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Meet the new president of the Vatican Bank

2014-07-09

This is the new president of the Vatican Bank, also known as the IOR. Fifty one year old Frenchman Jean-Baptiste de Franssu is an investment and financial management expert. Cardinal George Pell, who serves as the Vatican's Secretariat for the Economy,  introduced him, along with the bank's former president, Ernst von Freyberg. 

ERNST VON FREYBERG 
Former president of the IOR 
"Given the importance which the good management of our clients' funds has for the future of the IOR, it's more appropriate that someone with the background of Jean-Baptiste who has done this all his life very successfully- takes over.” 

The former president led the bank for 17 months, overseeing the first-stage of its reform. Under his term, he made sure that all accounts were checked, eliminating questionable clients who abused the system. He also modified the standards of the bank, so they match international transparency rules and regulations. 

CARD. GEORGE PELL 
Prefect, Secretary for Economy 
"We haven an enormous debt to Ernst. Trough the work that has been done to adhere to international standards and we have seen the results.”


ERNST VON FREYBERG 
Former president of the IOR 
"We are absolutely sure who are clients are and also who are clients are not. We know the facts today. The second thing is that we are completely transparent. We are like any institution in Italy. We are transparent with the public by going with our report on the internet and we are transparent to our superiors and in particular with our supervisor, the AIF.”

Jean-Baptiste de Franssu will be responsible for the second phase of transformation and he has three years to redesign its structure.

The hope is that the IOR will leave behind its work with investment assets, turning that responsibility over to a new entity, called the Vatican Asset Management. The bank will focus on 'financial counseling and payment services.'


JEAN-BAPTISTE DE FRANSSU 
President of the IOR 
"The future plan will be to change somewhat the future of the products that are being offered to the clients of IOR, towards what we call in our jargon, in our business, the fee base model, far more related to asset management types of products vs typical banking deposits product.”


CARD. GEORGE PELL 
Prefect, Secretary for Economy 
"Our ambition is to become something of a model on financial management rather than a cause for occasional scandal.”


The IOR or Vatican bank manages nearly 6 billion euros, which is considered relatively low for an institution of its kind. The bank has 150 employees. As clients, it only accepts  religious institutions, Vatican employees, priests, religious and ambassadors to the Holy See. 

Its main mission is to ensure that Catholic institutions based in remotes areas, can receive  the funds they need. It's also a way for their savings to be held 'in house' so as to eliminate the risk of having the money used in investments that don't follow the  moral teachings of the Church. 



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