With monetary policy taking on ever more importance in the years following the 2008 financial crisis, many working in financial services would have relished being a fly on the wall of the grandiose halls where key rates and easing decisions have been made.
It would be, one would say, quite something to have the inside scoop on how the Bank of England works, and it is something that former Bank of England staffer Jon Cunliffe says gave him the insight into capital markets that he has used throughout his career.
Now chief investment officer at Charles Stanley, Cunliffe spent the first five years of his career working within the bank from 1989. Just one year in, the first Gulf War broke out.
“That taught me quite a lot about how financial institutions can come under stress when liquidity dries up so I learnt quite early on how a liquidity problem can morph into a solvency problem, essentially when these banks were forced to sell assets below their market value to raise liquidity – so that was quite instructive,” he says.
His time at the bank merely instilled in Cunliffe the desire to work in asset management, he says, with his experience in the department responsible for issuing gilts to the market setting him up for a 20-year career in fixed income.
“That was at a time when the bank was responsible for issuing gilts into the market but also dealing with the market as well, so that was quite a good insight into the functioning of capital markets from first-hand experience in a fairly safe environment,” he said. “It really crystallised within me the desire to go off and become a fund manager.”
Not keen on the so-called ‘econometrics’ the bank began to focus on as it slimmed down operations in the 1990s, Cunliffe used his experience to nab a role as a sterling fixed income manager.