Banque de France's governance
The Banque de France’s system of governance reflects its independence from the political authorities. It is managed by a governor - currently François Villeroy de Galhau since 1 November 2015 – who presides over the Bank’s General Council, the body responsible for deliberating on all matters relating to non-Eurosystem activities. The Governor is also a member of the ECB Governing Council, the body responsible for determining the Eurosystem’s monetary policy. Responsibility for the operational management of the Banque de France falls to the Executive Committee.
The Banque de France is managed by its Governor and by two Deputy Governors. The Governor chairs the General Council and prepares and implements its decisions. Alongside the Deputy Governors, he is appointed by decree by the Council of Ministers for a six-year term, renewable once. The Governor is also Chair of the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR – Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority), the Observatoire de la sécurité des moyens de paiement (Observatory for the Security of Payment Means), and the Observatoire de l’inclusion bancaire (Observatory for Banking Inclusion). He is a member of the Haut Conseil de stabilité financière (HCSF – High Council for Financial Stability) and, since 12 January 2022, has been Chair of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
François Villeroy de Galhau
François Villeroy de Galhau was born in Strasbourg on 24 February 1959 into a family with roots in Lorraine and Saarland. A former ENA student and Inspector of Finance, he joined the French Treasury in 1988 (Africa desk, then Europe desk) and subsequently became European advisor to the Minister of Finance and then Prime Minister (Pierre Bérégovoy) from 1990 to 1993. He went on to hold various positions at the French Treasury, before becoming financial advisor at the Permanent Representation of France in Brussels. From 1997 to 2000, he was chief of staff of the Minister of the Economy, Finance and Industry (Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then Christian Sautter). He was head of the French General Tax Directorate from 2000 to 2003. In 2003, he became the Chief Executive Officer of Cetelem, then headed BNP Paribas’ retail banking activities in France (2008). François Villeroy de Galhau served as Chief Operating Officer of BNP Paribas group, in charge of domestic markets and corporate social responsibility from 1 December 2011 until 1 May 2015, when the French government entrusted him with an assignment on business investment financing. In September 2015, the then President of the French Republic, François Hollande, nominated him for the position of Governor of the Banque de France. After receiving the approval of the Parliament, he was appointed Governor of the Banque de France in the Council of Ministers on 30 September 2015 and took office on 1 November 2015 for a 6-year term. In October 2021, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron proposed that he be reappointed for a second term, a decision approved by the members of Parliament and then ratified by the Council of Ministers on 27 October 2021. François Villeroy de Galhau is a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), Chairman of the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR) and, since January 2022, President of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). He has notably published L'espérance d'un Européen (Odile Jacob, 2014) and Retrouver confiance en l'économie (Odile Jacob, 2021).
Denis Beau was born in 1962. After graduating from Sciences Po Paris and receiving an MBA from INSEAD, he joined the Banque de France in 1986 as a financial analyst in the Corporate Balance Sheet Department. From 1993 to 2007, he held management positions in the Financial Markets Directorate and the Payments and Market Infrastructures Directorate, and was seconded for a year to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He subsequently served as Secretary of the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems of the G10 central banks, before returning to the Banque de France in mid-2008 to take up the position of Deputy Director General of Economics and International Relations. In 2011 he was appointed Deputy Director General of Financial Stability and Operations (DGSO) and in 2012 became Director General of the DGSO. In this capacity he chaired the National Cashless Payments Committee and represented the Banque de France on European and international fora dealing with monetary policy and financial stability issues and the prudential regulation of banks (Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, Committee on the Global Financial System, Euro Retail Payments Board). Denis Beau was appointed Deputy Governor of the Banque de France on 1 August 2017. He was also appointed by the Governor to represent him as Chairman of the ACPR (Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority). He is a member of the Board of the AMF (Financial Markets Authority) and of the Supervisory Board for the Single Supervisory Mechanism of the European Central Bank (ECB). Since March 2019, he has been Chair of the Financial Stability Board’s Analytical Group on Vulnerabilities, and on 1 January 2023 was appointed Chair of the ECB’s Budget Committee.
Agnès Bénassy-Quéré is Second Deputy Governor at the Banque de France, on leave from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and the Paris School of Economics, where she is Professor of Economics. Before joining the Banque de France, she was Chief Economist at the French Treasury (2020-2023). From 2012 to 2017, she was Deputy Chairman of the Conseil d'analyse économique. She was previously Director of CEPII (2006-2012), and has held academic positions at the universities of Paris-Nanterre, Lille and Cergy-Pontoise, as well as at the École Polytechnique. She has been a member of the Haut Conseil de Stabilité Financière, the Conseil général de la Banque de France, the Conseil des prélèvements obligatoires, the Conseil national de productivité and the Conseil d'analyse économique franco-allemand. She was also a non-resident researcher at Bruegel and head of the CEPR's research network on European economic architecture. Her research focuses mainly on the international monetary system and macroeconomic policy in Europe.
Operational management bodies
Three bodies play a central role in the conduct of investment policies and market operations: the Assets-Liabilities Committee, the Risk Committee and the Pension Plan Strategic Committee or CS2R.
The Assets-Liabilities Committee, which is chaired by the Governor, examines the Bank’s investment strategy for all its portfolios (both euro and foreign currency denominated), with the exception of the Employee Reserve Fund investment portfolios. The latter are monitored by the CS2R, which was set up in April 2018 and is chaired by the First Deputy Governor. The Risk Committee, which is chaired by the Second Deputy Governor, defines the risk framework applicable to all market operations conducted for the Bank’s portfolios.
Operational risk management and the Internal Audit
In line with the model proposed by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission, the Banque de France has implemented a three-pronged internal control system, comprised of operational staff and their managers, professional risk management and permanent control officers, and the Internal Audit. The system assesses all operational risks as well as the methods and action plans in place to mitigate them, and checks that existing controls are relevant and efficient, using industry best practices as a benchmark.
The Internal Audit
The Internal Audit is managed by the Comptroller General and is the Banque de France’s third line of control. It has responsibility over all the Bank’s units, processes and activities, including over its subsidiaries.
The Internal Audit conducts its inspections using mainly a risk-based approach, and reports its findings to the Audit Committee, the Bank’s governance bodies and the Directors General. In doing so, it provides independent and objective assurance of:
- the achievement of the Bank's strategic objectives;
- the integrity and reliability of all financial and operational information;
- the effectiveness and efficiency of all operations;
- the protection of the Bank’s assets, image and reputation;
- compliance with all laws, regulations, procedures, contracts and compliance rules (see Focus on Ethics and compliance).
The Internal Audit also operates within the framework of the ESCB. The Comptroller General and the Head Office Audit are permanent members of the ESCB Internal Auditors Committee (IAC). Together with their counterparts at the other national central banks and the ECB, they draw up the Eurosystem’s audit programme and oversee audits conducted under the aegis of the IAC.
With regard to both the organisation and the conduct of audit missions, the Banque de France's Internal Audit complies with the “international standards for the professional practice of internal auditing” as defined by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA).
In 2022, the Internal Audit carried out nearly 80 inspections and investigations, focusing primarily on the steering of the Bank’s activities, its organisational efficiency, the security of its information systems and the management of projects.