The International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Structure
The Fund has a Board of Governors, composed of as many governors as there are member states; 24 executive directors; and a managing director and staff.
Board of Governors
All powers of the IMF are vested in its Board of Governors, on which all member states are represented. Each member state appoints one governor and one alternate governor, who may vote when the principal governor is absent. A government customarily appoints its minister of finance, the president of its central bank, or another high-ranking official as its governor. For example, in December 2002, the United States governor was Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill, and the alternate, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.
The principle that applies in most international bodies—one nation, one vote—does not apply in the IMF Board of Governors. Multiple votes are assigned to IMF member states, more votes being assigned to those subscribing larger quotas to the Fund's resources. Each member has 250 votes plus 1 additional vote for each SDR 100,000 of its quota. (The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the Fund. See section F.) The total number of votes of all IMF members was 2,172,621 on 12 December 2002, of which the United States held about 17.1%, Germany and Japan about 6% each, and the United Kingdom and France about 5% each.
Each governor is entitled to cast all the votes allotted to his country as a unit. On certain matters, however, voting power varies according to the use made of the Fund's resources by the respective member. IMF decisions are made by a simple majority of the votes cast, unless otherwise stipulated in the constitution. The Board of Governors regularly meets once a year. It may also be convened for other than annual meetings.
Except for such basic matters as admission of new members, quota changes, and the like, the Board of Governors delegates most of its powers to the Executive Directors of the Fund.
The Board of Governors has an advisory committee, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), formerly known as the Interim Committee, which meets twice a year. Its composition reflects that of the Executive Board; each country that appoints, and each group that elects, an Executive Director, also appoints a member to the IMFC. These members are governors of the Fund, ministers, or others of comparable rank.
The 24 executive directors (and 24 alternates) of the IMF are responsible for the Fund's general operations, and for this purpose they exercise all the powers delegated to them by the Board of Governors. They "function in continuous session" at the Fund's headquarters and meet as often as business may require, usually several times a week.
Of the 24 executive directors, five are appointed by the countries having the largest quotas (United States, Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom), and the other 19 are elected by regional groups of the remaining members. The IMF's managing director also serves as chairman of the Executive Board.
Managing Director and Staff
The managing director, who is chosen by the executive directors, is responsible for the conduct of the ordinary business of the Fund. He is appointed for a five-year term and may not serve concurrently as a governor or executive director of the IMF. The managing director chairs meetings of the executive directors but may vote only in case of a tie.
The permanent headquarters of the IMF are at 700 19th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20431. As of 21 August 2002, the staff consisted of about 2,650 persons from 140 countries.
The IMF has a regional office for Asia and the Pacific, located in Tokyo.