Bank for International Settlements sees first expansion since 2011

FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) are seen in Basel, Switzerland October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

LONDON (Reuters) - Central bank umbrella group, the Bank for International Settlements, is set to expand its ranks for first time since 2011 as part of a set of changes that will give emerging markets more prominence.

The BIS said its Board of Directors had invited the central banks of Kuwait, Morocco and Vietnam to join the institution based in Basel, Switzerland, which was set up in 1930 and currently has 60 members.

“Reviewing membership at regular intervals ensures that the membership base remains in keeping with the Bank’s global profile and its mandate to promote global monetary and financial stability,” Jens Weidmann, Chair of the BIS Board, said.

The BIS, set up in 1930, was instrumental in shipping gold from Europe to the safety of New York during World War Two, and was a favored forum for global monetary policymakers during the 1997 Asian crisis and the global financial crisis of 2007-2009.

In addition to the expansion, there was agreement at the BIS meeting to widen membership of two of the central bank committees based at the BIS.

The Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS), a central bank forum for monitoring and analyzing broad financial system issues, will invite Argentina, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Thailand to join. This will take the number of central bank members to 28.

The Markets Committee, which monitors financial market developments, will ask Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa and Turkey to join. This will swell its membership to 27 central banks.

GEM Chair Mark Carney said that, following the expansion, emerging market economies (EMEs) would make up about two fifths of the membership of each committee.

“Having a representative range of views on financial market and monetary matters will benefit the citizens of EMEs and advanced economies alike,” Carney said.

Reporting by Marc Jones; editing by Philippa Fletcher