ECUADOR - Finance
General Manager, Central Bank of Ecuador (BCE)
Guillermo Avellán Solines graduated in management and economics from the University of Richmond and holds a master’s degree in economic analysis from Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. He was research director at Fundación Ecuador Libre, director of studies and projects of the chamber of commerce of Guayaquil, market risk and liquidity analyst at Banco Bolivariano, and corporate banking analyst at Citibank Ecuador. He was a professor and researcher at Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo and Humane Instituto de Negocios. Since 2021, he has been General Manager of the Central Bank of Ecuador.
The Central Bank of Ecuador is in charge of implementing monetary policies to promote the sustainability of the financial sector and preserve Ecuador’s international reserves.
Even though Ecuador defaulted in 2020, the return on the nation’s bond reached 28% in 2021, more than any other country. Can you explain how this happened?
The new administration has established at least three goals. The first is to promote financial and fiscal sustainability with equity. The government would like to foster a labor reform in order to promote quality employment. Managing the social policy programs with responsibility and transparency is essential, and on the fiscal side the IMF program was a key aspect in recovering confidence and promoting transparency in financial management. The program was recently approved by the board, and it is expected to receive USD2.5 billion between 2021 and 2022, which will be important to promote recovery after the pandemic. In August, the IMF approved the staff level agreement on economic policies to conclude and combine second and third reviews. We expect to grow at least 3% this year and eliminate the fiscal deficit by 2025. The government also looks forward to approving a fiscal reform that will be essential to promoting fiscal sustainability. A key aspect of the program is promoting efficiency and transparency in the procurement of expenses related to goods and services.
What strategies is the central bank using to maintain banking soundness and boost the economic growth of the country?
We are in charge of implementing monetary policies such as reserve requirements in order to promote sustainability of the financial sector. We also manage and preserve Ecuador’s international reserve and guarantee payments from private and public institutions. It guarantees the availability and quality of bills and coins all over the country. The bank works on the methodology to establish interest rates in the financial system, which aims to increase and foster financial inclusion. It manages the payment system and promotes efficient payment mechanisms. Finally, the central bank publishes studies on financial stability and macroeconomic statistics for decision making from private and public institutions.
What is the biggest challenge for the Central Bank of Ecuador compared to other Latin American countries?
Our main challenge is having enough liquidity to fulfill our responsibilities with public and private institutions. The central bank in previous administrations answered to the central government, affecting the liquidity of the bank. We received many notes that were not easily convertible to cash. Our mission is to recover that liquidity so we can cover our liabilities with liquid assets.
What is your vision for the bank, and what impact will it have?
We have an important program at the central bank to promote financial literacy, which launched in November. It explains how interest rates work, the importance of access to formal financial institutions, and the dangers of the informal sectors. We will also explain the importance of fiscal sustainability for the country, and the relationship between the fiscal sector and social policies. We have at least nine aspirations that we would like to promote during this administration. The first one is to guarantee administrative, budgetary, and technical autonomy, which is essential for the central bank. We aim to strengthen the research department to support policymaking decisions. It is essential to modernize the payment system to contribute to financial inclusion and develop a new interest rate methodology to promote competition and financial inclusion. We will also promote transparency through an independent audit committee. We will implement an anti-bribery policy, so our expenses and budget are completely transparent. We will establish a public procurement committee, which will work parallel to the anti-bribery policy. A Management and Regularization Unit will be in charge of closed firms due to the 1999 banking crisis. Finally, we aim to accomplish the total coverage of the four balance sheet systems, in order to have full coverage of our liabilities with liquid assets.
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