The Bank of Italy's functional and governance arrangements are based on a variety of different legal sources:
- Community law, which regulates the activity of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB),
- the provisions of banking and financial law concerning its supervisory powers,
- other provisions governing its relations with the Ministry for the Economy and Finance and other authorities, and
- its Statute and General Regulations.
At national level, an indirect reference to the Bank's functions can be found in Article 47(1) of the Constitution, which provides for the protection of savings ("The Republic encourages and protects saving in all its forms, it regulates, coordinates and controls the provision of credit").
The main legal sources concerning the Bank's functions and organization are:
- Legislative Decree 385/1993 (the Consolidated Law on Banking);
- Legislative Decree 58/1998 (the Consolidated Law on Finance);
- Legislative Decree 43/1998, which adapts Italian law to the provisions of the EC Treaty on monetary policy and the European System of Central Banks;
- Law 262/2005, containing provisions for the protection of savings and the regulation of financial markets;
- Legislative Decree 303/2006, containing provisions coordinating the Consolidated Law on Banking and the Consolidated Law on Finance with Law 262/2005;
- Law 5/2014, conversion into law of the decree law 133/2013 containing provisions for the Bank of Italy;
- the Bank's new Statute, approved by a Decree of the President of the Republic dated 15 February 2016.
With its publication in the Gazzetta Ufficiale (Serie Generale) No. 84 of 11 April 2016, the Bank of Italy’s new Statute came into force.
The main changes regard the dematerialization of the shareholdings in the Bank of Italy’s capital in application of the relevant provisions of Law 5/2014. Furthermore, the timetable for the approval of the annual accounts and the distribution of the profit for the year was moved forward to bring it into line with the Eurosystem.
The Statute sets out the rules for the Bank’s structure, organization and administration. It specifies the Bank’s legal status as “public law institution”; it recalls the European institutional framework in which the Bank is set; and, as is envisaged for the European Central Bank, it explicitly cites the principle of the Bank’s independence in performing its functions and in managing its finances. The new Statute also introduces an express reference to the principles of functionality and efficiency that must govern the central administration and branches.
The Statute reaffirms the principle, constantly observed in practice, that the Shareholders’ Assembly and the Board of Directors have no power of intervention with respect to the performance of the Bank’s institutional functions, confirming the system of governance that has guaranteed the Bank’s autonomy and independence over the years.
The General Regulations are approved by the Board of Directors of the Bank of Italy pursuant to Article 19 of the Statute. It is the main document governing the Bank's organization.
The present text is updated to the Directorates general organizational model (as of January 27th, 2014) and to the Statute’s latest edition (Presidential Decree of December 27th, 2013).
The Regulations consist of four Titles:
- Capital and corporate bodies (Articles 1-12), concerning participation in the Bank's capital and the functioning of some central and peripheral corporate bodies,
- Organization (Articles 13-40), regulating the organization of the Head Office and of the branches and specifying the functions and duties of the heads of the Offices and their powers of delegation,
- Operations and services (Articles 41-63), covering the operations and services performed by the Bank, and
- Directorates general and Directorates of the Head Office (Article 64-99), setting out the activities of such organizational units.