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Mark Carney Leaves Us for Bank of England

27 November 2012

Well, it’s finally happened. Back in May when it was first brought up that Mark Carney may be leaving us to go head the Bank of England, he refuted the idea saying he “wasn’t contemplating it.” Now he has, and he’s leaving.

It was announced yesterday, by the Bank of England Chancellor, George Osborne, that Carney was “simply the best, most experienced and most qualified person in the world” to take over England’s head bank, and help this region climb out of the financial mess it’s been in for the past several years. And they’re most likely not wrong.

Mark Carney has a flawless track record here in Canada, and unlike many who deal with politics and money on a daily basis, he has very few enemies here in Canada. Perhaps that’s because he’s worked so hard on improving the way our banks our run, and he’s done just enough with that interest rate and other fiscal policies to keep our economy from completely tanking at the height of the recession. Mr. Carney was even named the “21st Most Influential Person”in the world in 2010. It really is no wonder that the BoE has been after him for such a time.

Yes, he’s done a lot for us here and now other people have seen it and want in. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says that’s a good thing, and that it just shows that Canada has put forth a stellar example in politics and business that the rest of the world wants to follow.

“I appreciate the work (Carney) has done and the advice he has given to keep Canada’s economy strong, protect Canadian jobs and maintain the stability of our our monetary system,” Jim Flaherty said yesterday, after the announcement of Carney’s departure was made. “Canada’s economic and fiscal resilience during this period has been the strongest in the G7 and the envy of many in the international community.”

It’s the first time that the 318-year-old Bank of England will have a foreign governor. But Mark Carney says that he’s not all that foreign. Having both a wife and a child that hold citizenship here as well as across the pond, Carney said, “I’m not without ties to the United Kingdom.”

But why now? After all, we talked right on this blog before (way back in May, by the way) about how Mark Carney was getting offers to spearhead the Bank of England. And at that time, he denied it. So why the bluff?

“I’ve been asked about this before,” Carney stated, referring to the BoE position. “It’s been an on-and-off process. Every time I’ve been asked it’s been an ‘off’ process.”

Maybe that’s because he had enough to think about here at home. And maybe now that he’s gotten us on the right track, he needs to find something new, and perhaps a little more challenging.

The Bank of England will certainly give him that.

RBC Chief Economist, Craig Wright, pointed out all those different challenges England has. And he says he sees it as a wise move for the British to choose someone who’s not currently in their financial system.

“Part of the issue is in the U.K. a lot of the central banks and politicians have been tainted by the ongoing challenges in a period that’s been very slow and painful in terms of recovery,” says Wright. “It’s not just a bigger mandate in that the U.K., it’s a bigger economy. It’s also a broader mandate in terms of the whole regulatory environment.”

So this may be good news for those in Britain, but what about us here in Canada? What’s to become of our financial sector now that one of the main people responsible for it is leaving?

Canadian Chamber of Commerce head, Perrin Beatty, says that we have nothing to worry about.

“People recognize here it wasn’t a one-man show,” says Beatty. “It was a combination of the government’s policies and the quality of the people at the Bank of Canada.”

So, while we can be sad to see Mark Carney go, it should only be because we really are losing one of the greats, and we’re very thankful for all he’s done for us. Not because anyone believes our economy is now going to tank without his constant supervision.

Mark Carney will serve his last day at the Bank of Canada on June 1, 2013 with his new appointment at the Bank of England beginning on July 1, 2013.

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