819
4,211
5,764
Bonds
4,939
4,939
4,461
Derivatives
3,950
5,689
7,824
Loans and placements
70,258
70,578
74,079
Other accounts receivable
836
617
-
Total(a)
91,752
93,607
104,252

LIABILITIES

Drawings of bills of exchange
39
-
-
One name paper
8,101
9,744
8,102
Bonds
69,768
66,007
68,292
Derivatives
4,033
5,066
7,260
Loans and placements
14,021
13,783
16,800
Equity
30
87
30
Other accounts payable
886
1,476
820
Total
96,878
96,163
101,304

(a) Excludes non-financial assets (e.g. fixed assets, property, inventories, etc.).
Source: Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0).

Financial intermediaries not elsewhere classified (n.e.c.)

This subsector comprises all institutions that meet the definition of a financial enterprise and have not been included elsewhere. It includes:
  • economic development corporations owned by governments
  • cash, mortgage, equity and fixed interest common funds
  • mortgage, fixed interest, balanced and equity public unit trusts
  • wholesale trusts
  • securitisers
  • investment companies
  • cooperative housing societies
  • housing finance schemes established by state governments to assist first home buyers.

In addition to enterprises which engage directly in intermediation, the subsector also includes enterprises which undertake activity closely associated with intermediation such as:
  • fund managers
  • insurance brokers
  • arrangers of hedging instruments such as swaps, options and futures.

Table 26.11 shows the financial assets of selected groups of financial intermediaries n.e.c.

26.11 FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES n.e.c., Financial assets

Amounts outstanding at 30 June

2001
2002
2003
$m
$m
$m

Public unit trusts(a)
94,468
n.p.
102,214
Equity unit trusts
64,224
n.p.
75,931
Other unit trusts
30,244
28,431
26,283
Common funds
8,161
7,899
8,887
Securitisers
84,835
110,640
129,030
Other(b)
36,000
n.p.
9,572
Total
223,464
235,528
249,703

(a) Excludes property and trading trusts.
(b) Includes investment companies, economic development corporations, fund managers, insurance brokers, hedging instrument arrangers, wholesale trusts, cooperative housing societies and state government housing schemes.
Source: Assets and Liabilities of Australian Securitisers (5232.0.40.001); Australian National Accounts: Financial Accounts (5232.0); Managed Funds, Australia (5655.0).

Economic development corporations - are owned by governments. As their name implies, these bodies are expected to finance infrastructure developments mainly in their home state or territory.

Common funds - are set up by trustee companies and are governed by state Trustee Acts. They allow the trustee companies to combine depositors' funds and other funds held in trust in an investment pool. They are categorised according to the main types of assets in the pool, for example, cash funds or equity funds.

Public unit trusts - are investment funds open to the Australian public. Their operations are governed by a trust deed which is administered by a management company. Under the Managed Investments Act 1997 (Cwlth), the management company has become the single responsible entity for both investment strategy and custodial arrangements; the latter previously had been the responsibility of a trustee. These trusts allow their unit holders to dispose of their units relatively quickly. They may sell them back to the manager if the trust is unlisted, or sell them on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) if the trust is listed. Public unit trusts are categorised according to the main types of assets in the pool; for example, property or equity. Only those which invest primarily in financial assets - mortgages, fixed interest, futures or equity securities - are included here. While public unit trusts are not subject to supervision by APRA or registered under the Financial Statistics (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (Cwlth), they are subject to the provisions of corporations law which includes having their prospectus registered with ASIC.

Wholesale trusts - are investment funds that are only open to institutional investors - life insurance corporations, superannuation funds, retail trusts, corporate clients, high net worth individuals - due to high entry levels (e.g. $500,000 or above). They may issue a prospectus, but more commonly issue an information memorandum. Only those which invest in financial assets are included here.

Securitisers - issue short- and/or long-term debt securities which are backed by specific assets. The most common assets bought by securitisation trusts/companies are residential mortgages. These mortgages are originated by financial institutions such as banks and building societies or specialist mortgage managers. Other assets can also be used to back these securities, such as credit card receivables and financial leases. Securitisers generally pool the assets and use the income on them to pay interest to the holders of the asset-backed securities.

Investment companies - are similar to equity trusts in that they invest in the shares of other companies. However, investors in investment companies hold share assets, not unit assets.

Cooperative housing societies - are similar to permanent building societies. In the past they were wound up after a set period, but now they too are continuing bodies. They raise money through loans from members (rather than deposits) and provide finance to members in the form of housing loans. Over recent years many cooperative housing societies have originated mortgages on behalf of securitisers.

Fund managers, insurance brokers and arrangers of hedging instruments - are classified as financial auxiliaries as they engage primarily in activities closely related to financial intermediation, but they themselves do not perform an intermediation role. Auxiliaries primarily act as agents for their clients (usually other financial entities) on a fee-for-service basis, and as such the financial asset remains on the balance sheet of the client, not the auxiliary. However, a small portion of the activities of auxiliaries is brought to account on their own balance sheet, and these amounts are included in table 26.11.

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