On April 7, 2016, the European Banking Authority, European Securities and Markets Authority and European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (known as the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities) published a report identifying three main areas of risk and vulnerability affecting the stability of the EU financial system. The ESAs noted that investment funds had experienced markedly lower returns during the second half of 2015. The ESAs observed that the low interest rate environment, coupled with high non-performing loans ratios in some countries, has contributed to the subdued profitability of banks in the EU. The report concludes that a proactive stance is required to address the high level of non-performing loans at some banks. The report highlighted the trend of increasing interconnectivity of bank and non-bank entities.
The ESAs noted that interconnectedness could act as a potential channel for the propagation of shocks and thereby contribute to negative systematic events. The ESA recommends that the regulators should implement enhanced supervisory monitoring of concentration risks, cross-border exposures and regulatory arbitrage. The ESAs also highlight the risks associated with a potential contagion stemming from China and other emerging markets. Following a decade of strong contributions to global economic growth from emerging economies and China, the recent economic slowdown in these economies could have substantial effects on the EU in future. To forecast the risk in market exposure to these economies, the ESAs suggest that these markets should be covered in risk analysis exercises such as stress test exercises. Supervisors are also asked by the ESAs to carefully evaluate any optimistic assumptions relating to returns on crossborder activity.