Carney: five things to know

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Award-winning Canadian journalist and commentator Andrew Coyne, who has followed Mark Carney’s career closely and interviewed him several times, shares his thoughts on what you should know about the new Bank of England governor.

He’s not the saviour of the UK economy
“He’s more orthodox than people think, so I don’t think he’s going to breeze into the Bank of England and come up with some revolutionary thinking that will save the day immediately. The fact remains that the UK economy was badly hit by the crisis and it’s going to take some years to work through the recovery.”

He still has political ambitions back home
“In my view, he’s thinking beyond the next five years to a possible political career back in Canada. He therefore needs his time in the UK to be a success to help him realise those ambitions. “He had a dalliance with the Liberal Party in Canada while he was central bank governor which I think was a mistake. You could have had the head of the central bank joining the party opposing the government he once served, which would have been crazy. His time in the UK gives him the breathing space he needs to put that behind him.”

He’s a big fan of “first principles”
“He wants private risk for private profit. He does not want to socialise risk. He has a healthy disregard for the failings of some bankers and the potential damage that can cause to markets.”

He has a talent for explaining complex topics
“He’s a very skilled communicator and can talk about the most complex issues in a way that people can easily understand – a rare talent. It’s really important that he can do this because, with central banks adopting a number of left-field policies since the financial crisis, you need someone who can explain it all in an intelligible way and make clear that they’re not just making it up as they go along.”

He’s more sociable than most central bankers
“It’s important to remember that he’s a young guy for someone in his position. He’s a real charmer who can work a room. He completely charmed the press in Canada. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on with the more rapacious UK journalists.
“I believe he quite likes heavy metal too, and apparently he’s an Everton fan – although I have no idea if that’s a good or bad thing!”

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The statements and opinions expressed in this article are solely the views of Andrew Coyne speaking at an RBS Insight event on 3 July 2013 in London and do not necessarily represent the views of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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