King’s BOE Job Attracted ‘High-Quality’ Candidates, Osborne Says

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that many “high-quality” candidates applied to replace Mervyn King as governor of the Bank of England.

“We advertised the post, we have had applications in, and have had a good number of high-quality applicants,” Osborne told reporters in Tokyo yesterday.

Speculation on who will succeed King in June is centering on Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker and Financial Services Authority Chairman Adair Turner. The deadline for applications closed early on Oct. 8 and Osborne refused to say whether he’d consider late bids if someone suitable emerges.

Whoever is appointed will take over a beefed-up institution with new powers over financial regulation to add to its role setting monetary policy. The job of the next governor is “near impossible” and “only superhumans need apply,” Ed Balls, economics spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, has said.

Other potential candidates include Independent Commission on Banking Chairman John Vickers, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney and former Treasury Permanent Secretary Terence Burns.

Tucker gave a flavor of the approach he may take if he gets the job, saying in Tokyo yesterday that the central bank’s supervisory role will focus more on understanding how financial institutions make their money.

In a speech in London late on Oct. 11, Turner said that the U.K. won’t allow its lenders to be supervised by the European Central Bank, that quantitative easing may have diminishing returns and that central bankers need to continue to innovate.

Betting Odds

London-based bookmaker William Hill Plc is offering odds of 4-5 on Tucker becoming governor, meaning a winning 5-pound ($8) bet would yield a 4-pound profit. Turner is second-favourite at 3-1 followed by Carney and Vickers, both at 7-1. Carney has refused to say whether he is in the race, saying only he looks forward to working with whoever takes over when King retires.

Burns is 10-1 with William Hill and fourth-placed at Ladbrokes Plc on the same odds. European Parliament lawmaker Sharon Bowles has said she applied for the job and is ranked a 16-1 outsider at William Hill.

Candidates were asked to send a resume, a cover letter and a questionnaire disclosing prior political activity and potential conflicts of interest. A panel of officials will draw up a shortlist and notify those who haven’t made it. They will then conduct interviews and make a recommendation to Osborne, with his Liberal Democrat coalition partners also having a say. The decision will be announced by the end of 2012.

The selection panel comprises Treasury Permanent Secretary Nicholas Macpherson, Second Permanent Secretary Tom Scholar and David Lees, chairman of the bank’s court of directors. Lawmakers will also question the new governor before the job commences.

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