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

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FILE PHOTO: Flowers in front of the Bank of England in London, Britain August 1, 2018. Businesshala/Peter Nichols
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LONDON (Businesshala) – The Bank of England will no longer hold off-the-record briefings between its policymakers and individual private financial institutions, the central bank told Businesshala on Wednesday.

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

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Last month the European Central Bank faced calls to end its closed-door meetings with private firms after its chief economist, Philip Lane, revealed an unpublished inflation forecast at one such event.

The Financial Times report was partially disputed by the ECB.

The meetings between members of the BoE’s monetary policy committee and private banks are billed as a way for the central bank to gather intelligence on the economy and financial markets. Policy makers should be limited to repeating the BoE’s public stance.

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 can also be a source of 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.

Central bankers around the world have come under constant scrutiny. Last month two US Federal Reserve officials were forced to sell their individual stock holdings by the end of the month to address the presence of a conflict of interest.

Reporting by Andy Bruce Editing by William Schomberg and Toby Chopra

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