Executive Director of the Board
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
1. Having chaired the 2017 conference and also chairing the conference this year, what can participants expect from NALM Americas this May?
The conference targets mostly official sector investors and managers of national balance sheets in Central and South America. I have witnessed a very rich attendance last year and we had very interesting keynote addresses, case studies and panel discussions. I expect this year's event to be another excellent opportunity for different stakeholders - mainly coming from central banks but also from other public-sector agencies - to be able to exchange their views and to discuss the best strategies to manage FX reserves, examine late economic and financial developments and also have contact with investment trends and possible new asset classes and operations. The present context of global uncertainties resulting from the rebalancing of macroeconomic policies in advanced economies is, at the same time, challenging and interesting.
2. Why do you think it's important for central banks to come together to discuss their experiences at this year's NALM Americas conference?
I think it is very good to bring all these central bankers together in a forum which is dedicated to central banks in the Americas. It is true that distinct economic realities and mandates may call for different strategies. Although we have a plethora of different institutional frameworks and diverse challenges, at the end of the day policy responses and objectives present a larger degree of similarity and face common constraints than thought at first hand. Central bankers can surely learn a lot with their shared experiences.
3. What should you say are the main challenges on the horizon for reserve managers?
Official reserve managers have old challenges, such as trying to maximize returns while maintaining a risk-return profile which, understandably, tends to be skewed to the conservative side. Evidently, achieving that requires a correct assess of global risks and tendencies and good scenario building and forecast skills regarding global financial market developments. Among the new risks - and also new opportunities, it is fair to say - I could recall the intense technological innovation that we have been witnessing and which only seems to accelerate, such as cryptocurrencies and new payment platforms. Although it may be quite early to understand their true potential, I think that these new features will be increasingly leaving a bigger footprint. That will require careful assessment from central banks, particularly for those that also have a clear mandate to preserve financial stability.