Ever wondered how the Bank of England gathers intelligence to inform its decision-making process?
Eight times a year, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (“MPC”) meets to determine the important monetary decisions of the day for the UK, such as how to deal with interest rates; whether to pursue quantitative easing and other issues such as how to treat or support corporate bond lending.
Ahead of the meeting, Bank of England staff provide a fair amount of analysis to the MPC, including a published summary of reports compiled by the Bank’s twelve regional agents, following discussions with around 700 businesses across the UK. The summary provides information on business conditions from firms across all sectors of the economy. The summary does not represent the Bank’s views, or those of any particular firm or region.
Alongside this summary of reports, the Bank’s agents also produce quantitative assessments of economic conditions, as seen from their region. These scores provide numerical measures of the intelligence that they gather from month to month, and cover some areas of the economy for which there are no official statistics. The MPC then uses the intelligence provided by the agents, alongside information from other sources, to help it understand and assess current economic conditions.
The reports are online at: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/agentssummary/default.aspx
As part of this intelligence-gathering process, Sherrards were honoured to be invited to meet with the Bank and provide our views on what is happening in the economy, what the trends are, what we are seeing from our interaction with our clients, friends and associates (both domestically and, indeed, internationally), and, of course, following the EU Referendum, and the very dynamic times that we live in.
Sherrards put forward a team consisting of Jean-Paul da Costa, Head of Corporate (speaking on corporate developments and Chinese investment into the UK); Geraldine Fabre, a dual-qualified English and French lawyer (speaking on French and European attitudes to inbound investment into the UK); Andrew Cooke (speaking from a perspective of high-tech industry); Antony Mao, a property specialist (speaking on what is happening in the UK property market, from both commercial and residential angles), and Paul Marmor, Head of International Services (speaking on the business development opportunities actively being pursued by the firm).
The information was provided at a high level, in general terms, with our team encouraged to speak openly, candidly and without reservation, whatever their political and economic views, which did make for a very fulfilling and engaging discussion. Whatever else, one common view which emerged from Team Sherrards is their support for the leadership that has been provided in these challenging times by the Bank’s Governor, Mark Carney.
Lai Wah Co, Deputy Agent for Greater London for the Bank of England, comments: “Meeting businesses across the country is an incredibly important exercise for the Bank, and it really does assist us to bring first-hand intelligence straight to the top. The Sherrards team had a lot to tell us and were very helpful, and we are looking forward to continued co-operation.”
Jean-Paul da Costa reflects: “To have the opportunity to provide the Bank of England with our insights on what we see happening on the ground in the UK’s economy is certainly a rewarding experience.”
Facts about the Bank of England
- The Bank was founded in 1694, and is the central bank of the United Kingdom (sometimes known as the “Old Lady of Threadneedle Street”).
- The Bank’s mission is to promote the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability.
- The Bank has a range of tasks, from producing secure bank notes to keeping inflation low and stable, supervising banks and insurers and safeguarding the stability of the financial system.
- The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, which sets UK interest rates, is made up of nine members including the Governor, the three Deputy Governors (monetary policy, financial stability, and markets and banking), with the Bank’s Chief Economist and four external members appointed directly by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
- The Bank has twelve agents based around the UK, whose primary role is to assess the economic and financial conditions affecting businesses in their areas. Each agent is a part of the Bank’s “eyes, ears and voice” in the regions, collecting information on trends and developments across the country, as well as explaining the Bank’s policy decisions to local businesses, industry and labour groups.