Bank of England Securities Lending Committee expresses frustration with criticisms of seclending and short selling

Bank of England Securities Lending Committee
Minutes
04 February 2021

Members talked about the recent moves in Gamestop and the surge in retail trading activity. Concerns were shared about the short-selling headlines emanating from some of press coverage of these moves. Members expressed their disappointment that the benefits of short-selling and lending for price discovery and market liquidity were being drowned out by negative headlines on short-selling. There was discussion on whether the regulators e.g. FCA should make a public statement on the benefits of short-selling and securities lending to the market. Members unanimously agreed that a lot of time and resource had been deployed in educating regulators and market participants on the benefits of securities lending and short selling. There was concern that all this work could be undermined by the recent activity and associated press and social media coverage. Some members were worried that the discussion on securities lending was moving out of the economic arena and into the political one. Members shared their frustration that the securities lending industry was coming under criticism yet there was no medium or mechanism through which the industry could counter those arguments. It was agreed that discussion on this topic would continue at the next meeting.

The full minutes are available at https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/minutes/2021/securities-lending-committee-february-2021.pdf

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