Exclusive-Bank of England ends closed-door policymaker briefings with banks

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LONDON (Businesshala) – The Bank of England will no longer hold off-the-record briefings between policymakers and individual private sector firms, it told Businesshala on Wednesday, as investigations grow into the relationship between central banks and finance.

FILE PHOTO: Flowers in front of the Bank of England in London, Britain August 1, 2018. Businesshala/Peter Nichols

The move, a permanent move aimed at improving the transparency of the BoE’s market intelligence gathering operations, follows growing concern about similar practices at other central banks.

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It represents another step in lifting the veil over the sometimes secretive world of central banking and another break from the BoE’s image of decades and centuries ago, when meetings with private banks in smoke-filled rooms were the norm. and the conduct of the policy. unclear.

Last month, the European Central Bank faced calls to end its closed-door meetings with private firms after its chief economist disclosed an unpublished inflation forecast in one such incident.

The ECB partially rejected the Financial Times report.

The meeting between members of the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee and private banks was billed as a way for the BoE to gather intelligence on the economy and financial markets.

Comments from policy makers should be limited to reiterating the BoE’s public stance in accordance with the Institute’s rules.

The BOE also publishes the details of these meetings in the MPC Members’ Schedule which is made available to the public after the meetings.

But these events have also given rise to speculation and rumors among financial traders. Last week, some Twitter users spoke of an MPC member meeting a major bank and its customers, which the BoE declined to comment on.

While the briefing will conclude with individual banks on the monetary policy outlook, the BoE has regular contact with banks in their role as UK financial system regulator.

conflicts of interest?

In the United States, Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell and other Fed officials regularly meet with Wall Street bosses and other financial market leaders, but they are usually listening to non-policy matters sessions or discussions, briefings. No.

The Fed’s communications policy discourages policy makers from holding private briefings that may also appear to provide specific information.

Last month two Fed officials were forced to sell their individual stock holdings by the end of the month to address the presence of conflicts of interest.

Earlier this year, Philip Lane, the ECB’s chief economist, had to postpone a one-on-one meeting with investors shortly after the policy announcements, due to public criticism of such engagements. But he continues to meet with groups of economists.

The BoE will still hold its regular off-record briefings with a group of economists from private finance firms after its quarterly monetary policy report.

These meetings differ from closed-door meetings with individual banks because there are dozens of attendees from a wide range of institutions.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg, Toby Chopra and Alexander Smith

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