Debt and Liquidity Management Agency
Sphere of authority and competences:
Debt and Liquidity Management Agency (hereinafter referred to as “ARDAL”) was established pursuant to Article 14 of Act No. 291/2002 Coll. of 21 May 2002 on the State Treasury and on the amendment to certain acts, as amended by Act No. 386/2002 Coll. on the sovereign debt and state guarantees, is a government body, which is a state-budget funded organisation connected to the state budget through the budget chapter of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic. ARDAL is a government body and at the same time it is a securities trader according to (Article 54 of Act No. 566/2001 Coll. on securities and investment services and on the amendment to certain acts, as amended, the Act on the State Treasury).
ARDAL is represented and managed by a director, appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Slovak Republic with effect from 1 February 2003 on the basis of a selection procedure carried out by the Civil Service Authority in November 2002. With the appointment of the director as its statutory representative in February 2003, ARDAL was able to start preparing the conditions for its activities. In the course of 2003, its organisational, personnel, technical and informational support took place. At the same time, the scope of activities related to public debt management and liquidity of public finances, which will remain with the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic and which will be carried out by the State Treasury and ARDAL, was allocated and specified in detail.
While the strategic-conceptual management of the sovereign debt remains the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic, the operational management of sovereign debt coverage and liquidity is transferred to ARDAL. The reform of this area of public finance management began de facto in 2002 with the approval of Act No. 386/2002 Coll. on the sovereign debt and state guarantees and the approval of Act No. 291/2002 Coll. on the State Treasury and on the amendment to certain acts, which defined the basic institutional and policy frameworks for this area. The creation of ARDAL is part of a reform effort to create a modern sovereign debt and liquidity management regime based on the best international practices of EU countries.
Since 2004, ARDAL’s role has been mainly:
- to ensure, on the basis of the market analysis, the sovereign debt portfolio and the developed risk management system, a professional management of sovereign debt coverage and liquidity in order to optimise the associated costs,
- to enable the separation of the operational management of sovereign debt coverage and liquidity from the formulation of policy and the monitoring of compliance with frameworks and rules,
- to significantly improve communication with the financial and capital market and investors, to try to increase the liquidity and transparency of the government securities market in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic and other institutions operating on the financial and capital market,
- to ensure flexibility in the operational management of sovereign debt coverage,
- to assist internationally in the integration of the Slovak financial market and financial management of public finances with EU countries.
The new system of sovereign debt and liquidity management, which is part of the public finance management reform, became operational on 1 January 2004, when ARDAL assumed full responsibility for the operational management of sovereign debt coverage. ARDAL is responsible for the performance of the management of sovereign debt coverage and in particular:
- for the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic it ensures the issuance of government securities, including the conduct of auctions,
- it contributes to the development of the sovereign debt management strategy,
- in cooperation with the Treasury, it is responsible for ensuring the daily solvency of the State,
- it carries out financial market operations related to the hedging of market risks arising from the management of sovereign debt coverage and liquidity,
- it manages and optimises the balance of the single Treasury account in cooperation with the Treasury,
- it provides the National Bank of Slovakia with documents for the settlement of trades from issues of government securities,
- it draws up an operational plan of the sources and needs for financing the ongoing deficit of the state budget and the outstanding sovereign debt,
- it cooperates in recording, reporting and analyses of the sovereign debt and liquidity according to the requirements of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic and ensures other activities in accordance with the applicable standards.
After the operational management of sovereign debt coverage has been mastered by ARDAL, the reform in the area of sovereign debt management will focus on the information flows that are in place and their scope, the improvement of the decision-making process, and the establishment of regulatory measures, limits and standards for sovereign debt management. The aim and purpose of the functioning of ARDAL is “to provide liquidity and market access to finance the needs of the State in a transparent, prudent and cost-effective manner, while at the same time achieving a state of affairs such that the cost of debt service is minimal over time, provided that the risks inherent in the debt portfolio are maintained at an acceptable level”.
The most important advantages of separating the management of sovereign debt coverage into a separate institution - ARDAL - include flexibility in decision-making and action based on developments on the financial markets and the changing debt and liquidity needs of the State, using knowledge and experience from best commercial practice in this area. ARDAL will seek to establish a “banking regime” for the management of funds, including the elimination of market risks to sovereign debt and liquidity in a manner consistent with commercial practice. This means not only managing the existing sovereign debt position, but also managing the risks arising from potential changes in market interest rates, exchange rates and the like.