Capital and Dividend Policy Framework for Financial Crown Corporations

Introduction

Section 15, Part I of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) states that the Minister of Finance is responsible for “the supervision, control and direction of all matters relating to the financial affairs of Canada not by law assigned to the Treasury Board or to any other minister.” Prudent financial risk and capital management is also supported by various pieces of federal legislation, including Part X of the FAA for most Crown corporations.

Consistent with this overarching responsibility, the Minister of Finance, in consultation with the President of the Treasury Board and ministers responsible for each financial Crown, has provided the financial Crown corporations (the Business Development Bank of Canada, Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, Export Development Canada and Farm Credit Canada) with the following principles to govern their capital management and dividend policies. These principles are informed by leading practices for similar private sector financial intermediaries and other comparable sovereign entities, where applicable, and by applicable Canadian and international regulatory standards, as they evolve.

Objective

To ensure that the financial Crown corporations have appropriate methodologies in place to determine their capital adequacy requirements, that they effectively manage their capital in relation to risk and that dividends are paid to the shareholder when capital is in excess of determined levels required to deliver on their mandates.

Principles

  1. Financial Crown corporations should have a Board-approved capital management framework and supporting policies.
  2. Financial Crown corporation levels of capital should reflect their respective mandates and objectives, associated risks, status as agents of the Government of Canada and the different commercial segments in which they operate. These levels of capital should be consistent with Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) guidelines (i.e., Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process for banks and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment for insurers).
    • Capital retention policies of financial Crown corporations should protect against risks that could adversely impact their ability to deliver on their public policy mandates and reasonably minimize the risk of recapitalization through a complete business cycle.
    • Capital in excess of required capital should be returned to the shareholder in the form of dividends over the course of the planning horizon.
    • Financial Crown corporations will be assessed on their need for capital using internal capital adequacy models. For informational purposes, they should report capital adequacy using both internal and OSFI regulatory approaches.
  3. Financial Crown corporations should use measures of financial performance consistent with relevant best practices, such as return on capital, while recognizing factors such as differing mandates and objectives, their access to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and the explicit backing of the Government of Canada. The concept that capital has a cost should be embedded in these measures of financial performance.
  4. Capital and dividend strategies, and accompanying financial performance objectives and outcomes, should be submitted for approval through Corporate Plan submissions to Treasury Board ministers.
    • Capital deployment plans should be submitted as part of the Corporate Plan approval process, with associated capital requirements and risks segmented so as to demonstrate the drivers of capital demand.
    • Capital, dividend and financial performance measure outcomes should be reported in annual reports against past projections.
    • Boards of directors of financial Crown corporations should declare dividends at their Board meeting immediately following the finalization of their fiscal year-end financial results, or at such earlier occasion as may be appropriate.
  5. The Government would stand prepared to inject capital into a financial Crown corporation should it be demonstrated that additional capital is needed to deliver on the corporation’s public policy mandate.