Macro from Micro: New Horizons for Financial Statistics
Francis J. Gross
External Statistics, European Central Bank, Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Hessen, Germany

The crisis and the resulting new needs for better understanding, monitoring and controlling systemic risk might well be the trigger that finally ushers in the age of large-scale micro-data applications in the production of statistics. Whereas technology has long been able to help statisticians do better, we might now have the conditions for radically improving data availability and quality, at least for financial statistics. Such progress would free a pent-up wave of innovation in statistics, which is likely to change some areas of our discipline.

Particular attention is devoted to understanding how the focus on systemic risk and the now global nature of the relevant markets impact the requirements on measurement processes in financial markets. It appears that many of these requirements point to the need for: dynamic tools that link micro-data to macro-economic measurement and analysis, strong and international data standardisation, large-scale, up-to-date, standardised data pools and large-scale IT, and the capability to quickly collect ad hoc large data volumes immediately fit for analysis.

Starting from the story of the European System of Central Banks' (ESCB's) Centralised Securities Database (CSDB), the author reviews lessons learned from the development of the CSDB and some of the developments it enables in the ESCB's production of statistics on financial markets. He provides an outlook on potential further developments in financial statistics and their infrastructure, especially the initiative to stabdardise reference data on financial instruments and legal entities by the means of an international Reference Data Utility backed by legislation.

The author sets a specific focus on the likely longer term implications of the recent creation in the USA by the Dodd Frank Act of the Office of Financial Research and its potential role as a catalyst of international data standardisation.

Keywords: Micro-data applications; International data standardisation; Centralised securities database (CSDB); Reference data utility

Biography: Head of the External Statistics Division (ETS) within the Directorate General Statistics of the European Central Bank (ECB). ETS is responsible for the external statistics of the euro area (balance of payments, international investment position, foreign direct investment, etc.) and coordinates their harmonisation across the EU. It is also responsible for the Centralised Securities Database (CSDB), which contains reference and price data for individual securities relevant to euro area statistics.