Cooperation between the International Finance Corporation and Fibank

As part of the annual Corporate Governance Group network meeting of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) held in Washington, DC on June 17-19, 2015, the Deputy Chair of the Supervisory Board of Fibank Ms. Maya Georgieva presented an overview of Fibank and participated in a panel discussion on the implementation of good corporate governance practices in the financial institution.

Other panelists were: Garth Bedford, FIG, leading the work with Fibank on risk management side, who joined the discussion via VC; Kiril Neykov - IFC CG Group, leading the work with Fibank during 2012 and 2014 assessments; Morgan Landy, Director, CRK Department; Darrin Hartzler, Manager, IFC Corporate Governance Group, as well as representatives of the International Finance Corporation from over 50 countries around the world.

The purpose of the panel was to give an example of the successful cooperation of IFC with Fibank as an investment client receiving recommendations in the field of corporate governance. This successful model has included both assessment, and activities along implementation of the latest developments in the area of good corporate governance.

Another purpose of the panel was to see how this work could be replicated in other regions of the world.

Fibank's cooperation with IFC in the area of corporate governance began in 2010. Then the bank assigned IFC to make an independent assessment of the CG & RM of the Bank. Following the recommendations, Fibank implemented significant changes to its organizational structure and RM practices. In 2012, ahead of its peers, Fibank established new SB committees (Presiding, Risk & Remuneration Committees), in line with EBA Guidelines on Internal Governance.

In April 2014, the Bank requested a reassessment of the changes already made towards improvement of corporate governance. The evaluation was completed in the end of May and this time, with the assistance of IFC, an implementation plan with clearly defined activities and timeline was developed. Currently, the Bank is adopting new internal documents aiming to further develop the CG and RM systems.

Maya Georgieva noted that the changes made as a result of the cooperation with IFC have lead to qualitative changes in the corporate governance and risk management of the bank, such as organizational and structural changes, as well as to the appointment of one new independent member of the SB, with criteria exceeding the national requirements for independence. Such independent member of the SB of the Bank was elected in the person of Mr. Jyrki Koskelo, approved by the annual General Meeting of Shareholders of First Investment Bank AD. It is worth noting that Mr. Koskelo has spent more than 20 years working in IFC.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is part of the World Bank and, being its investment unit, has invested over BGN 1.1 billion in Bulgaria over the past 14 years.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) works with private organizations in more than 100 countries worldwide, providing best practices of good corporate governance and risk management. IFC involvement is subject to interest expressed by the respective organization which needs to be the active party in the relationship.