Norges Bank

Rules of procedure for Norges Bank’s Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee

Contents

Purpose

I. Powers and duties

II. Composition

III. Meetings – Convening and documentation

IV. Proceedings and keeping minutes

V. Delegation of powers – contingency authority

VI. Governor and Deputy Governors

VII. Committee position – responsibilities, impartiality, ethical rules, duty of confidentiality etc

VIII. Other provisions

IX. Attachment

 

Purpose

These rules of procedure contain rules for organising the work of the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee and cover inter alia the Committee’s duties, the conduct of meetings and of business and the keeping of minutes.

I. Powers and duties

1-1 The Committee’s powers and duties[1]

The Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee (“the Committee”) is responsible for Norges Bank’s role as executive and advisory monetary policy authority and for the use of policy instruments to attain the monetary policy objectives.

The Committee shall contribute to the promotion of financial stability by providing advice and using the policy instruments at its disposal.

In special cases, the Committee may, in order to perform its duties under the first and second paragraphs, deviate from decisions of, or guidelines laid down by, the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall to the extent possible be invited to offer its opinion before such decisions are made.

The Committee shall inform the public of decisions made by the Committee and the basis for such decisions.

The Committee shall be invited to offer its opinion prior to the Executive Board’s deliberation of matters pertaining to the duties and responsibilities of the Committee[2], including prior to the adoption of financial crisis contingency plans.[3]

A further delineation of the Committee’s responsibilities and duties appears in the attached Division of responsibilities between Norges Bank’s Executive Board and the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee, as laid down on 9 January 2020 by the Executive Board in consultation with the Committee.

The Committee lays down further principles for its working method and communication.

Each year, the Committee discusses and evaluates its role and working method.

II. Composition

2-1 Members

The Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee comprises the Governor, the two Deputy Governors and two external members appointed by the King in the Council of State.

The Governor is the chair of the Committee, with the Deputy Governors as first deputy chair and second deputy chair, respectively (Section 2-6, Sub-section 2, of the Central Bank Act).

III. Meetings – Convening and documentation

3-1 Meetings, convening and agenda

The Committee chair convenes meetings of the Committee in accordance with the adopted meeting calendar (cf Section 3-2).

The Committee chair otherwise convenes meetings of the Committee as often as deemed desirable or when at least two members request that a matter be considered for a decision or preparatory consideration.

The agenda and discussion documents shall normally be attached to the meeting notice .

The Committee chair shall ensure consideration of relevant matters within the remit of the Committee.

The Committee chair sets the agenda.

The Committee may also deliberate matters that do not appear on an agenda.

3-2 Meeting calendar.

The Committee sets an annual calendar (calendar wheel) for its meetings, including monetary policy meetings, preparatory meetings and meetings to discuss advice on the countercyclical capital buffer and other periodic matters. 

Policy rate decisions, or other important decisions on the use of monetary policy instruments, will normally be made at monetary policy meetings. The dates for publishing policy rate decisions in accordance with the calendar wheel for the coming year are announced after deliberation by the Committee.

3-3 Discussion documents

The Governor prepares matters for the Committee[4] and initials discussion documents approved for distribution.

Matters for discussion shall normally be presented in writing, but matters may be presented orally, if circumstances dictate. Discussion documents presented for a decision shall contain relevant facts and assessments and shall conclude with a recommended decision (cf Section 4-3 on minutes).

3-4 Distribution of discussion documents

The discussion documents include an agenda and presentation of individual items of business with any attachments. Discussion documents are normally made available to members no later than five days prior to a meeting. Matters are made available electronically unless otherwise determined for security reasons or other considerations. Matters that are classified or confidential or strictly confidential shall be deliberated in accordance with the external and internal rules in force at the time in question[5] for the treatment of such documents.

The discussion documents are listed on the agenda with their own item number and are deliberated at the meeting. Documents or other material for information may be distributed along with the discussion documents.

IV. Proceedings and keeping minutes

4-1 General

The proceedings of the Committee shall be conducted at meetings. A meeting means a physical meeting, where the members are present in the same room.[6] In special cases, the Governor may nonetheless decide that a matter may be deliberated in writing or in another adequate manner, unless a member requires such matter to be deliberated at a meeting.[7]

Employees of the administration may attend meetings as needed, unless otherwise decided.

