ECB Met With Goldman Sachs and Peers Before March Stimulus Boost

May 13, 2016

European Central Bank board members met with representatives of banks and investment managers including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., BlackRock Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Moore Europe Capital Management in February, records published on Friday showed.

The ECB has released the Executive Board’s diaries — with a three-month lag — since the start of this year under a drive to become more transparent. The latest edition covers part of the period between the Jan. 21 monetary policy meeting, when President Mario Draghi signaled the need for more stimulus, and the March 10 session when the ECB lowered interest rates and expanded a bond-buying program.

The documents don’t cover the weeklong “quiet period” before policy meetings, when board members are supposed to refrain from making comments that could influence expectations about monetary policy decisions.

The Frankfurt-based central bank is treading a fine line between keeping abreast of market sentiment and avoiding the perception that some participants get an unfair advantage from confidential meetings. While guidelines have been tightened in the past year after the inadvertent release of price-sensitive information at a dinner for financial professionals in May 2015, the subsequent risk of a disconnect was shown in December when markets sold off after the ECB announced a smaller stimulus package than investors had anticipated.

Economic Issues

ECB Vice President Vitor Constancio and markets chief Benoit Coeure each met with Goldman Sachs in Shanghai on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, respectively, the diaries show. The men were in the Chinese city for the Group of 20 meetings of finance ministers and central-bank governors. Coeure also met with Credit Suisse and BlackRock over those two days. The topics were described broadly as covering global economic and financial issues.

While Draghi’s diary is dominated by meetings with fellow central-bank heads and finance ministers, he also met with Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc on Feb. 3. to discuss European Union “economic and financial issues.”

Peter Praet, the ECB’s chief economist, met with Nomura, Germany’s Deka Group and Brussels-based BNP Paribas Fortis, as well visiting SGH Macro Advisers in New York. Other meetings included Yves Mersch with Roubini Global Economics and Moore Europe, Coeure with Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc and France’s Attali & Associes, and Constancio with Axa Group.

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