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National Accounts at a Glance 2011
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branch Capital
  branch 26. Financial assets held by households

Financial assets held by households include cash, shares, pension funds, etc., and form an important part of overall wealth and an important source of revenue; either through their sale or refinancing, via pensions, or other property income via interest and dividends say. Data on financial assets held by households play an important role in economic analyses, such as studies of asset bubbles and analyses of welfare.

Definition

Financial assets held by households include: currency and deposits; securities other than shares; loans; shares and other equity; net equity of households in life insurance reserves; net equity of households in pension funds; prepayments of premiums and reserves against outstanding claims; and other accounts receivable.

 

Most of the asset classes above are self-explanatory but in the following cases a few additional elaborations are helpful.

Life insurance reserves and pension funds are typically managed by institutions outside of the household sector but the reserves and funds are considered the property of the household sector.

Non-life insurance is treated differently however and only the prepayment of premiums made by households and outstanding claims payable to households are considered as financial assets of the households themselves.

Other accounts receivable typically reflect payments due to households not included elsewhere, such as tax reimbursements, outstanding wages and salaries and often, depending on national practice, interest accruing on deposits and loans that is not capitalised in the underlying asset.

In practice the bulk of financial assets held by households reflects currency and deposits, securities, shares and equity and net equity in life insurance reserves and pension funds.

An important additional item relating to household financial assets, concerns contingencies, in particular, entitlements of households to pensions from unfunded schemes, such as pay as you go social security schemes. In these cases no actual financial reserves hypothecated to a pension fund exist and, so, no financial assets are recorded to the households sector (see Annex  for changes in the 2008 SNA).

Comparability

Comparability is good but data are not always available for all asset-types or not separately identifiable. As such considerable care is needed when making cross country comparisons, not only of totals, but especially of sub-totals.

The estimates shown in the tables and charts that follow present statistics on a non-consolidated basis (except for Australia and Israel).

Source

Online databases

Further reading

Indicator in PDF Acrobat PDF page

Table
26.1. Financial assets of households by type of assets
    Table in Excel

Figure
26.1 Financial assets of households per capita Figure in Excel
Financial assets of households per
capita