Pollner, John Daniel

Private and Financial Sector Development Department, Europe and Central Asia Region
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Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
bank insolvency and resolution tools; catastrophe insurance and financial instruments; private/funded pension systems; structured finance and securitization (capital markets); Latin America; Eastern Europe; Central/East Asia
Private and Financial Sector Development Department, Europe and Central Asia Region
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Contact Information
Last updated: January 31, 2023
John Pollner is Lead Financial Officer (Financial & Risk Markets) in the Private and Financial Sector Department of the Europe and Central Asia Region of the World Bank.  He specializes in policy analysis and projects in the new EU member states involving banking insolvency/bankruptcy, resolution and restructuring, capital market development and securitization, private sector pension reforms & annuities markets, and catastrophe insurance programs for hedging fiscal losses from natural peril risks, the latter area where he pioneered the design and use of risk transfer mechanisms.  Mr. Pollner is a national of both the US and Chile, and has an MBA / Finance degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 10
  • Publication
    Structured Finance in Latin America : Channeling Pension Funds to Housing, Infrastructure, and Small Businesses
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2007) Cheikhrouhou, Hela; Gwinner, W. Britt; Pollner, John; Salinas, Emanuel; Sirtaine, Sophie; Vittas, Dimitri
    The report covers several types of structured finance with such capital market instruments as mortgage-backed securities, structured bond issues for infrastructure financing, securitization of small and medium enterprises (SME)-related assets, and securitization of loans to SMEs. The report also covers factoring and leasing, which can be important sources of finance for SMEs and can be pooled and packaged into marketable securities and sold to pension funds. The report does not cover other types of structured finance, such as exchange trade funds, structured notes with capital protection, or structured financing outside capital markets, such as bank syndications. Chapter 1 focuses on private pension fund investment management and the role of structured bonds. Chapter 2 focuses on the increasing use of structured finance for housing in Latin American countries. Chapter 3 deals with the less developed yet promising area of structured bonds for infrastructure financing. Chapter 4 focuses on the use of structured bonds for SME finance, still in the experimental stage. The report discusses the role of the government in supporting small and medium loan securitizations through partial guarantees (as in Spain) to share the risk of borrower default and through the development of an SME securitization conduit (as in Germany).
  • Publication
    Russian Federation Capital Markets : Analysis and Diagnosis of the Financial Regulatory and Institutional Policies Required for Becoming an International Financial Center
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Pollner, John D.
    There should be two principal goals in developing Russia as a financial center: a) attracting more of the financial business of large enterprises and of the wealthy, which now largely goes abroad to other international financial centers; and b) serving the needs of small and medium enterprises and small investors in Russia, needs that are now largely unmet. Advancing the second goal would help to advance the first goal by broadening the diversity in securities market funding as well as firm issuance possibilities. Financial centers exhibit benefits of scale. Better serving the need of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) and small investors would increase both the supply of securities and the demand for securities in Moscow. An increased volume and liquidity of transactions will make Moscow a more competitive financial center, thereby attracting more of the business of large enterprises and the wealthy that currently goes elsewhere. Finally, the above actions will constitute the necessary conditions to have the key elements for developing a significant financial center. They may not be all sufficient measures however. Non-financial market factors such as a suitable macroeconomic environment, efficient city transport facilities, reasonable housing availability, education facilities for foreigners, and a streamlined and transparent business regulatory environment all constitute key ancillary aspects supporting the growth and broader operating environment of international financial centers.
  • Publication
    Financial and Fiscal Instruments for Catastrophe Risk Management : Addressing Losses From Flood Hazards In Central Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia)
    (World Bank, 2011-07-01) Pollner, John D.
