European, Chinese and Mexican central banks join BIS board

ECB governor Jean-Claude Trichet, People’s Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan and governor of the Bank of Mexico Guillermo Ortiz will join the current 17 members of the board – only 12 of which are permanent – from July 1 for a three-year period.

But a BIS spokeswoman told RiskNews there were no current plans to extend the tenure of the ECB or China beyond this initial period despite the importance of these economies to the international financial community. The ECB has controlled monetary policy for 12 euro countries since 1999.

“At present, it is the board’s intention to apply a policy of alternating or rotating these additional seats among non-G10 member central banks,” she said. “Under this policy, each non-G10 director would be elected for a three-year term of office, following which the board could elect a governor from another member central bank to the seat.”

According to the Basel-based BIS’ statutes, the governors of the central banks of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the UK plus the chairman of the US Federal Reserve all have permanent seats, and each may elect one other member of the same nationality to the board. Another nine members may be elected to the board at the directors’ discretion.

The BIS, an international organisation that fosters international monetary and financial co-operation between member central banks, has been expanding its general membership in recent years. Since 1996, it has increased the number of central bank members from 36 to 55, including many former Soviet-bloc and developing countries.

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