The Sterling Monetary Framework

The framework for how we operate in the sterling money markets is called the Sterling Monetary Framework.

The Sterling Monetary Framework is explained in our Red Book. More information about the Sterling Monetary Framework can be found in the additional documents below:


In August 2018 the Bank published a discussion paper on the Bank of England’s future balance sheet and framework for controlling interest rates. The Bank intends to engage a wide range of market practitioners and experts in this dialogue, including participants in the Sterling Monetary Framework (SMF participants), to learn more about the demand for reserves over time and plans to update on the findings from this initial stage of work in publications and speeches.

PDFThe Bank of England’s future balance
sheet and framework for controlling
interest rates

The number of firms participating in the Sterling Monetary Framework (as at 13 September 2018) are:

Sterling Monetary Framework 207
Reserves accounts and Operational Standing Facilities 197
Open market operations 97
Discount Window Facility

155

Schedule of Sterling Monetary Framework operations

The table below outlines when our Sterling Monetary Framework market operations will normally take place.

We reserve the right to change the dates or frequency of these operations in light of bank holidays or developments in market conditions.

Operation Day Time
Index Long-Term Repos Tuesday (once per month) 10am to 10:30am
Operational Standing Facilities Monday to Friday (on demand) Until 6.10pm (6.20pm on the last day of the maintenance period)
Discount Window Facility Monday to Friday (on demand) Participants are advised to contact us by noon if they wish to make a drawing on the same day

Reserves accounts

Reserves accounts at the Bank of England are effectively instant-access accounts for firms that participate in the Sterling Monetary Framework. We pay interest at Bank Rate on these reserves. This means that overnight market rates stay close to Bank Rate, as there is no incentive for banks to borrow from or lend to each other at rates much different from Bank Rate. 

The reserves accounts are held in our  Real Time Gross Settlement system. Whenever payments are made between customers at different banks, they are ultimately settled by transferring central bank money (reserves) between the reserves accounts of those banks.

Reserves balances can be varied freely to meet day-to-day liquidity needs, for example to accommodate unexpected payment flows. In this way, reserves balances can be used as a liquidity buffer. The funds held in reserves accounts are therefore considered ‘liquid assets’ for the purpose of the Prudential Regulation Authority's liquidity requirements.

PDFReserves accounts quick reference guide

For technical/operational inquiries call +44 (0) 20 3461 5999 or email PSCreservesteam@bankofengland.co.uk

Operational Standing Facilities

Our Operational Standing Facilities (OSFs) allow firms to deposit reserves with or borrow reserves directly from us. Currently we apply the following rates to these two facilities:

  • borrowing through OSF lending: 1.0%
  • placing reserves with us through OSF deposits: 0.5%.

The OSFs helps limit volatility in interest rates by encouraging firms to borrow from us instead of the market if rates stray too far from Bank Rate. It also allows firms to manage unexpected payment problems that arise due to technical issues with their own systems or in the market-wide payments and settlement infrastructure. When firms borrow reserves via the OSFs, the loan is collateralised by Level A collateral. The deposit facility is uncollateralised.

We do not publish data on individual Operational Standing Facilities transactions. We publish aggregate data on OSFs drawings on the third Wednesday of the following maintenance period on the Bank of England Database.

PDFOperational Standing Facilities quick reference guide

Discount Window Facility

Our Discount Window Facility (DWF) is a bilateral on-demand service for firms experiencing either a firm-specific or market-wide shock. It allows firms to borrow highly liquid assets in return for less liquid collateral. This lending can be large in size and for a variable term.


We do not publish data on individual transactions within the Discount Window Facility. We update aggregate data on DWF drawings on the first Tuesday following the final working day of the calendar quarter, five quarters ahead.

Indexed Long-Term Repo operations

We offer funds to firms via an Indexed Long-Term Repo operation on a regular basis, usually once a calendar month. Normally, we offer funds with a six-month maturity. The rates charged on lending are indexed to Bank Rate. Participants are able to borrow against three collateral sets: levels A, B and C. The operation takes place as an auction in which firms bid for the size of borrowing they want.

More information on our Indexed Long-Term Repo operations is available in the Red Book.


Indexed Long-Term Repo results

Contingent Term Repo Facility

Our Contingent Term Repo Facility (CTRF) is a contingency liquidity facility that we can activate in response to exceptional actual or prospective market-wide stress. The CTRF enables us to provide additional sterling liquidity to the market, against the full range of collateral. We set the terms of the CTRF each time it is deployed, via a market notice including the size, term, frequency and price.


Gilt Purchase Open Market Operations (Currently suspended)

A time series of the results of all the gilt purchase open market operations (OMOs) is found below.  Summary data can also be found on a separate tab, which groups the purchases into short, medium or long maturity buckets.

ExcelGilt OMOs by operation

Apply to participate in the Sterling Monetary Framework

The following types of institution can apply to take part in the Sterling Monetary Framework (SMF):

  • banks and building societies that are authorised to take deposits in the UK
  • investment firms designated for prudential supervision by our  Prudential Regulation Authority (referred to as ‘broker-dealers’)
  • central counterparties operating in UK markets, which are authorised under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) or recognised by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA).

More information is available in the Sterling Monetary Framework Eligibility Criteria and Terms and Conditions.

We also have guidance for new banks on access to the Sterling Monetary Framework.

Each applicant for SMF facilities should complete the following application form, and provide the additional information requested on page one.

PDFSterling Monetary Framework application form

Sterling Monetary Framework documentation:


Applicants will need to provide a completed authorised signatory evidence form along with the application form. We have prepared guidance for applicants on the evidence required to support your authorised signatory evidence form.


We may need you to provide a capacity opinion or a capacity and country opinion in connection with your application:


If the applicant is not the primary entity in its group, we may require a guarantee and an associated legal opinion to be provided:


The legal documentation governing participation in our operations under the Sterling Monetary Framework also includes:

  • The Admission Letter we send to participants as part of the application process, containing details of information that you need to send us.
  • The Commencement Letter we send to participants once we have accepted them into the SMF.
  • Any relevant Market Notice, which we publish from time to time.
For queries on applying to participate in the Sterling Monetary Framework, contact the applications team on  +44 (0) 20 3461 5928 or email applications@bankofengland.co.uk.

How are market operations carried out?

Our electronic tendering system, Btender, is used to carry out all open market operations. All counterparties that sign up to Indexed Long-Term Repo operations must use Btender. You will also require access to SWIFTnet.


To contact the Sterling desk, call +44 (0) 20 3461 5000 or email Markets-SMDDealers@bankofengland.co.uk.

This page was last updated 29 November 2018
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