The Bank for International Settlement (BIS) is the central bank for central banks.
Its customers are central banks and international organizations. The BIS does not accept deposits from or provide financial services to private individuals or corporate entities.
Established in 1930, the Bank for International Settlements is the oldest international financial institution.
The BIS is owned by 62 central banks, representing countries from around the world that together account for about 95% of world GDP.
From its inception to the present day, the BIS has played a number of key roles in the global economy.
Its head office is in Basel, Switzerland and it has two representative offices: in Hong Kong SAR and in Mexico City.
Their mission is “to serve central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, to foster international cooperation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.”
It has three main purposes:
- Aim at promoting monetary and financial stability.
- Act as a forum for discussion and cooperation among central banks and the financial community.
- Act as a bank to central banks and international organizations.
The BIS frequently acts as the market intermediary between national central banks and the market.
The BIS has become increasingly active as central banks have increased their currency reserve management. When the BIS is reported to be buying or selling at a level, it is usually for a central bank and thus the amounts can be large.
The BIS is used to avoid markets mistaking buying or selling interest for official government intervention.
As part of their work in the area of monetary and financial stability, they regularly publish related analyses and international banking and financial statistics that underpin policymaking, academic research, and public debate.