March 2, 2022
Washington, DC: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a new international database on the cross-border flows and positions of Special Purpose Entities (SPEs), entities set up in countries of convenience and low-tax jurisdictions. The database:
- for the first time, is based on a common methodology , including an internationally agreed definition of SPEs, endorsed by the IMF Committee on Balance of Payments Statistics .
- Includes information that allows the separate identification of SPEs within the balance of payments and international investment position statistics of participating countries.
- Includes data from 25 economies, including several offshore centers, in this first annual release, with more economies to be added soon. The list of participating economies is available here.
- Includes, in this release, annual data for 2020 for all participating economies, as well as historical data and/or quarterly data for 2021 for some economies. Going forward, the database will be disseminated on an annual basis, with increased country coverage.
In a complex, global financial system with increased cross-border transactions and positions, SPEs play an important role. Consequently, disclosure about their activities in the external sector statistics contributes to a better understanding of the cross-border flows and stocks associated with real economic activities. To this end, this database is a major step towards addressing the data gaps related to cross-border exposures and improving the transparency and international comparability of external sector statistics.
The IMF’s SPE database complements the information disseminated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat for their member countries. It is the outcome of an international effort within the auspices of the IMF Committee on Balance of Payments Statistics’ Task Force on SPEs. The Final Report of the Task Force on SPEs is available at