WAIFC Publication on "SME Finance: How regulators can ensure speedy and sustainable recovery from COVID-19"
Alarmed by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our societies and economies, the World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) launched, among other projects, a workstream to look into how regulations and regulatory authorities could help to expedite a sustainable economic recovery from the current pandemic.
The first topic we dealt with in this workstream was SME Finance regulation. SMEs around the world have been hit very hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for and consumption of goods and services plummeted due to lockdowns imposed by many countries worldwide. Consequentially, the production of goods and services also slumped. Many companies were forced into temporary shutdowns (often of uncertain durations) of their offices and production sites and feared they might have to close operations permanently. The pandemic led countries to shut down their borders, hindering global trade and destroying value chains.
It is crucial to support SMEs in surviving the pandemic and then smoothly entering a sustainable economic recovery phase.
This report analyzes regulatory and supervisory interventions in our members' countries and how critical those interventions have been for business continuity during the crisis so far. It also lists recommendations that regulators can implement to help SMEs contribute to a fast recovery from the crisis.
Commenting on the release of this report, Jennifer Reynolds, Chairwoman of the WAIFC, stated:
"We are delighted to share this first report of our Regulation experts as part of our contribution to our broader work on the role of financial centers in preparing the global economic recovery from the pandemic. We need to support SMEs with targeted regulatory measures for a sustainable recovery."
H.E. Abdullah Al Salmi, Member of the WAIFC Board and Executive President of the Capital Market Authority Oman, commented on the report, saying:
"COVID-19 continues to have major setbacks to every side of our lives. World's economies have been struggling to cope with this pandemic and are suffering until today. We are seeing many companies, especially SMEs, unable to keep on doing business, ending up closing their operations for uncertain durations as it is still not clear when life will return to normal. Making up the vast majority of world businesses, SMEs need to be supported now financially more than any other time before. We believe regulators have a significant role in facilitating this support."
Dr. Jochen Biedermann, Managing Director of the WAIFC, added:
"As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold across the world in 2020, we quickly saw the impact it would have on SMEs. SMEs are the backbone of our economies. The pandemic has deeply impacted many sectors, but SMEs have suffered more as their activity is usually more focused than large companies. It is crucial to support them in surviving the pandemic and then smoothly entering a sustainable economic recovery phase."
You can download the report at https://waifc.finance/publications/.
The World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) is a non-profit association registered in Belgium, representing 19 leading international financial centers of four continents. WAIFC members are city governments, associations, and similar institutions developing and promoting their financial centers.
WAIFC facilitates cooperation between its members, the exchange of best practices, and communication with the general public.