Not many people are aware that the Commission has extensive expertise in the area of professional asset management.
The DG ECFIN treasury is in charge of the sound and efficient management of off-budget financial assets of about €2 billion on behalf of the European Commission. Off-budget assets are those assets that are not included in the general budget of the European Union. For example, the financial assets managed by the Commission include the investments of the European Coal and Steel Community in Liquidation, which will eventually become the Research Fund for Coal and Steel. The Commission also manages assets for the sickness insurance scheme and the pension fund for local agents as well as third-party assets such as the European Investment Fund.
As part of managing these assets, DG ECFIN carries out financial market operations in the money and fixed income markets, mainly in euro. The aim of these investments is to achieve the highest return available, consistent with maintaining a high degree of security and stability. To this end, it has put in place conservative minimum rating criteria and a system of credit limits.
In its asset management activities DG ECFIN applies best banking practices in all operations, including market analysis, dealing, settlement, performance measurement and benchmarking as well as risk management. It provides regular reports to an investment committee as well as to the clients, and has its own trading room with access to standard market data and a well-developed IT infrastructure.
In addition, DG ECFIN offers experience and expertise in financial market operations to other units within the Commission and other EU institutions, and provides advice on appropriate methods for financial operations, such as the acquisition of real estate.