The first volume of The Bank of England Bedside Book (A Thread of Gold) was published in October 2008 by Stacey International. Well received by the banking and financial sectors as well as by the general public, the book aimed to encapsulate something of the history and spirit of the Bank of England to the present-day. Its conclusions pleaded for a halt to the persistent paring down of the Bank staff and for a re-thinking of the regulatory hiving-off decisions of 1997. On both of these points, a corner has since been turned.
The eagerly-awaited second volume The Future of the Bank of England – A Silver Lining? was published on 9 May 2011. This thought-provoking and highly readable new title draws conclusions from the tumultuous events and consequences of the 2007-09 global financial crisis. It has not been easy for the Bank of England, deprived since 1997 of full responsibility for the supervision of the UK banks. These powers will now be restored to the Bank in 2012. Yet such power could be a political and economic banana-skin. Indeed, can the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street survive another onslaught? There are many in Europe who would be quite happy to see Sterling and the Bank swallowed up by the Euro and the European Central Bank. Or might some of the lead banks abandon the UK for points East such as Shanghai, Hong Kong or Singapore? These uncertainties feed on each other. In such matters of confidence and trust, the authors argue, the battle-hardened Bank of England now has a major opportunity to help strengthen the global financial system.
The Bank’s immediate priorities are, firstly, to rebuild a warm, friendly face-to-face relationship with the rest of the UK financial sector, particularly with the lead banks. Secondly, it must develop a more robust mechanism for restraining inflation and to provide a sound basis for a sustained economic rebound.
A longer-term objective is to remain a major player in the global restructuring of the financial markets. Already the Bank provides valuable training and technical consultation services for over 100 other central banks worldwide.
THE FUTURE OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND – A SILVER LINING? is a timely and absorbing scrutiny of one of the UK’s greatest institutions, its past, present and future.
As well as contributions from many major figures from the world of banking, the book includes a section of historical satirical cartoons, a lighthearted look at the contributions to the Bank’s in-house publication, The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, and useful annexes on Bank personnel.
Contributors to this THE FUTURE OF THE BANK OF ENGLAND – A SILVER LINING? include three former Chancellors of the Exchequer, the Official Historian of the Bank, the current Chairman of a major City bank, the CEO of the British Bankers Association and 16 former Directors and senior staff of the Bank of England.