These are stories Report on Business followed this week.
The Vatican is moving forcefully to repair its scandal-prone bank.
The Instituto per le Opere di Religione, commonly known as the Vatican bank, this week released a report that highlights a year of reforms, including bolstering measures to fight money laundering.
That came just a week after Pope Francis overhauled the bank's oversight group, replacing many of its members with new faces, including the respected Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto.
The new pope isn't making his mark solely on religious, social and economic inequality issues, but also on the Vatican's wealthy bank, which posted a 2012 profit of almost €87-million and sits on billions in bonds, stocks, cash and equivalents, gold and real estate.
"As an Institute of the Church we have a particular responsibility to live up to the high standards that are rightly expected of us," Vatican bank president Ernst von Freyberg, who was brought on board in 2013, said in this week's report.
The bank's supervisory board, which has been overhauling processes for a year now, said it received a status report on how things have been going, including an update on the reforms to "adopt best practice compliance risk management and to comply with current Vatican anti-money laundering legislation."
It cited nine areas of work:
1. A "signifcantly expanded" handbook on procedures to battle money laundering, including "data templates in areas such as verification of identification, source of funds, transaction activity, and overall customer risk profile."
2. New investment in IT systems, with a fresh transaction monitoring tool to be launched this quarter.
3. Screening of some 10,000 client records and new guidelines that mean the bank will deal with Catholic institutions, clerics, current and former Vatican City employees, and embassies and accredited diplomats. Other client "relationships" are being terminated.
4. A forensic transaction review, with outside help, to verify its customer list and review "unusual transactions."
5. Mandatory training of employees.
6. Nomination of a chief risk officer to monitor compliance.
7. Expanding its correspondent bank relationships. The report also said it hopes Italian regulators will allow relationships to resume after more than two years.
8. Risk management improvements.
9. Transparency improvements that allow the outside word to access information on the bank, in terms of services and governance.
"We have been working very hard to improve compliance, transparency and the processes inside the Institute and whilst there is still a lot of implementation work ahead of us, there is no doubt that we are on the right track and have made significant process," the bank chief said.
- Read the report
- Eric Reguly in World Insider (for subscribers): Pope moves aggressively to fix Vatican bank
- Pope denounces trickle-down economics, advocates helping those in need in key document
- Pope Francis crushes Benedict in drawing power
- Carl Mortished in ROB Insight (for subscribers): Huge, rich and secretive, Vatican bank's days may be numbered
- Vatican bank opens its books: Bonds, gold, real estate and a fat profit
The week's top news
- Barrie McKenna and Richard Blackwell: Loonie's plunge deepens as Poloz ponders weak inflation
- Bertrand Marotte: Bombardier cuts deep as woes mount
- Currency panic in emerging markets forces central bank action
- John Stackhouse: 'Japan is back,' emboldened Abe declares at Davos forum
- Greg Keenan: Air Canada wipes out its $3.7-billion pension deficit, swings to small surplus
- Carrie Tait and Jeffrey Jones: Talisman rejects $17-billion takeover bid by French company GDF Suez
- Sean Silcoff: BlackBerry to divest Canadian real estate holdings
- Omar El Akkad: Netflix shares soar on earnings, but court ruling clouds future
- Eric Reguly: EU sets new GHG goals, backs off green energy targets
The week in Business Briefing
- Bubble talk percolates as value of S&P 500 nears size of U.S. economy
- If Europe, U.S. are too dear amid loonie's slump, Brazil's a nice place
- Loonie plunges: 'How to target an exchange rate without saying so'
- Dollar sinks below 90¢ as Bank of Canada 'declares open season on loonie'
- BMO asks who shamed Canada the most: Rob Ford, Justin Bieber or the Canadian dollar
The week in Streetwise (for subscribers)
- Boyd Erman: Brokerages urge loosening of rules for TSX Venture funding
- Janet McFarland: Saudi Arabia models corporate governance after Canada
- Tim Kiladze: RBC's unique share sale is blowout
- Janet McFarland and Jeff Gray: Regulators take aim at shareholder votes
- Joanna Slater: Mystery over Canadian bank in FBI bulletin deepens
The week in Economy Lab
- Andrew Jackson: The wealth of Canadians: How much, in the hands of how few?
- Christopher Ragan: Bernanke-to-Yellen handoff: The right central banker for the times
- Vijay Gill: Taxis: That other supply management system
- Linda Nazareth: Canada's education spending: Going up, but is it going to the right places?
- Brian Lee Crowley: In foreign-student gold rush, standards get left behind
The week in ROB Insight (for subscribers)
- Antony Currie: Morgan Stanley boss may be drinking in last-chance saloon
- Sean Silcoff: How Agrium became the better bet in potash
- Scott Barlow: White collar workers have most to fear from technology
- Jeffrey Jones: Can the Bakken fuel America? Don't bet on it
- Anna Nicolaou: Canada is improving its global connections
Economic indicators in Ireland have turned positive for the first time since the crisis, but many remain cautious over whether the nascent recovery can be sustained, Paul Waldie reports from Dublin.
For the Japanese government and one of the country's biggest gas buyers, Canada is emerging as an increasingly favoured source for future energy, Nathan VanderKlippe writes from Tokyo.
Luring talent to head up a banking watchdog agency is a difficult business. Kevin Carmichael and Tara Perkins look at the delay in naming Julie Dickson's successor at OSFI.
Live long and prosper. And plan very well on the health front, personal finance columnist Rob Carrick writes.
Corporate Canada is starting to feel the effects of a plunging Canadian dollar. Richard Blackwell, Greg Keenan and Marina Strauss look at the impact.
- S&P/TSX Composite$12.76K0.00(0.00%)
- S&P 500 INDEX$1.88K0.00(0.00%)
- Dow Jones Industrials$16.20K-211.61(-1.29%)
- Canadian Dollar / US Dollar FX Spot Rate$0.720.00(-0.03%)
- Gold Front Month Futures$1.18K+19.10(+1.65%)
- Crude Oil Front Month Futures$29.73-1.16(-3.76%)
- Updated February 5 4:33 PM EST. Delayed by at least 15 minutes.