The Institute for Works of Religion (“Istituto per le Opere di Religione” or IOR) publishes its annual report, highlighting its commitment to comply with “the highest ethical and regulatory international standards” and noting that its Moneyval rating “puts the Institute as one of the best-ranked institutions in the world.”
By Vatican News
The annual report on the activities of the Institute for Works of Religion (“Istituto per le Opere di Religione” or IOR) – which, as provided for by recent regulations issued by Pope Francis, is “exclusively” responsible for the role of “asset manager and custodian of the movable patrimony of the Holy See and the Institutions connected with the Holy See” – was published on Tuesday, 6 June 2023.
A statement accompanying the release of the report indicates that net income was 29.6 million euro (compared to 18.1 million euro the previous year); the net interest margin was + 3.7 percent; the net commission margin amounted to + 20.9 percent; and the Moneyval rating ranks the IOR amon “the best-ranked institutions in the world.”
“For the eleventh consecutive year,” the statement reads, “the Istituto per le Opere di Religione (IOR) publishes its Annual Report containing its 2022 Financial Statements prepared in accordance with IAS-IFRS international accounting standards.”
The statement continues:
“These Financial Statements received a clean opinion from the auditor Mazars Italia S.p.A. and, on 25 April 2023, they were unanimously approved by the IOR Board of Superintendence and, as provided for in the Statutes, they were then sent to the Commission of Cardinals for their review.
“Given the soundness of the 2022 Financial Statements, and taking into account IOR’s capital requirements, the Commission of Cardinals decided upon the distribution of profits.”
In order to ensure that the Institute “can sustain its development objectives over the long term,” the Board of Superintendence recommended that the Cardinal Commission maintain a “prudent policy in the distribution of dividends as in 2022.” This approach, the report says, “has been reinforced by the recent banking crises in the United States and Europe and the need to protect the Institute over the long term, given the particular context in which it operates. With regard to the 2022 profit, the Board, therefore, proposed to the Cardinal Commission the distribution of a dividend of 5.2 million euros.”
The Council recommended that the dividend be distributed as follows:
– 3 million euros for the religious works of Pope Francis;
– 2 million euros for the charitable activities of the Cardinal’s Commission;
– 200,000 Euros for the charitable activities coordinated by the Prelate of the Institute.
Cardinal Santos Abril y Castelló, the president of the Cardinals’ Commission, recalls in his introduction that “in 2022 the first of the legal proceedings promoted by the IOR to seek justice for the abuses perpetrated against it was also concluded. Also on the legal front, the Institute has achieved an important success with the final confiscation and recovery of significant sums, confirming the will to pursue to the end those who have, in the past, damaged the image of the Institute. These are open proceedings both in the Vatican and abroad.” A total of 17,229,882 euros, illegally taken from the Institute before 2014, were recovered after a lengthy legal process.
The Prelate, Monsignor Battista Ricca, notes. “There has been an awareness that the Institute is part of a much larger and more important Body and that this Body is not the financial world but the Holy See. This realization has greatly rescaled the thought of being independent in acting and almost of being able to operate free from any norm. Moreover, the specter of authentic disasters in the past is always there to keep our eyes wide open.”
In the management report, IOR President Jean-Baptiste de Franssu writes, “2022 saw the Institute’s management focus on several areas: continuous improvement in investment management, the expansion of ethics policies, the introduction of a new IT platform, the hiring of additional professionals, and the introduction of a ‘staff evaluation and incentive system’ policy that introduces a transparent and structured performance-based remuneration system.”
In the report’s section on operational information, IOR Director General Gian Franco Mammì reports that as of December 31, 2022, “the IOR’s balance sheet assets amounted to 2.8 billion euros.” Mammì explained to Vatican Media that “in this period of uncertainty in the banking sector, the IOR stands out for its high capital solidity and robust liquidity,” with parameters “well above regulatory requirements, making it one of the most solid Institutes in the international banking scene.”
The General Manager then stressed that “overall, the range of banking and investment services has been expanded to better meet the needs of an increasingly informed and demanding clientele. This has also been possible thanks to the use of increasingly innovative platforms and software by the Institute, which continues to invest in digitalization.”
Finally, Mammì recalled, “The Institute for the Works of Religion is the only financial institution at the service of the Church in the world that bases its activity on the principle of consistency with Catholic ethics and not on the principle of the highest possible profit while respecting international banking standards and best practices.”