Bank of England MPC
The most recent photo of MPC members. Nemat Shafik (front row, far left) and Kristin Forbes (back row, far right) have both left the committee. Bank of England

Philip Hammond may be summoned in front of an influential group of MPs to address the lack of diversity at the Bank of England (BoE).

The chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, Nicky Morgan, has written to the Chancellor to seek reassurances the Bank is encouraging gender and ethnic diversity among the applicants for roles on its committees.

"The Treasury must make all efforts to encourage as diverse range of candidates for the Bank's policy committees as possible," she said.

The BoE's 11-member financial policy committee does not include any women, while only woman features among the 12 members of the Bank's strong prudential regulation committee.

Morgan's letter came after the BoE confirmed the appointments of Silvana Tenreyro and Sir David Ramsden, the newest members of the Bank's rate-setting monetary policy committee. The former is the only woman in the nine-member panel.

"We have approved both appointments," Morgan added.

"However, in considering these appointments, the committee discussed its wider concerns about the composition of the policy committees, and in particular about diversity at the most senior levels of the Bank of England.

"The committee would be interested in taking evidence from you (or the most appropriate minister or senior official) on this shortly."

Speaking to the Treasury select committee earlier this week, BoE Governor Mark Carney said it took him "about five minutes" to realise there were a lot more men than women in senior positions when he first arrived at Threadneedle Street. However, he insisted the Bank was in the middle of a strategy aimed at solving the issue.

While Hammond is expected to reply to the letter in due course, a spokesperson for the Treasury said: "We are pleased the Treasury committee has agreed to the appointments of Prof Silvana and Sir Dave.

"Our recruitment process is fair and open for senior appointments to the Bank of England but we recognise there is still more to do to improve diversity."

Meanwhile, the Treasury select committee has also launched a separate inquiry aimed at establishing whether women are unfairly prevented from progressing in the financial services industry.

"More women than men are employed in the financial services sector, but female representation at senior levels has been historically low," Morgan said. "Gender diversity across job grades and functions delivers benefits to firms, society and the wider economy."