Mark Carney signals Bank of England shakeup

Policymakers at the Bank of England will reduce their number of interest rate decisions to eight a year from 12 as part of a radical overhaul of processes at the 320-year old institution.

The change, supported by the governor Mark Carney, would amount to meetings every six weeks from 2016 if the recommendation is approved in parliament.

The proposal would bring the MPC’s timetable in line with the Bank of Canada, which has eight policy meetings a year and where Carney was governor until he was appointed to the top job at Threadneedle Street last year.

It was part of a wider set of proposals recommended by Kevin Warsh, a former White House adviser and member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Carney said the changes amounted to a “step change” in the way the Bank is run, putting it at the “forefront of international best practice”.

In a bid to make the Bank more transparent, written transcripts will be taken at MPC meetings from March 2015. Transcripts will be published after an eight-year lag.

Minutes of MPC meetings, currently published with a two-week lag, will be published at the same time as policy decisions from August 2015.

Carney said: “The Bank has immense responsibilities for monetary stability, financial stability and for micro-prudential regulation. And with these responsibilities comes the need for effective transparency, genuine accountability and robust governance.”

Carney commissioned the review following an exchange with Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, at a hearing six months ago. Tyrie was shocked that the recordings taken of the MPC meetings were later routinely destroyed, saying that the detail of the meetings could have real historical value.

The moves were welcomed by George Osborne. “Ensuring the Bank is well positioned to fulfil its vital role of overseeing monetary policy and financial stability is a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan,” the chancellor said.

As part of the changes, there will be four joint meetings a year between the MPC and the Bank’s Financial Policy Committee – responsible for financial stability – in 2016.

In January 2015, minutes from the Bank’s Court taken at meetings during the financial crisis of 2007-09 will be published.

Powered by article was written by Angela Monaghan, for The Guardian on Thursday 11th December 2014 11.03 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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