Leeds hub is ‘critical component’ in Bank of England’s mission

Bank of England's chief operating officer Jo Place

Creating a northern hub in Leeds is a “critical component” for the Bank of England’s plan to “better deliver ambition” throughout the UK.

The Bank’s chief operating officer Jo Place has been leading a review of the Bank’s geographical footprint, which is considering aspects such as the number of staff involved, recruitment models, and the timescales for delivery.

The Bank of England revealed in April its intention to create a Northern hub in Leeds as part of Governor Andrew Bailey’s commitment to expand staff numbers across the UK.

Speaking at the Leeds Chamber annual dinner last night, Place said: “This is the start of our journey in Leeds, which will last for many, many years. It’s exciting for us because we believe it is a critical component in helping us better deliver ambition, through better representing the people we serve, which is the people of the UK.”

Although the Bank has had a presence in Leeds since 1827, the decision was a major coup for the city which is strengthening its cluster of financial institutions.

The Treasury has made Leeds the home of the National Infrastructure Bank, the Financial Conduct Authority is planning to put more than 100 staff in the city, and the Department for Work and Pensions is locating its second HQ at Quarry House.

This will add to the city’s existing strengths in financial and professional services and provide a boost to its growing fintech sector.

The Bank of England’s chief operating officer Jo Place spoke at the Leeds Chamber annual dinner

The geographical restructure is among the last things for Place to do before she retires after a 35-year career at the Bank.

Currently 98% of the Bank’s staff are located in the South East and her review “aims to reassess” this imbalance.

She said: “Back in April we announced our intention to expand the Bank’s presence around the UK, including a Leeds office. We’ve been in London for 327 years, our intention to expand is a serious investment for the long term.

“Building on our existing presence throughout the UK will help increase the trust and understanding of what the central bank does, and will allow us to gain access to a broader pool of diverse talent and enable us to recruit from the whole of the UK.”

Leeds Chamber’s president Mike Briffett called on businesses in the city to “be part of the skills solution”.

He added: “As a city we must ensure the employment opportunities being created are matched by a home grown, ambitious and talented workforce that is well informed, and will deliver the growth ambitions and expectations these organisations will expect having chosen to locate into the economic capital of Yorkshire.”