Quantitative easing and the Asset Purchase Facility

We purchase financial assets such as gilts and corporate bonds in order to boost economic activity and return inflation to target.


Our asset purchases are carried out through the Asset Purchase Facility, and financed by creating central bank reserves. Transactions are undertaken by a subsidiary of the Bank – the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund Limited (BEAPFF).  

PDFAsset Purchase Facility Terms and Conditions

PDFAsset Purchase Facility Operating Procedure

Latest APF Operational Announcements

Gilt purchases

We purchase short, medium and long-maturity gilts (UK government bonds) in the secondary market, in a process known as quantitative easing.

More detailed data on gilt purchases is available in our Market Notices and time series of operational results:

Market Notice: Asset Purchase Facility gilt purchases

Consolidated Market Notice: Asset Purchase Facility gilt purchase

ExcelGilt purchase operational results

We also have data available on the nominal value of each of the gilts purchased. These are reported on a trade date basis, and updated following any gilt purchase operation:

ExcelGilt purchases in nominal terms

We have agreed that we will make a small proportion of the gilts purchased available to the UK Debt Management Office (DMO) for on-lending to the market through the DMO’s normal repo market activity. We issued a joint statement on this in 2009.

PDFAPF Gilt reinvestment operation schedule

Apply to participate in gilt purchases

To take part in the competitive auctions, you must be:

To take part in the non-competitive element of the auction, you must be appropriately authorised under the Financial Services and Markets Act, or signed up to our gilt-purchase open market operations.

Only one firm within a group can take part in the auctions, unless you undertake different kinds of activity, for example banking and asset management.

To apply, complete the application form and email to applications@bankofengland.co.uk.

Corporate bond purchases

We purchase corporate bonds to stimulate the economy by lowering the yields on corporate bonds. This has the following aims:

  • reducing the cost of borrowing for companies
  • encouraging asset sellers to rebalance their portfolios to include riskier assets
  • encouraging companies to issue more bonds.

The Bank acts as an agent for the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund (BEAPFF), and only purchases sterling corporate bonds issued by firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy. It participates in the secondary market by holding reverse auctions. However, we reserve the right to carry out purchases via other methods – such as bilateral purchases – if necessary.

Issuer and security eligibility for corporate bond purchases

We have published a list of the sterling corporate bonds we will offer to purchase on behalf of the BEAPFF.

If you have an enquiry about eligible bonds, email eligible.securities@bankofengland.co.uk. Requests to consider additional corporate bonds which are not on the list should include the International Securities Identification Number (ISIN), prospectus or offering circular, pricing supplement or final terms and, if relevant, the guarantee.

Counterparties in the Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme must submit to us an indication of the bonds they would like to sell or take a position in (dealer axes). We have a template for providing this information. You should send your submission to APF_CorporateBond_DealersInfo@bankofengland.co.uk, preferably by close of business on a daily basis, but at least by close of business on the first working day of the week.

Corporate bond sector shares

The Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme started on 27 September 2016. On 27 April 2017, we announced that we had completed the operations necessary to achieve the current target for corporate bond purchases of £10 billion.

To make sure purchases are representative of issuance, we allocated each bond that was eligible for purchase to one of nine sectors, using a common sector classification.  We then made purchases so that our holdings are representative of each sector’s share within the list of eligible bonds.

The table below shows the share for each of the Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme's nine sectors and our holdings in each of these sectors. 

Sector CBPS Holdings as at close of business
3 May 2017
CBPS Target Sector Share
(% portfolio) (% of eligible list)
Electricity 19% 19%
Consumer, Non-cyclical 15% 15%
Communications 12% 12%
Industrial & Transport 13% 13%
Water 11% 12%
Consumer, Cyclical 11% 11%
Gas 8% 8%
Property & Finance 6% 6%
Energy 3% 3%
Total 100% 100%

PDFPrevious Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme sector share and holdings results

The operational details of how we carry out corporate bond purchases are contained in the current Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme market notices.

Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme market notices

Apply to take part in the Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme

To take part in the Corporate Bond Purchase Scheme, we must be satisfied that you are a market maker in investment-grade sterling denominated corporate bonds. You must also be a participant in the Sterling Monetary Framework for open market operations.

To apply, complete the expression of interest form and email it to applications@bankofengland.co.uk or call +44 (0) 20 3461 6327 / +44 (0)20 3461 5928. You also need to complete the operation contacts and settlement information form and send it to BPFRDMarketSettlement@bankofengland.co.uk.

If your application is successful, you will have to sign an Admission Letter agreeing to the terms and conditions.

How are gilt and corporate bond purchases carried out?

Our electronic tendering system, Btender, is used to carry out all gilt and corporate bond auctions.  All counterparties must use Btender. You will also require access to SWIFTnet.

PDFUser guide for Btender

PDFBtender quick reference guide

Term Funding Scheme

Our Term Funding Scheme (TFS) provides funding to banks and building societies at rates close to Bank Rate. It is designed to encourage them to reflect cuts in Bank Rate in the interest rates faced by households and businesses. It also encourages them to lend by providing a cost-effective source of funding. It is a monetary policy tool of the Monetary Policy Committee and is operated as part of the Asset Purchase Facility.

