Minutes of the Meeting of the Court of Directors held on 2 December 2021

The Bank's Court of Directors acts as a unitary board, setting the organisation's strategy and budget and taking key decisions on resourcing and appointments. Required to meet a minimum seven times per year, it has five executive members from the Bank and up to nine non-executive members.
Published on 23 February 2022

Present:

Mr Fried, Chair

The Governor

Mr Broadbent, Deputy Governor – Monetary Policy

Sir Jon Cunliffe, Deputy Governor – Financial Stability

Sir Dave Ramsden, Deputy Governor – Markets & Banking

Mr Woods, Deputy Governor – Prudential Regulation

Ms Glover

Baroness Harding

Mr Kalifa

Ms Noble

Ms Thompson

In attendance:

Ms Place, Chief Operating Officer

Apologies:

Ms O’Grady

Secretary:

Mr Footman / Ms McCarthy

1. Minutes and Matters Arising

The Chair welcomed Ben Stimson to the meeting ahead of taking up his role as Chief Operating Officer, in succession to Jo Place who was retiring after 35 years. Court thanked Jo Place for her contribution in that role and over her long career in the Bank.

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 October were approved.

There were no conflicts declared in relation to the present agenda.

2. RemCo Update

Dido Harding provided an update on RemCo’s most recent meeting.

3. ARCo Update

Dorothy Thompson reported on recent topics at ARCo. On the cyber update, good progress continued to be made but in one area there needed to be an exercise in raising awareness.

The Chair said that later in the year Court would have an opportunity to review Matters Reserved to Court, which set out the decisions and policies that required Court approval. Dorothy Thompson added that a presentation on the Bank’s plan and strategy for HR would be taken by ARCo and would come to Court in due course.

4. Regional update

(Jo Place, Tani Hussain, Simon Heywood, David Shepherd and Hehtal Patel)

Court discussed the Bank’s proposed northern hub. Court agreed objectives and key milestones, which would be announced in due course.

5. Finance

(Afua Kyei, Paul McArdle and Jane Tucker)

(a) 22/23 Budget and DG Targets

(b) High Level multi-year plan

Afua Kyei outlined the 2022/23 budget and DG targets. Finance had taken account of feedback received at the previous Court meeting. They had adjusted the balance between the strategic priorities, BAU and investment, and allowed for some uplifts in support functions on a targeted basis. The budget recognised the strategic focus on delivering key projects, but the investment budget was flat on a headline basis.

6. Post-Brexit stocktake – Financial Regulation

(Sam Woods and Hugh Burns)

Hugh Burns highlighted the changed scope of the Bank’s responsibilities post-Brexit. Previously for banks and insurers the rules had been determined at a European level, so there had been an increase in the scope of the Bank’s responsibilities. Accountability and new objectives – for example a new secondary objective for PRA and FCA to promote long run growth and competitiveness – and an expanded rule-making role would likely lead to developments in how our work is scrutinised. There were opportunities for reform so as to better tailor the regime for the UK, while ensuring no weakening in standards or the framework that might pose risks to the objectives as well as to the perceived credibility and independence of the PRA.

The Chair asked about scrutiny. In the context of Basel III there had been discussions on increased accountability – an opportunity to show clearly how we have considered growth in designing regulations, and for Parliament to consider any tensions and confront financial stability risks. It would also be important to retain the UK’s standing abroad as a jurisdiction known for high quality and independent regulators, which in turn supports our ability to shape international standards and London’s status as a global financial centre. Sam Woods said that Court’s main interest in this issue was in making sure we came through this with an organisation that functioned effectively, including by being able to respond quickly to developments in the financial system and wider economy.

7. Bank policy on personal financial transactions

(John Footman, Kathy McCarthy and Sebastian Walsh)

Sebastian Walsh noted the issues that had surfaced last year at the Federal Reserve, leading to resignations at two of the regional Fed presidents and subsequently a significantly tighter set of rules for the Fed system as a whole. The focus now was on other central banks. Our own rules were relatively strict but the new Fed rules could be considered to have set a new benchmark.

Court agreed that we should re-evaluate our policy to ensure we are at best practice.

The Chair asked Sebastian Walsh and John Footman to consider carefully and come back to Court with proposals.

8. New performance and salary review process

(Jo Place, Jane Cathrall, David Bailey and Gemma Kirby)

Following two years in which performance ratings had been suspended on account of the Covid disruption, Court noted plans for a new performance approach. The aim was to encourage high-quality feedback and constructive development discussions as well as providing a basis for reviewing pay. There would also be more emphasis on values and behaviours. In response to questions about calibration, consistency and fairness, Jane Cathrall said that there would be revised training and monitoring from the centre, looking for anomalies and ensuring accountability from Executive Directors. Diana Noble commented that most progressive firms now expected very regular feedback so that the end year rating becomes part of an ongoing process of performance development. Jane Cathrall agreed – there was a focus on continuous learning and feedback, which would continue in the wider review of performance management taking place in 2022.

9. Social mobility

(Jane Cathrall, Paul Wright, Amy Sinclair, Jess Beynon, Rachel Butler and Sian Jones)

As part of the Bank’s Strategic Priory 6 – “Building a diverse and inclusive Bank” – Paul Wright set out the immediate priorities of the social mobility team. These included building the number of apprenticeships and other forms of non-graduate recruitment; communication and engagement both inside the Bank and outside; and improving monitoring and benchmarking. Broadening the ways in which we attracted talent would build a more diverse and inclusive Bank.

10. End-user computing tender

(Oliver Tweedie, Eugenia Planas, Matt Green, Megan Searson and Simon Timms)

Following an extensive procurement exercise, Court approved the award of the End-User Computing Services Contract to Unisys.

11. Court minute redactions

(John Footman)

Court reviewed the published (but redacted) set of its minutes from 2019 and, consistent with recent practice, agreed further de-redactions given that three years had passed since first publication.

12. Committee appointments and Conflicts

(John Footman)

Court noted recent disclosures and the progress of current appointments

13. Papers for Information

Court noted:

  • Monetary Policy Report
  • 12 month forward planner

The meeting of Court was closed.

These minutes are published as the record of meeting as required by the Bank of England Act 1998 as amended. Court may decide to omit information from the record in the public interest. The record of matters reported to Court may also omit information which is legally sensitive or commercially confidential.

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