Riksbank Chief’s Holdings Trigger Lawmakers’ Worry on Oversight
Swedish lawmakers need to reconsider their oversight of trading and ownership of financial assets by the nation’s top central bankers after recent reports may undermine public confidence in Riksbank, according to the head of the parliament’s finance committee.
Asa Westlund said in an emailed response to Bloomberg questions the present set-up of oversight “must be considered in the continued work.” Westlund also confirmed the finance committee at Riksdag, the parliament, is planning to summon the Riksbank governor after the findings.
“The entire committee should hear more about how the Governor views what has emerged in the media about the Executive Board’s own holdings and trading in shares and funds linked to the Riksbank’s actions in various markets, and what measures the Riksbank intends to take to safeguard public confidence in this regard,” she said.
Newspaper Svenska Dagbladet and Bloomberg News reported on Monday that Riksbank Governor Stefan Ingves and Deputy Governor Cecilia Skingsley both own individual shares in a number of firms whose corporate debt has been purchased under a quantitative-easing initiative the central bank launched last year.
A report by KPMG, dated June 11, said holdings of the central bank’s six board members should be controlled by the Riksdag, “which, from what we understand, does not happen today.” It recommended that the board members should also report their asset holdings to the Riksbank, undergoing similar controls as the central bank staffers.
Under the current system, the Riksbank’s management board members report their holdings to the parliamentary Secretariat of the Chamber, while the responsibility of oversight is with the General Council of the Riksbank, made up of 11 politicians that also appoint the central bank’s board members.
General Council Chair Susanne Eberstein didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg emails requesting a comment.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.