Review of Legal, Informational, and Transactional Technology Infrastructures for Access and Development

The major cross-cutting infrastructures can be grouped under the three headings of legal, informational, and transactional technology.5 The robustness of legal infrastructures is universally acknowledged as crucial to a healthy financial system. Creditor protection in principle and in practice is central, as is bankruptcy law and its implementation. In both of those areas, reform of the court system is often at the heart of needed reforms. Corporate governance law and practice can also be seen as coming under this heading. Informational infrastructures include accounting and auditing rules and practice, plus the legal and organizational requirements for public or private credit registries and property registries. Other aspects, such as the ratings industry, may be relevant in more-advanced, middle-income countries. Internationally recognized accounting and auditing standards exist, and assessments of their observance, when available, can be useful for both stability and development assessments. The most important transactional technology infrastruc – tures—relating to wholesale payments and settlements—may already be assessed using the Core Principles of Systemically Important Payment Systems (CPSIPS). (See chapter 11 for details of CPSIPS.) The additional dimension required for development purposes is the functioning of the retail payments system: although it is not vulnerable to sudden failure on a large scale, it is not considered “systemically important” in the sense of the CPSIPS. The efficiency with which the legal, information, and transactional technol­ogy infrastructures support financial intermediation in the country plays a critical role in access and development. Detailed assessments of those areas are described in chapters 9, 10, and 11 of this handbook, and they provide information on the quality of the infra­structure elements, which are discussed below.

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