4-2 Decision basis and quorum

After an evaluation of discussion documents etc, the Committee may come to a decision on a matter, or decide that the deliberation of a matter is to be postponed. The Committee chair may withdraw a matter that has been proposed, unless two or more Committee members oppose this (cf Section 3-1, second paragraph).

The Committee is quorate when at least three members participate in the proceedings of the Committee. A vote takes place at the request of a voting member. A decision by the Committee shall require more than half of the committee members who participated in the deliberation of the matter to have voted in favour of the decision (Section 2-8, Sub-section 2, of the Central Bank Act).

4-3 Minutes

The Committee shall keep minutes of its meetings, including preparatory meetings.[8] The minutes shall state the meeting date, the members present and the members participating in the deliberation of each matter. They shall further state who else was present when a particular matter was deliberated.

Minutes of the proceedings are taken item by item. The heading, an introduction, if any, and the Committee’s decision shall briefly summarise what the item pertains to. Documentation that sheds further light on the decision may be attached to the minutes.

Unless the Committee reaches a different decision, the matter is noted. This implies that the Committee has deliberated the matter and has no comment, unless this is expressed in the decision. The minutes may also report that purely informational matters have been noted.

A Committee member may require to have his or her view recorded in the minutes. The outcome of votes, including comments or dissents with a brief justification where required, shall be recorded in the minutes.  

Draft minutes are sent to the members for comment a short time after the meeting and presented for final approval at the next meeting. Only what appears in the final minutes is regarded as having been approved or deliberated by the Committee, and approved minutes may only be amended by new deliberations by the Committee.

The minutes of each meeting are sent to the Supervisory Council and the Ministry of Finance once they are approved[9].

4-4 Publication of and information about the Committee’s decisions

The Committee shall inform the public of decisions made by the Committee and the basis for such decisions.[10] The Committee shall inter alia publish its assessments and reasoning for the Bank’s conduct of policy and advice in the Committee’s areas. In other respects, the Committee decides which decisions should be published and the time and manner of publication.[11] The policy rate decision is announced at a fixed predetermined time along with information on the grounds for the decision. Comments or dissents in policy rate matters recorded in the minutes are published along with the Committee’s overall assessments.

Similarly, comments or dissents recorded in the minutes will be included in the Bank’s letter to the Ministry of Finance with advice on the countercyclical capital buffer.

The Committee shall report on its activities annually.

The Governor speaks on behalf of the Committee externally.

4-5 Disclosure and access to discussion documents etc

Distributed discussion documents are exempt from public disclosure under Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act regarding an administrative agency’s internal documents. Approved recordings in the minutes of individual matters where deliberation has been finalised are subject to public disclosure unless they are exempt therefrom under the rules on exemptions for confidential information or the document’s contents. Discretionary disclosure, if applicable, is practised in consultation with responsible persons at the Bank.

Approved minutes from the Committee are published on the Bank’s website insofar as they are not exempt from public disclosure, and at the same time publication is announced on the Bank’s intranet. 

V. Delegation of powers – contingency authority

5-1 Powers

The Committee may specifically authorise the Governor to decide matters within the remit of the Committee (cf Section 2-8, Sub-section 3, of the Central Bank Act). The Governor may also decide a matter when it is necessary for a decision to be made swiftly, and it would be impracticable or too time-consuming to convene the Committee. The Governor shall inform the Committee in writing of the decision as soon as possible.[12]

The decision to confer authority shall state whether that authority may be delegated.

When it is required for managing a crisis or for reasons of security or contingency, the Governor may, in specified areas, delegate his or her authority to the responsible director or to a specially designated responsible person.

VI. Governor and Deputy Governors

6-1 Governor

The Governor is responsible for the day-to-day management of Norges Bank’s activities and ensures that the Committee’s decisions are carried out.

6-2 Deputy Governors

The Deputy Governors are the first and second deputy chairs of the Committee, respectively. They act in the Governor’s stead in the Governor’s absence[13], and then exercise the Governor’s authority.

