ECB sets speaking guide for policymakers

The European Central Bank, in a clear response to a May communications mishap, agreed rules for Executive Board member meetings and speaking engagements.

The document, published on the ECB website, sets out three principles that show how the ECB safeguards transparent two-way communication between policy-makers and the general public as well as specialist audiences. The principles enshrine the ECB’s approach to ensuring that financial market-sensitive information is not disclosed to select groups. They also take into account the need for Executive Board members to have regular interactions with a wide range of counterparts in order to understand the dynamics of the economy and financial markets, and formulate good policy.

Things did not work out well for the ECB in May when a top ECB official presented investors at a select dinner in London with fresh details of the bank’s bond-buying program, handing the small group of investors a roughly 12-hour head start over the market. The new guidelines are clearly designed to prevent such market-moving, and extremelly embarrassing, mishaps from happening ever again.