In the ten years since the global financial crisis, the public sector’s response has been led by a handful of senior policymakers occupying positions of significant influence over the financial industry and the rules it must follow. Among them, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi and Bank of England (BoE) Governor Mark Carney have been around since the beginning. Both, however, are due to leave their jobs in 2019, and selecting their successors is fast becoming one of the most important decisions out there to be made.
New leadership doesn’t only mean new personalities at the top, but also brings the opportunity for newly installed figures to set out their priorities, refresh the agenda of the institution they lead and kick-start negotiations or initiatives that may have become stalled under their predecessors.
In this respect, 2019 will be a year of massive institutional change in the financial policy world. In addition to the head of the ECB, which is already the subject of intense horse-trading between EU Member States, the ECB’s banking supervision arm (the Single Supervisory Mechanism) will get new leadership, and later this year the G20’s Financial Stability Board is expected to name a new Chair to lead global regulatory efforts. In Brussels, 2019 will also see European Parliament elections kick-off the formation of a new European Commission which will mean a new EU Commissioner for Financial Services taking office later in the year as well as a new Commission President.
As the focus of financial policymakers shifts from post-crisis repair to new initiatives (such as green finance) and safeguarding against emerging risks (like cyber-attacks), the focus and direction set by these new leaders will be vitally important to understand what the next ten years in regulatory reform will bring.
Financial market actors would do well to watch this space.
“The ECB head is one of the most important jobs in Europe, so you’re always going to have a chess game going on behind the scenes,” Andreas Freytag, chair for economic policy at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, said in a phone interview. “You’d hope that the best candidate would get the job, regardless of their nationality, but that’s not necessarily how Europe ticks.”’