Pope Francis has sacked the entire Italian board of the Vatican's financial watchdog, and installed a more international set of experts following clashes between the board and the agency's director.

Five Italian members of the body who were appointed by the pope's predecessor, Benedict XVI, were dismissed.

The four new board members named on Thursday are from Italy, Singapore, Switzerland and the United States, the Associated Press news agency reported.

All five outgoing board members had been expected to serve five-year terms ending in 2016.

The Vatican created the Financial Information Authority in 2010 to supervise and regulate the Holy See's financial activities and share financial information with other countries to comply with international anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing norms.

Vatican finances have been hit by a series of scandals in recent years and two former directors of the Vatican bank, officially known as the Institute for Religious Works, are facing trial in Italy for money laundering.

Source: Agencies