2013-10-28 Vatican - The Standard Ethics independent rating agency has announced it has elevated the Standard Ethics Rating (SER) attributed to Vatican City State from “EE-” to “EE.”

The Standard Ethics Rating is a benchmarking tool on sustainability, social responsibility, governance and environment.

The sustainability ratings issued by Standard Ethics are the result of statistical and scientific work carried out to take a snapshot of the economic world in relation to ethical principles promoted by large international organisations.

In a note, Standard Ethics reported that since it was given a “positive outlook” last July, Vatican City State has successfully met international requests to provide greater financial and accounts transparency of its financial institutions.

The note clarifies that significant steps were taken against money laundering, illicit financial transactions and financing of terrorism, in great part due to the Vatican’s gradual adherence to criteria laid out by the Financial Action Task Force (Groupe d’action financière FATF-GAFI) and adoption of recommendations from the Moneyval Division of the Council of Europe.

Furthermore, Standard Ethics reports that the most significant step forward was provided with the approval by the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State of Legislation n. XVIII of October 8, 2013. This law provides for a stable body governing transparency, supervision and financial information. The new law follows the constitution a few years ago of the Authority for Financial Information (AIF).

Further elements of transparency, the communique reports, are the publication of the Annual Report on Financial Activity, and the AIF’s Year 1- 2012 publication of the annual report on the website of the Vatican Bank (Istituto per le Opere Religiose IOR) on October 1, 2013.