Britain is expected to choose a new central bank chief this year to succeed Canadian Mark Carney, who will step down in June 2019, three months after the country’s scheduled exit from the European Union.
Following is a summary of possible contenders to run the Bank of England (BoE), which oversees the world’s sixth-biggest economy and Britain’s huge finance industry. No one has yet thrown their hat into the ring.
ANDREW BAILEY – the outsider insider
Widely tipped by analysts as Carney’s most likely successor, Bailey reached the role of deputy governor of the BoE with a focus on banks before becoming chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, a financial markets regulator.
During his time at the BoE, Bailey helped to steer Britain’s banks through the global financial crisis, enhancing his reputation as a safe pair of hands.
However, heading the FCA – which roots out misconduct in Britain’s large financial services sector – is fraught with risks. The head of the British parliament’s influential Treasury Committee has criticized Bailey for withholding parts of a report into alleged misconduct by state-owned RBS during the financial crisis. Bailey has cited privacy restrictions.
As FCA boss, Bailey sits on important panels at the BoE that oversee banks. Although he has never been interest-rate setter, he once ran the BoE international economic analysis team.
Bailey acknowledged the speculation about a move to the BoE in an interview published this week. “You’ll be unsurprised to know this question comes up reasonably often,” Bailey told Financial News. “But I’ve got a job and, I have to be honest with you, I have never spent my time thinking about the one I want to do next.”
BEN BROADBENT AND DAVE RAMSDEN – the deputies
Broadbent and Ramsden are deputy governors for monetary policy and for markets and banking respectively, burnishing their credentials as potential successors to Carney.
Broadbent, a former Goldman Sachs economist who once trained as a classical pianist, is respected for his economic analysis but has less experience on banking oversight, which has become an important part of the BoE governor’s role.
Ramsden only joined the central bank in September although he is no stranger to the Monetary Policy Committee having attended 92 of its meetings in his previous role as the Treasury’s chief economic advisor.
The two other BoE deputy governors, Jon Cunliffe and Sam Woods, are less likely contenders. Woods focuses mostly on bank regulation while Cunliffe – a former British ambassador to the EU – would be aged 66 at the start of the term which usually runs for eight years, although Carney has chosen to step down after six.
ANDY HALDANE – the free thinker
The BoE’s chief economist, Haldane has developed a reputation for floating unconventional ideas, including the abolition of cash as a way to give central banks more muscle over the economies they run. In 2012, he praised the anti-capitalist Occupy movement for suggesting new ways to fix the shortcomings of global finance. Haldane has experience of both sides of the Bank, having served previously as executive director for financial stability, overseeing the risks to the economy from the banking system. But he might be seen as too much of a maverick to take the job of governor.
The announcement of Carney, the first non-British governor of the BoE in more than three centuries, was a surprise. Should finance minister Philip Hammond also opt for a less obvious candidate, one name that has appeared in Britain’s media is that of Sharon White, the head of a telecoms regulator and who previously worked at the Treasury. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants, she has won wide praise for her high-profile roles in the public sector. Another outside contender would be Adair Turner, a former chairman of a now defunct financial services regulator who was in the running last time around. He continues to speak about the British economy and has warned of the risks from high debt levels.
A LABOUR PARTY GOVERNOR?
The prospect of the left-wing Labour Party taking power in the next year or so is remote but investors are mindful that Prime Minister Theresa May has only a small majority in parliament after last year’s failed election gamble and her Conservative Party is split over how to leave the European Union. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his would-be finance minister John McDonnell are socialists and have in the past proposed that the BoE should fund investment in infrastructure, a big change from its current focus on inflation. If they were to pick the next BoE governor, Ben Seager-Scott, chief investment strategist at Tilney Group, an investment firm, said they might consider former members of an economic advisory committee which included U.S. academic and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz and Ann Pettifor, a British economist who is an austerity critic.