Reserve Bank chief to see out term despite Bank of England talk

THE Reserve Bank governor, Glenn Stevens, is expected to serve out his term - due to end in September next year - despite British reports at the weekend that the central bank boss has been approached to take the top job at the Bank of England.

One of the world's top central bankers, Mr Stevens was reportedly among the contenders to become the next governor of the Bank of England to replace the present governor, Mervyn King, London's The Sunday Times newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.

However, it is understood Mr Stevens has not been approached by British officials, despite the news report saying informal discussions had taken place.

Mr Stevens has been at his post since September 2006 and is believed to be planning to serve out his full seven-year term, which expires on September 17, 2013.

A Reserve Bank spokesman declined to comment on the news report or on Mr Stevens's tenure.

Mr Stevens is scheduled to appear before a parliamentary committee this morning in Canberra.

It is highly unusual for a foreign citizen to head the central bank of another country. An exception in recent years has been the American Stanley Fischer, who is the head of Israel's central bank. To take the top job in 2005, Professor Fischer had to become an Israeli citizen and renounce his US citizenship.

Earlier this year, Canada's central bank chief, Mark Carney, was also reportedly approached for the Bank of England role.

The Bank of England governor will soon become Britain's most powerful public servant, assuming responsibility for not just monetary policy, but also monitoring of banks and prevention of financial crises.

It will be the new governor's job to lead the bank through reforms to the British regulatory system, ''including the transfer of new responsibilities that will see the bank take the lead in safeguarding the stability of the UK financial system'', the government's advertisement says.

The successful candidate must also demonstrate that he or she can ''lead, influence and manage the change in the bank's responsibilities, inspiring confidence and credibility both within the bank and throughout financial markets''.

Tomorrow the full list of applicants for the role will be seen by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and a decision is expected to be announced by the end of this year. The role will pay £302,000 ($478,000) a year.

The list of reported favourites to succeed Mr King includes the Bank of England's deputy governor, Paul Tucker; the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Adair Turner; the chairman of the Independent Commission on Banking, John Vickers; and the former head of the British civil service, Gus O'Donnell.

Sir Mervyn King will have been head of the bank for more than 11 years when he steps down in June.

Mr Stevens, who has helped steer Australia through the global financial crisis, was last month voted one of the world's best central bankers by Global Finance magazine.

He will have been in the role for seven years, which is the average length of the modern governor's term. It is the job of Australia's federal treasurer to appoint the Reserve Bank governor.

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