On behalf of its clients, the Institute carries out financial activities authorized by the AIF, and offers the following services: acceptance of deposits, asset management, certain custodial functions, international payment transfers through correspondent banks, and holding salary and pension accounts of employees of the Holy See and the Vatican City State.
The Institute protects its clients’ assets by primarily investing in financial instruments characterized as very low risk (e.g. government bonds, bonds issued by institutions and international organizations, as well as deposits in the interbank market).
Credit activity is residual and strictly subject to constraints of the internal policies as established by the Board of Superintendence.
The IOR does not issue, underwrite or place securities.
Accounts opened at the IOR by authorized customers meet the requirements of the legislation on preventing and combating money-laundering and the financing of terrorism in force in the Vatican City State.
Customers are provided with services in IOR offices located in the Vatican City State. The IOR has no other locations.
Customers served by the Institute include:
a) Institutional counterparties (Sovereign Institutions of the Holy See and Vatican City State and related entities, nunciatures and apostolic delegations, embassies and diplomats accredited to the Holy See);
b) Non-institutional counterparties (Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Dioceses and other Vatican legal canonical or civil entities as legal persons; clerics and members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, employees and retirees of the Vatican as natural persons).
Most of the IOR’s clients are active in missions or perform charitable works at institutions such as schools, hospitals or refugee camps.
The Catholic Church, through its institutions involved in missionary activities and charitable works, is present throughout the world, even in countries with very basic infrastructure and underdeveloped banking and payment systems.
In such cases, the IOR’s services are particularly valuable. For customers located in these areas, the IOR is a bedrock, affirming itself as a trusted institution able to provide on-site services otherwise lacking or absent. This is even more evident in those geographic areas with high political financial instability.
At the end of 2018, the IOR’s clients totalled 14,953 (2017: 14,945). Measured by assets entrusted, IOR clients comprised religious orders (53%), departments of the Roman Curia, Holy See Offices and nunciatures (12%), episcopal conferences, dioceses and parishes (9%), Canon Law entities (8%), cardinals, bishops and clergy (8%), Vatican employees and pensioners (8%) and others, including Canon Law foundations (2%).
The IOR’s customers have a common characteristic, which is that they are part of and serve the Catholic Church.
In addition to accepting deposits, the Institute manages clients’ portfolios on their behalf or acts as custodians.
As of 31 December 2018, the value of customer deposits was EUR 1.8bn (2017: EUR 1.8bn), the net value of assets held in managed portfolios was EUR 2.9bn (2017: EUR 3.0bn) and the net value of assets held in non-managed portfolios was EUR 377.5m (2017: EUR 474.6m), resulting in EUR 5.0bn in total client assets (2017: EUR 5.3bn).