The TFS allows firms to borrow central bank reserves in exchange for eligible collateral. It is open to firms that take part in the Sterling Monetary Framework and signed up to our Discount Window Facility.

The Term Funding Scheme is open to drawdowns from 19 September 2016 to 28 February 2018.

The operational details of how we operate the Term Funding Scheme are contained in the Term Funding Scheme Market Notice.

The Governor announced in his Mansion House speech on 21 June 2018 that the Bank of England and HM Treasury have reached a new capital settlement. As part of this agreement, in due course all loans made through the Term Funding Scheme, and the collateral backing them, will be transferred from the balance sheet of the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund Limited (BEAPFF) to the balance sheet of the Bank. The Bank will be in contact with TFS participants regarding this over the coming months.

Term Funding Scheme usage and lending data

We publish quarterly data showing, for each group participating in the TFS, the amount borrowed from the scheme and the net quarterly flows of lending to UK households and firms.

Provisional publication dates: 7 February 2019

TFS Group Certified lending to UK households, PNFCs and NBCPs (£mn) Aggregate outstanding TFS drawings as at 30/09/2018 (£mn)
Base Stock of loans as at 30/06/16 Q4 2017 net lending flow Cumulative net lending since 30/06/16
TOTAL 1,517,920 8,121 67,965 126,448
AIB Group (UK) 6,338 29 21 250
Aldermore 6,764 203 1,721 1,671
Arbuthnot Latham 577 103 269 225
Atom Bank - 314 1,018 355
Bank of Ireland 25,555 -276 -1,035 1,278
Barclays 210,867 -232 2,576 12,600
Buckinghamshire Building Society 168 2 19 18
Cambridge Building Society 919 12 139 135
Charter Court Financial Services 2,799 519 2,795 1,148
Close Brothers 4,916 72 392 495
Clydesdale 29,494 476 2,564 2,250
Co-operative 19,372 163 -672 960
Coventry Building Society 31,406 453 4,431 4,250
Cumberland Building Society 1,775 24 203 290
Dudley Building Society 256 5 32 34
FirstRand Bank 2,491 52 714 679
Furness Building Society 684 11 79 110
Hampshire Trust Bank 289 5 311 135
Hanley Economic Building Society 298 1 13 25
Hinckley & Rugby Building Society 500 13 121 108
Holmesdale Building Society 131 - 9 -
ICICI Bank 214 7 103 113
Investec Bank 3,640 292 454 635
Ipswich Building Society 399 10 79 45
Julian Hodge Bank 622 70 150 70
Leeds Building Society 12,132 375 2,756 1,225
Leek United Building Society 701 18 97 132
Lloyds Banking Group 398,534 -553 -6,101 19,927
Loughborough Building Society 228 -1 -4 11
Mansfield Building Society 257 5 33 46
Market Harborough Building Society 296 1 -29 45
Marsden Building Society 297 - - 15
Melton Mowbray Building Society 330 5 29 30
Metro Bank 4,576 890 3,982 3,801
Monmouthshire Building Society 799 11 19 59
National Counties Building Society 1,088 17 189 150
Nationwide Building Society 181,238 -157 8,339 17,000
Newbury Building Society 762 8 86 124
Newcastle Building Society 2,485 -10 189 311
Northern Bank 4,768 -70 154 350
Nottingham Building Society 2,909 64 443 588
OakNorth Bank 78 80 438 182
OneSavings Bank 4,923 395 1,920 1,500
Paragon Bank 10,598 75 415 944
PCF Bank 35 16 65 25
Principality Building Society 6,902 272 969 675
Progressive Building Society 1,429 6 42 50
RBS Group 214,889 111 15,225 19,000
Saffron Building Society 814 15 -35 41
Sainsbury's Bank 3,555 254 1,372 950
Santander 188,725 1,204 1,363 10,750
Secure Trust Bank 1,103 64 479 263
Shawbrook Bank 3,458 113 847 875
Skipton Building Society 13,739 504 2,012 1,850
Tandem Bank 188 -26 44 50
Teachers Building Society 212 4 20 30
Tesco Bank 9,070 571 2,680 1,339
Tipton & Coseley Building Society 294 2 -6 15
TSB Bank 27,876 82 5,109 6,470
Virgin Money 29,598 874 6,865 6,387
West Bromwich Building Society 4,779 36 222 461
Yorkshire Building Society 33,778 538 1,232 2,900

In line with the TFS Operating Procedures, Participants were required to audit their lending data following the closure of the drawdown window. These audits have led to some data revisions. Lending data and Borrowing Allowance figures are now considered to be final. No firms were asked to repay their drawings as a result of the data revisions.

More detailed data and data for the previous quarter are also available.

Note that data may not sum to the total due to rounding. Data may be subject to revisions. 

Withdrawn schemes

Information about previous Asset Purchase Facility Schemes can be found on the National Archives website.

The National Archives

This page was last updated 13 December 2018
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