VII. Committee position – responsibilities, impartiality, ethical rules, duty of confidentiality etc

7-1 Committee members’ responsibilities

Committee members have an individual responsibility for discharging the Committee’s duties.

7-2 Impartiality and ethical principles

The impartiality rules in the Public Administration Act apply to Committee members. Moreover, the Ministry of Finance has laid down special provisions on members’ relationships with other undertakings[14] (see the Ministry of Finance’s Supplementary provisions on impartiality etc for members of Norges Bank’s Executive Board and Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee (“the Impartiality Rules”) of 20 December 2019)

“Ethical principles for employees of Norges Bank” laid down by the Executive Board as a supplement to the regulation apply to the Governor and Deputy Governors.

“Ethical principles for the external members of Norges Bank’s Executive Board and Committee” laid down by the Executive Board as a supplement to the regulation apply to the Committee’s external members. The individual Committee members should insofar as is possible notify the Committee chair or secretariat if the person in question, when receiving discussion documents or in another manner, sees that he or she may be disqualified for the deliberation of a matter.

The question of impartiality is decided by the Committee without the participation in the decision of the person concerned[15].

A Committee member who is disqualified in a matter shall not participate in the deliberation of the matter. If the member has nonetheless participated in the deliberation, a decision in the matter under the circumstances would have to be regarded as invalid.

The Committee may excuse a member from the deliberation of a matter when the member concerned so wishes for personal reasons and there are circumstances resembling a conflict of interest.

7-3 Duty of confidentiality

Committee members shall sign a separate confidentiality undertaking and shall be obliged to prevent others from gaining access to or knowledge of any information that comes to their knowledge as Committee members with regard to the business affairs of the Bank or others or the personal affairs of anyone (Section 5-2 of the Central Bank Act).

The Committee may, irrespective of the duty of confidentiality, disclose information on the business affairs of Norges Bank that pertain only to the remit of the Committee (cf Section 5-2, Sub-section 3, of the Central Bank Act). The same applies to anyone authorised to do so by the Committee.

VIII. Other provisions

8-1 Remuneration

Remuneration for the external Committee members is determined by the Ministry of Finance (Section 2-6, Sub-section 5, of the Central Bank Act). Refunds of expenses are subject to the Bank’s rules.

8-2 Amendments

Material amendments to these rules of procedure are decided by the Committee. Technical updates and editorial adjustments may be made by the Committee chair, with subsequent information to the Committee.

IX. Attachment

Division of responsibilities between Norges Bank’s Executive Board and the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Committee, as laid down by the Executive Board on 9 January 2020 in consultation with the Committee.

Footnotes

[1] Cf in particular Section 2-7 of the Central Bank Act.

[2] Section 2-5, Sub-section 5, of the Central Bank Act.

[3] Section 2-4, Sub-section 8, of the Central Bank Act.

[4] Section 2-8, Sub-section 5, of the Central Bank Act.

[5] Cf eg the Security Act and the Information Protection Instructions.

[6] See Prop. 97 L (2018-2019), page 148. 

[7] Section 2-8, Sub-section 1, of the Central Bank Act.

[8] Section 2-8, Sub-section 4, of the Central Bank Act.

[9] Section 4-3, Sub-section 3, of the Central Bank Act.

[10] Section 2-7, Sub-section 4, of the Central Bank Act.

[11] See Prop. 97 L page 149, second column, first paragraph, on Section 2-7, Sub-section 4, of the Central Bank Act.

[12] Section 2-8, Sub-section 3, of the Central Bank Act (cf Prop 97 L, page 149 – 150)

[13] See Prop. 97 L, page 52, first column.

[14] Section 2-6, Sub-section 4, of the Central Bank Act.

[15] See Section 8, second paragraph, of the Public Administration Act: “In collegiate bodies the decision shall be made by the body itself, without the participation of the member concerned.”

 

This document has been issued in Norwegian, and this is an unofficial translation. In the event of any inconsistency, the Norwegian version shall prevail.

Published 20 April 2021 18:10
Published 20 April 2021 18:10