The Institute for the Works of Religion is the main financial center for the Holy See. It employs 114 people, and oversees 18,900 accounts worth over $8.6 billion. The IOR, more commonly known as the Vatican bank, has over $1 billion in equity, and in 2012 posted a $119 million profit.
In 1942, the Vatican founded the bank to provide Catholic institutions a secure way to manage their assets, without losing money. Its services are restricted to religious orders, Vatican employees, Catholic organization affiliated with the Vatican, and ambassadors accredited to the Holy See.
Soon, the Vatican bank's favorable conditions attracted questionable clients, causing scandals and headaches for the Vatican. As a result, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis ordered a review, to bring the troubled institution up to par with international norms on transparency, and fighting money laundering. The Council of Europe said these changes are on the right path.
Last year, the Vatican hired consulting firm Promontory Group to scrutinize the bank's accounts for missing information. In addition, it appointed Ernst & Young to review the IOR, as part of a yearly internal audit the Vatican's Financial Information Authority requires by law.