Bank of England Court faces shake-up

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The Independent Online

The independent directors at the Court of the Bank if England, an advisory body made up of some of the City's top names, are all set to resign, as the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, has called for the body to be slimmed down.

The Court provides non-monetary policy advice to the central bank and is made up of 16 independent directors, the Governor of the Bank, Mervyn King, and his two deputies. It meets at least once a month.

The independent directors are preparing to step down after a Bill relating to the Bank's statutory responsibility for financial stability is passed, according to sources close to the Bank. The changes were outlined by Mr Darling in a letter to John McFall, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, saying the Court should be "streamlined".

If the Bill is passed, the number of independent directors will be halved, although the incoming head of the Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner, will be given a post. It is unclear how many of the current directors will stand for re-election.

Members include Bob Wigley, chairman of Merrill Lynch's European, Middle East and Africa operations, the outgoing Vodafone chairman, Arun Sarin, the former Marks & Spencer chairman Paul Myners, and Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress.

The Court advises on the Bank's strategy, and ensures its resources are efficiently used.