    This report addresses the large flood exposures of Central Europe and proposes efficient financial and risk transfer mechanisms to mitigate fiscal losses from natural catastrophes.. The report is primarily addressed to the governments of the region which should build into their fiscal planning, the necessary contingent funding mechanisms, based on their exposures. While there exist pan-European mechanisms such as the EU Solidarity Fund to help EU members fund mega disasters, these only kick in at extremely high loss levels. Given these issues, the Governments of the V-4 countries should consider it a priority to set up risk transfer mechanisms to reduce fiscal volatility following natural catastrophes. The private sector insurance markets in the V-4 countries appear adequate and reflect rather high levels of penetration in the economy and in the housing sector. Economic and fiscal analyses based on global data also show that countries with insurance mechanisms and markets show a stronger GDP recovery path and lower fiscal deficits following a disaster. However, the V-4 countries, having a common hazard of flood, are in a unique position to develop highly cost effective flood insurance mechanisms. As countries in general are more concerned with supplemental fiscal resources rather than individual property losses, the governments of the V-4 countries can consider parametric style contracts. Nevertheless, risk transfer or insurance mechanisms are not the only types that need to be considered. The analysis in this report is meant to show, besides the financial mechanisms that would be beneficial for risk management, what large catastrophe exposures exist and their relation to government finances and macroeconomic measures. Following a final phase of feasibility analysis and market testing, the V-4 countries should thus consider establishing a multi-country insurance pool to provide fast emergency funding after disasters.
  • Publication
    Financial and Fiscal Instruments for Catastrophe Risk Management : Addressing Losses from Flood Hazards in Central Europe
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012-07-05) Pollner, John
    This report addresses the large flood exposures of Central Europe and proposes efficient financial and risk transfer mechanisms to mitigate fiscal losses from natural catastrophes. In particular, the Visegrad countries (V-4) of Central Europe, namely, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and the Slovak Republic, have such tremendous potential flood damages that reliance on budgetary appropriations or even European Union (EU) funds in such circumstances becomes ineffective and does not provide needed cash funds for the quick response and recovery needed to minimize economic disruptions. The report is primarily addressed to the governments of the region, which should build into their fiscal planning the necessary contingent funding mechanisms, based on their exposures. The report is addressed to finance ministries and also to the insurance and securities regulators and the private insurance and capital markets, which may all play a role in the proposed mechanisms. An arrangement using a multi-country pool with a hazard-triggered insurance payout mechanism complemented by contingent financing is proposed, to better manage these risks and avoid major fiscal volatility and disruption.
  • Publication
    Climate Change Adaptation in Europe and Central Asia: Disaster Risk Management
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06-22) Kryspin-Watson, Jolanta; Pollner, John; Nieuwejaar, Sonja
    The following paper serves as a sectoral background note for the regional report ‘managing Uncertainty: Adapting to Climate Change in Europe and Central Asia Countries’. It focuses on what is known about the implications of climate change for extreme weather and the ability of Europe and Central Asia (ECA) to mitigate and manage the impact of extreme events. It also explains how climate change will increase weather-induced disasters in ECA, highlighting the sensitivity of ECA’s population to these hazards, and recommending various measures in the area of financial and fiscal policy, disaster risk mitigation, and emergency preparedness and management, to reduce current and future vulnerabilities. The goals of this paper are to: (i) present forecasts on how climate change will affect weather-related hazards and secondary effects, and what impact the extreme hydro-meteorological phenomena will have on the countries of Europe and Central Asia; and (ii) provide an overview of measures to mitigate and manage these risks.
  • Publication
    The Polish Bank Insolvency Regime: Issues and Assumption Paper for the Design of an Upgraded Bank Resolution Framework
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-07) Pollner, John D.
    The bank insolvency framework in Poland should be modernized to ensure financial stability, maintain the continuity of critical functions in the banking system, and protect depositors and creditors, while assigning losses according to a pre-established creditor hierarchy. Several country experiences in Europe and elsewhere have demonstrated the effectiveness of new bank resolution measures by the European commission. A key aspect of the resolution process is for the authorities to swiftly assess and revalue the balance sheet of the intervened bank. Other particularities of modern resolution procedures relate to maintaining the integrity of secured financial contracts to prevent disruptions in financial market transactions including in payments and settlements systems. The treatment of systemically important institutions should rely on extraordinary resolution tools which are necessary if a bank is too large to be purchased or for its liabilities to be readily assumed. The purpose of this paper is thus to describe and recommend new features that can be added to strengthen the Polish legislation for handling commercial bank insolvencies. The paper focuses on the legal issues related to insolvency of banks (including commercial banks and cooperative banks). The banking sector's share in the total assets of the credit sector amounts to 89 percent while cooperative banks control 6 percent. The only wholly-owned state bank is the development bank Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK) which is subject to supervision by the Polish Financial Supervisory Authority (KNF).
