Minutes of the Wholesale Distribution Steering Group – April 2021

The Wholesale Distribution Steering Group have the objective of overseeing the design of a new end-state model for wholesale cash distribution. This is to support the UK in an environment of declining cash volumes.
Published on 04 May 2021

Date of meeting: 20 April 2021 | Location: This meeting took place via audio link


Item 1 – Standing agenda items

March 2021 minutes:

The group agreed the March 2021 minutes, and approved their publication

Sharing information on stakeholder management

The Bank noted a recent article that was published in the Times covering the wholesale work. A number of WDSG members had been contacted by the journalist as well as the Bank’s press office.

Item 2 – Next phase of work

Update on progress and next steps

Eversheds provided a progress update and thanked members for their participation in the work since the last meeting. Focus had been on establishing the contractual arrangements and supporting legal documentation. Members have also agreed that a clean team will be required to facilitate the sharing of sensitive information through the next phase of work. Details of how the clean team will work were being considered.

Legal documentation update

The legal documentation underpinning the next phase of the work, including the KPMG terms of engagement were currently being finalised, and expected to be agreed this week.

Project kick-off five week plan

The project director presented an indicative timeline to the group and noted that all of the activities were on track. A detailed work plan is under construction, which builds upon the original KPMG scope of work. This will be presented to the group at the next meeting, alongside the project deliverables and clean team requirements, for agreement.

Proposed high level governance and communications plan

Members agreed that the proposed governance structure to streamline decision making was appropriate. The Industry Escalation Meeting (IEM) will meet on a weekly basis through the next phase to consider the various outputs, and to escalate any issues or risks to WDSG.

Frequency of WDSG meetings for agreement

Members agreed with the proposal for WDSG to meet on a fortnightly basis through the next phase of work. Additional meetings could be scheduled if required.

Item 3 – WDSG Terms of Reference

The Bank had conducted a legal review of the Terms of Reference and considered where amendments were necessary. The Bank outlined the changes that were proposed and invited members to review the changes which had been circulated to the group. These mainly related to the new governance structure for the next phase of the work. The Terms of Reference further clarified that any model would not proceed without being subject to without the CMA having given its clearance for any merger situation, whether subject to undertakings or conditions or otherwise. Members were asked to provide any proposed changes to the Bank so these could be incorporated into the final version.

The finalised document would be agreed at the next meeting of the WDSG.

Item 4 – HMT Update from JACS

HMT reported that it was committed to supporting access to cash and that it had a unified approach to both retail and wholesale cash policy. It supports the work of the WDSG in developing an efficient and resilient wholesale cash distribution infrastructure that is sustainable.

On retail cash, a call for evidence had been published last year to gather views from a range of stakeholders on the changing cash landscape, and complexity of the current cash infrastructure.

HMT explained that a broad set of legislative options is available to support access to cash and wholesale cash infrastructure, noting that progress by the group on the detail of a wholesale cash utility will be needed before these options can be considered further for wholesale cash.

Item 5 – Review Action Log

Actions were reviewed and closed where applicable

Item 6 – AOB


Committee attendees

Bank of England: Sarah John (Chair), Nick Butt, Elisabeth Bertalanffy-Fournier, Ronan McClintock, Camilla Pegg, Molly Galligan

Eversheds: Ros Kellaway, Trystan Richards, Russell Saunders, Mark McLintock

Barclays: Tim Allen

HSBC: Sue Yarham

Lloyds Banking Group: Martin Barrett

Post Office: Russell Hancock

Natwest: Adam Bailey

Santander UK: Robert White

HM Treasury: Derek Dunne

Virgin Money: Derek Walker

Danske: Kevin McMullan

G4S: Paul Van Der Knapp

Vaultex: Phil Vaughan

Royal Mint: Andrew Mills


Julie Fitzgibbon (BOI), John Garrett (AIB), Richard Talbot (Natwest), Azin Roussos (HM Treasury), Anne Jessopp (Royal Mint)