Lagarde Says ECB Reconsidering Lane’s Private Talks With Banks
(Bloomberg) -- European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde defended her chief economist’s controversial telephone conversations with banks and investors following policy decisions, but said “the format of the calls” is being reconsidered.
Reports late last year about Philip Lane’s discussions with analysts and investors sparked unease about the institution’s communication strategy. His schedule showed, for instance, that Lane held 11 such talks in the hours following a market-moving misstep by Lagarde at the March 12 press conference.
Lane’s most recent diary was published by the ECB on Friday, and showed he held teleconferences with eight different banks after a policy update on Oct. 29. The banks included Bank of America, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Societe Generale, and UniCredit.
“The calls followed a clear and structured approach in line with the ECB’s framework for interactions with representatives of the private sector, with ECB staff members always present during the entirety of these calls,” Lagarde said in a letter published Friday, written in response to a member of European Parliament.
She said exchanging views with investment banks or other financial market participants is important for the ECB “to deliver on its mandate,” as markets play a key role in the transmission of policy.
Lagarde also said that the ECB applied a “rotation principle” across analysts, allowing a wide range of institutions to participate. The ECB typically makes board members’ diaries public with a lag of two or three months.
“The ECB is continuously learning and reviewing its policies and practices with a view to making them as effective as possible -- this is also true for the field of communication,” she added. “To this end, the format of the calls you referred to is also being reconsidered.”
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