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Carney’s BOE Consensus Pledge Welcomed in Lawmaker Endorsement

Bank of England Governor-designate Mark Carney’s commitment to transform the central bank and base decisions on consensus will be a “highly significant development,” U.K. lawmakers said.

“If these commitments result in meaningful change to the current hierarchical decision-making processes and culture of the bank, this will be a highly significant development,” Parliament’s Treasury Committee, which scrutinizes the BOE, said in a report in London today.

Carney, the current chief of the Bank of Canada, will succeed Mervyn King at the U.K. central bank on July 1, taking over an institution endowed with new responsibilities for financial regulation as well as monetary policy. King has been criticized for wielding too much power at the bank and promoting “group think.” Carney testified at the committee in February, after which they formally approved his appointment.

The committee also said it would prefer if the BOE’s new unit, the Prudential Regulation Authority, had a secondary objective to promote competition in banking. It raised the concern that prudential requirements could act as a barrier to market entry and said it didn’t agree with Carney that the current balance in legislation was adequate.

There is a risk the PRA “may merely pay lip service to competition considerations,” the panel said. “This would be of great concern, given the potential for prudential requirements to act as a barrier to entry and to distort competition between large incumbent firms and new entrants.”

-- Editors: Fergal O’Brien, Eddie Buckle

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