  • Publication
    Managing Catastrophic Disaster Risks Using Alternative Risk financing and Pooled Insurance Structures
    (2001-05) Pollner, John D.
    This report examines the constraints and opportunities in implementing a catastrophe insurance system which can resolve the key obstacles impeding broader implementation of a risk funding approach. The four main pillars in such a strategy involve: 1) strengthening insurance sector regulatory requirements and supervision; 2) establishing broad-based pooled catastrophe funding structures with efficient risk transfer tools; 3) promoting public insurance policies linked to programs for loss reduction in the uninsured sectors; and 4) strengthening the risk assessment and enforcement of structural measures such as zoning and building code compliance. The report is structured as follows: chapter 1 examines the characteristics of the global insurance and reinsurance market and its links with Caribbean insurers and policyholders Chapter 2 examines the domestic Caribbean insurance market structure and institutions, and their commercial practices Chapter 3 discusses how structural mitigation and vulnerability reduction measures can prove to be cost-effective investments that can dramatically reduce exposure risks on properties. Chapter 4 analyzes the modalities of risk transfer for potential financial losses. Chapter 5 demonstrates innovations being developed for catastrophe risk management. Chapter 6 examines risk management options. Chapter 7 concludes by demonstrating the financial feasibility and sustainability of operating and managing catastrophe risks under a sub-regional pool.
  • Publication
    Using Capital Markets to Develop Private Catastrophe Insurance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-10) Pollner, John D.
    The global catastrophe insurance market exhibits inherent cyclical risks. Disaster-prone countries can improve their protection against catastrophic risk and premium volatility by using capital markets to boost the capacity of the private sector to absorb and spread the risks -- both domestically and internationally. This Note proposes two mechanisms for more efficient management of catastrophic risk: pooled insurance coverage supported by liquidity and credit enhancement facilities, and hazard-indexed bonds to securitize risk.
  • Publication
    Catastrophe Risk Management : Using Alternative Risk Financing and Insurance Pooling Mechanisms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-02) Pollner, John D.
    Residual stochastic risks from catastrophic natural events can be addressed through insurance pooling and risk transfer mechanisms that provide the basis for financial protection and instill strong incentives for reducing vulnerability. To reduce the economic stress after disasters, the author shows, World Bank instruments could be used to support initiaitves to help correct market imperfections in catastrophe insurance. He takes a step-by-step approach to showing how both risk pooling structures and alternative catastrophe coverage mechanisms (long-maturity risk financing facilities, weather-indexed contracts, and capital market instruments) can achieve better risk protection and financing terms--enough to allow the expansion of insurance coverage of public assets and private property. The author examines the insurable assets (private and public) in eight countries in the easternmost part of the Caribbean and, by quantifying the portion of the premium and risk used to fund catastrophe losses, shows that through pooling and the use of credit-type instruments for catastrophe coverage, governments and uninsured property owners or enterprises (with insurable assets) could expect to improve their terms of coverage. Neither local insurers nor reinsurers would suffer in profitability. The risk management options the author examines could lead to real benefits for all participants (buyers and sellers) in insurance markets. But four factors are essential for ensuring the integrity of any participatory insurance scheme for providing risk management in disaster-prone areas such as the Caribbean: 1) stronger regulatory requirements and supervision in the insurance sector; 2) Broad-based, pooled catastrophe funding structures with efficient risk transfer tools; 3) Public insurance policies linked to programs for loss reduction in uninsured sectors; and 4) Stronger risk assessment and enforcement of such structural measures as zoning and compliance with building codes.
  • Publication
    Designing the Payout Phase of Funded Pension Pillars in Central and Eastern European Countries
    (2010-04-01) Vittas, Dimitri; Rudolph, Heinz; Pollner, John
    Over the past decade or so, most Central and Eastern European countries have reformed their pension systems, significantly downsizing their public pillars and creating private pillars based on capitalization accounts. Early policy attention was focused on the accumulation phase but several countries are now reaching the stage where they need to address the design of the payout phase. This paper reviews the complex policy issues that will confront policymakers in this effort and summarizes recent plans and developments in four countries (Poland, Hungary, Estonia, and Lithuania). The paper concludes by highlighting a number of options that merit detailed consideration.