Threadneedle Street needs a human touch

Tim Wallace
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THE NEXT governor of the Bank of England must speak to his own staff more often than Sir Mervyn King has, to include a wider range of views in policymaking and to understand the development of the Bank’s future leaders, City grandee Bill Winters said yesterday.

Winters wrote a review of the Bank’s liquidity operations and found staff are afraid to express honest opinions to policymakers and senior managers because they fear their ideas would be shot down out of hand, and that their careers may suffer if they disagree with their superiors.

Future governors should show a “human touch,” he told the Treasury Select Committee of MPs, if they are to understand the Bank and gain insight into the risks facing the financial sector.

“The governor should regularly hold meetings in small groups with staff two or three levels below the deputy governors, to find out the degree to which they feel able to express their views,” Winters said. “And it would also let him find out more about the next generation of senior staff.”

In future, the Bank should also ensure it promotes people based in part on their skills as managers, not just with technical skills.

“Management skills are very important in choosing the next governor,” he said.