The Bank of Canada has named Carolyn Rogers as senior deputy governor, putting a veteran financial regulator with experience tackling overheating housing markets in the No. 2 position at the central bank.
Ms. Rogers will become Governor Tiff Macklem’s chief lieutenant, leading the bank’s strategic planning, helping craft monetary policy and playing a prominent role overseeing financial market stability. She succeeds Carolyn Wilkins, who left the role late last year.
The seven-year appointment was made at a crucial moment for the central bank. Mr. Macklem’s team faces the delicate task of shepherding the economy through the pandemic with ultralow interest rates and government bond buying while trying to avoid runaway inflation and a buildup of financial system risks, particularly in the residential mortgage market.
Ms. Rogers will bring a financial stability focus to the bank, having worked at increasingly senior levels of Canadian and international financial regulation. She is currently secretary-general of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, which helps co-ordinate global financial regulation. Her new role with the Bank of Canada begins mid-December, giving her time to wrap up her work at the Basel Committee and relocate with her family to Ottawa from Switzerland.
Prior to the Basel Committee, she spent three years as assistant superintendent of the regulation sector for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, or OSFI, Canada’s banking regulator, and six years at the helm of British Columbia’s financial regulator.
Unlike other members of the bank’s governing council, Ms. Rogers does not have an economics background, instead holding a master’s of business administration from Queen’s University in Kingston.
Evan Siddall, the former head of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., said that Ms. Rogers’s atypical background will be an asset to the central bank. He worked closely with her when she was at OSFI and he was at CMHC.
“You think about what scarce resources there are at the Bank of Canada. It’s not economists. It’s people who have pragmatic experience in markets,” Mr. Siddall said in an interview.
While at OSFI, Ms. Rogers played an important part in crafting the 2018 stress test rules for uninsured mortgages, which required borrowers taking on uninsured mortgages to prove they could afford payments at an interest rate two percentage points higher than their lender’s offer, or a five-year Bank of Canada benchmark rate. The test was designed to curb risky lending and cool housing markets in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto.
“We spent a lot of time talking about not just the [mortgage] stress test, but all sorts of issues around the housing system, and she worked very closely with myself and my team and the Department of Finance on the Home Capital matter as well,” said Mr. Siddall, referring to the mortgage lender that regulators accused of misleading investors in 2017.
“So she’s seen how things can get difficult in the mortgage market, and she’s seen through the survival and the recovery of Home Capital as well,” said Mr. Siddall, who is now CEO of Alberta Investment Management Corp.
OSFI’s new superintendent, Peter Routledge, echoed Mr. Siddall’s assessment of Ms. Rogers. He worked with her when she was at OSFI and he was with the Department of Finance and Canada Deposit Insurance Corp.
“As the risk environment gets more complex, every institution, whether you’re in the private sector [or public], have to bring in more diversity in terms of cognitive mindset. And that’s what she brings: a different cognitive mindset that will add problem-solving efficacy to the bank,” Mr. Routledge said in an interview.
Ms. Rogers was selected by a group of independent members of the bank’s board and approved by the federal cabinet. The bank and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland jointly made the announcement.
The bank did not make her available for an interview.
Ms. Rogers, like Ms. Wilkins before her, will be the only woman on the bank’s board of governors. It was widely expected that the senior deputy position would go to a woman. Mr. Macklem had suggested several times in recent months that he wanted to improve diversity at the top levels of the bank.
Lara Zink, president and chief executive officer of Women in Capital Markets, which supports women in the finance industry, applauded the appointment.
“The last four policy decisions that have been made by the Bank of Canada were made by five white men, and three of them were all graduates of the same university,” Ms. Zink said in an interview.
“We’re a country that wants to lead the way on a national childcare system. We’re very much working toward ensuring that women in leadership are prioritized in other parts of Corporate Canada and in our government. So I think this [appointment] is a very important signal and it’s very important for Canada,” she said.
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