LONDON (Reuters) - Bank of England Governor Mark Carney sought to show he understood the severity of a conflict of interest case that cost one of his deputies her job last week, but he also said the case should not inadvertently lead to tighter rules for bankers.
Carney, speaking at a conference on ethics and banking on Tuesday, said the BoE would learn lessons from the “unfortunate events” that led to Charlotte Hogg announcing her resignation.
In an embarrassment for Carney, Hogg stood down as deputy governor for markets and banking and as the BoE’s chief operating officer after failing to disclose that her brother worked for Barclays (BARC.L), a bank overseen by the BoE.
“For those who have questioned whether we ‘get it’, we do. We know this honest mistake was also a serious mistake - one that was compounded by the fact that Charlotte Hogg had overseen the development of our new code (of conduct),” Carney said.
The BoE had given Hogg a formal warning “in the strongest and most public of terms” and she waived her salary increase for this year, Carney said. Hogg eventually decided to leave her job after lawmakers said she was not fit for the role.
The central bank has also launched a widespread review into its response to the Hogg case.
But the BoE did not want the episode to lead to tougher de facto rules for the banking industry, Carney said, stressing that “an honest mistake that is freely admitted” should not be an automatic firing offense.
“We must not let recent events inadvertently tighten perceived standards for the industry because that could have senior managers running scared, drive compliance underground and undermine our collective objectives,” he said.
Bank chief executives and chairmen had been concerned that Hogg’s departure could lead to unintended consequences when he spoke to them after Hogg’s resignation last week, Carney said.
At the time of her resignation, Carney made it clear he did not agree with the view of lawmakers that Hogg was unsuitable to continue in her role at the Bank.
Carney has led a global push to reduce risk and improve standards in the banking industry in response to the global financial crisis of 2007-09.
Reporting by Andy Bruce and William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken