Standards and Codes: The Role of the IMF

What are standards and codes?

Standards and codes are the “rules of the game” used when devising and implementing economic and financial policies. Countries that “play by the rules” tend to have better economic performance and greater financial stability, so it’s in their interest to abide by internationally recognized standards and codes.

The IMF’s and the World Bank’s work on standards and codes began after the emerging market crises of the 1990s. Later on, when the global financial crisis highlighted gaps and weaknesses, some standards and codes were revised or updated to reflect evolving international best practices. Periodic reviews of standards and codes seek to continually improve their effectiveness. 

Standards and Codes: The Role of the IMF

Transparency Standards

Data dissemination: The IMF has a Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus (SDDS Plus), and enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS) which together comprise the IMF Data Standards Initiatives. The Initiatives encourage countries to voluntarily publish key macroeconomic and financial data in a timely manner. The IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF) is used to assess countries’ data quality. More information is available on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) website.

Fiscal policy transparency: In the fiscal policy transparency area, Fiscal Transparency Evaluations (FTEs) assess countries against the Fiscal Transparency Code.

Central Bank transparency: The IMF’s Central Bank Transparency Code is the international code for central banks’ transparency practices. It aims to enhance central bank accountability and policy effectiveness with transparency in five areas: governance, policies, operations, outcome, and official relations. The CBT website provides more details.


Financial Sector Standards

Banking Supervision: Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision.

Securities Regulation: International Organization of Securities Commissions’ (IOSCO) Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation

Crisis Resolution and Deposit Insurance: International Association of Deposit Insurers’ Core Principles for Effective Deposit Insurance Systems as well as the Financial Stability Board’s Key Attributes of Effective Resolution Regimes for Financial Institutions.

Insurance Supervision: International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ Insurance Core Principles.

Financial Market Infrastructures: Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures and Technical Committee of International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Principles for Financial Market Infrastructures.

Standards and codes IMF 

Institutional and Market Infrastructure Standards

Insolvency and Creditor Rights: A standard based on the World Bank’s Principles for Effective Insolvency and Creditor/Debtor Regimes and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law’s Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law,  which was finalized in consultation with IMF staff. Corporate Governance: G20/Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Principles of Corporate Governance

Accounting and Auditing: International Accounting Standards Board’s International Financial Reporting Standards and International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s International Standards on Auditing.

Market Integrity: The 2012 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), which have been endorsed by the IMF Executive Board for the purposes of the IMF’s AML/CFT work. These are strengthened and updated from time to time, most recently with respect to virtual assets and beneficial ownership. A common methodology is used by the IMF and the FATF network to assess countries’ AML/CFT framework and its effectiveness.

International Statistical Standards

The IMF provides global leadership on internationally agreed statistical standards and methodologies. The standards provide definitions, classifications, and accounting rules for measuring macroeconomic concepts, such as output, prices, government debt, money, official reserves, and trade.

Standards and codes IMF

Assessing observance of standards and codes

Countries may request an assessment of their observance of standards and codes by the IMF, the World Bank, or both. In the area of data dissemination, countries’ performance under the Data Standards Initiatives is monitored by the IMF on a monthly basis and, for the SDDS subscribers and SDDS Plus adherents, published in Annual Observance Reports. Assessments of data quality and statistical systems are reported in Data Module of Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSCs).

In financial sector regulation and supervision, when standards are assessed in the context of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), findings are summarized in ROSCs.

In the fiscal policy transparency area, Fiscal Transparency Evaluations (FTEs) assess countries against the Fiscal Transparency Code. As of end-March 2023, over 40 FTEs have been conducted—36 of which have been published—covering countries across a range of regions and income levels. The list of published FTEs can be found in this link: Fiscal Transparency (

In the case of AML/CFT, the FATF or FATF-style regional bodies conduct assessments. Countries in the FATF network undergo regular assessments; the first assessment is comprehensive, with targeted follow-up assessments five years later.

Countries are responsible for implementing the recommendations from a standards assessment or review and many request technical assistance from the IMF and other international bodies to do so.

The last update was in March 2023