20 September 2014

Buy bicycles! BofE's low-tech disaster recovery plan mocked

11 July 2012  |  6904 views  |  6 london- autumn

As disaster recovery plans go, it's certainly novel: The Bank of England allegedly contemplated buying up to half-a-dozen bicycles so that its officials could navigate around a riot-gripped City in the event of a full-scale financial meltdown.

The disclosure was made by the ex-City minister Lord Myners at a parliamentary debate on financial regulation in the wake of the Libor scandal.

A former member of the court of directors of the central bank, Lord Myners was questioning the wisdom of Coalition plans to pass control of financial regulation from the Financial Services Authority to the Bank of England.

"When I was a member of the court, I sat in on a meeting of the financial stability committee it would have been 2006 or 2007. One of the governors at that meeting proposed that as a mechanism to cope with crisis, the Bank should buy half a dozen or a dozen bicycles in order that members of the Bank could move swiftly and anonymously around the City."

He added: "This tells you a huge amount about where the Bank sits in terms of its understanding of the complexity of financial markets."

Finextra verdict: A low blow from Lord Myners, and certainly not justified. Here at Finextra Towers we're slightly ashamed at even giving the remarks the oxygen of publicity. But the eccentrically British idea of a fleet of heroic bowler-hatted central bankers rolling out of Threadneedle Street on their bicycles as the City goes up in flames in a last-gasp bid to save the day was just too hard to resist.

Comments: (6)

A Finextra member | 11 July, 2012, 13:18

A better idea might be a supply of windup tape recorders to record conversations with bank chief executives?

Elizabeth Lumley - Finextra - London | 11 July, 2012, 13:18

Although, is this any better than TFL's advice for Londoners during the Olympics?

I believe, 'cycle in' was number three of the list of suggesstions. After 'don't travel to and from work between 7:00 and 10:00 or 16:00 and 20:00' (O.....K) and 'try not to travel directly into work' (should I go via Birmingham then?)

A Finextra member | 11 July, 2012, 15:04

Is this the 1st of April? Bikes against the Financial Crisis or is my English that bad that I do not understand the message???

Maybe we should send some bikes to Greece instead of Euros if thats the solution...

Kind regards from Germany


Hansjörg Leichsenring


Elizabeth Lumley - Finextra - London | 11 July, 2012, 15:06

'On yer bikes! Greece!' ;-)

Colin Henderson - Bankwatch Consulting - Canada | 12 July, 2012, 05:17

In the midst of this rioting, where exactly are the heads of the BofE going to cycle to?  What about a basket for all that paperwork.

And did they include the cost of U locks to lock the bike when they get there, and trouser clips, lest those blue suits get oiled.

Lots of things to thnk about here!

A Finextra member | 12 July, 2012, 17:24

I would have thought anything which makes you look like a cycle courier in the event of a riot in the city would be a very bad idea indeed. One would have thought employees of the BoE would be aware of maxims extolling the virtues of learning lessons from history.

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