1218.0 - Standard Economic Sector Classifications of Australia (SESCA), 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2002   
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Financial corporations sector

3.17. This sector comprises all resident corporations and quasi-corporations mainly engaged in financial intermediation and provision of auxiliary financial services (see paragraphs 3.54-3.57 for a description of financial intermediation and financial auxiliary services). Holding companies with mainly financial corporations as subsidiaries are also included, as are market NPIs that mainly engage in financial intermediation or production of auxiliary financial services. These NPIs include those set up by associations of financial corporations to mainly provide member corporations with services, for which the members pay directly or by way of regular membership fees.

3.18. For the purpose of sector classification, ancillary corporations are merged with their parent corporation and are therefore included in the financial sector if the parent corporation is mainly engaged in financial intermediation or production of auxiliary financial services. Ancillary corporations are wholly owned subsidiary corporations that mainly provide services to their parent corporation or other corporations in the same enterprise group.

3.19. The corporations and quasi-corporations in the sector may be controlled by other corporations, households, NPIs, government units or non-resident units.

3.20. The practical circumstances that limit the extent to which non-financial quasi-corporations owned by households are reflected in the non-financial corporations sector (see paragraph 3.15) generally do not apply to financial quasi-corporations owned by households. Full coverage of financial quasi-corporations can therefore be assumed, with the exception of unincorporated financial auxiliaries, for which adequate coverage sources have yet to be established.

3.21. Some financial corporations mainly provide services within the enterprise group to which they belong and are often described as intra-group financiers. Such corporations generally qualify as ancillary corporations and are only included in the financial corporations sector if the parent corporation is a financial corporation. Otherwise, such ancillary corporations are included in the non-financial corporations sector.

Central bank

3.22. The central bank subsector includes institutional units which mainly engage in one or more of the following functions:

  • monetary policy development
  • issuing of national currency
  • custodian of the country's international reserves
  • custodian of reserve deposits
  • provision of banking services to government
  • regulation of the financial system.

3.23. In some countries, some of the above functions, for example, coin issue and the administration of consumer protection laws in respect of the financial system, are carried out by agencies which remain financially integrated with other government units. In such cases, the functions are included within the general government sector.

3.24. SNA93 does not subdivide this subsector. However, in Australia's BOP and IIP statistics, this subsector is divided between the RBA and other central bank institutions, so that the RBA's activities can be separately identified from other central bank institutions.

Reserve Bank of Australia

3.25. This subsector includes only the RBA, which has responsibility for monetary policy, issuing banknotes, holding Australia's international reserves, holding reserve deposits and providing banking services to the Commonwealth.

Other central bank institutions

3.26. This subsector includes the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) only. It is responsible for regulation of the financial system, and currently undertakes prudential supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, life and general insurance companies, superannuation funds (excluding self managed funds) and the benefit funds of friendly societies.

Depository corporations

3.27. The depository corporations subsector includes all resident financial corporations and quasi-corporations, other than the RBA, that have liabilities in the form of deposits or deposit-substitutes such as short-term certificates of deposit. In the Australian context, this subsector includes all financial corporations which have liabilities included in the RBA's definition of broad money, namely all banks, cash management trusts and registered financial corporations under the Financial Sector (Collection of Statistics) Act (FSA), excluding intra-group financiers. The subsector is divided into the banks and the other depository corporations subsectors.


3.28. The banks subsector corresponds to the SNA93 subsector for deposit money corporations, and is defined as all financial enterprises licensed by APRA to operate as a bank.

Other depository corporations

3.29. The other depository corporations subsector comprises all depository corporations (as defined in paragraph 3.27) other than those that are categorised as banks.

Insurance corporations and pension funds

3.30. The insurance corporations and pension funds subsector includes all resident insurance corporations and quasi-corporations, and autonomous pension funds. Insurance corporations consist of incorporated, mutual and other entities with a principal function of providing life, accident, sickness, fire or other forms of insurance. Pension funds included in the subsector are constituted as legal entities separate from the units that created them and are established to provide retirement benefits for specific groups of people. Such funds have assets and liabilities of their own and undertake financial transactions in the market on their own account. The subsector is further divided into the life insurance, the pension funds and the other insurance corporations subsectors.

Life insurance

3.31. The life insurance subsector comprises all insurance corporations registered as life insurers with APRA.

Pension funds

3.32. The pension funds subsector includes all superannuation funds that are regarded as complying funds for the purposes of the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act and other autonomous funds established for the benefit of public sector employees. Superannuation funds with all of their assets invested with insurance offices are included.

Other insurance corporations

3.33. The other insurance corporations subsector includes all corporations that provide insurance other than life insurance. Included are general, fire, accident, employer liability, household, and consumer credit insurers and health insurance funds. Also included is the Export Finance Insurance Corporation.

Other financial institutions

3.34. The other financial institutions subsector includes all resident financial corporations and quasi-corporations other than central bank institutions, depository and insurance corporations, and pensions funds. The subsector is divided into the CBAs, the financial intermediaries n.e.c. and the financial auxiliaries subsectors.

Central borrowing authorities

3.35. The CBAs subsector is not included in SNA93 but, in the Australian context, is considered sufficiently important and unique to justify separate categorisation. A CBA has been established by each state and territory government primarily to provide finance for public corporations and quasi-corporations, and other units owned or controlled by the government, and to arrange investment of their surplus funds. The CBAs borrow funds, mainly by issuing securities, and on-lend to their public sector clientele. However, they also engage in other financial intermediation activity for investment purposes, and may participate in the financial management activities of the parent government.

Financial intermediaries n.e.c.

3.36. The financial intermediaries n.e.c subsector comprises all financial intermediaries other than central bank institutions, depository corporations, insurance corporations, pension funds and CBAs. Also included are:

  • economic development corporations owned by governments
  • common funds, including cash common funds
  • mortgage, fixed interest and equity unit trusts
  • issuers of asset-backed securities
  • co-operative housing societies.

3.37. This subsector also includes various housing finance schemes established by state governments to assist first home buyers. Although the units operating the schemes are established under a variety of arrangements, some of which indicate that the units could be considered part of the general government sector, they are all classified as public financial corporations or quasi-corporations so that there is a uniform treatment.

Financial auxiliaries

3.38. The financial auxiliaries subsector comprises corporations predominantly engaged in providing financial services other than financial intermediation. Included in this subsector are fund managers, stock brokers, stock exchanges, insurance brokers, and arrangers of hedging instruments such as swaps, options and futures.

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