Skip to Main Navigation
OPINION January 12, 2017

Trading the Sights of London for Washington, DC: A Debt Management Exchange

During September to December 2016, debt managers from the UK Debt Management Office (UK DMO) and the Debt Management Team at the World Bank Treasury traded places. I was one of two debt managers from the UK DMO to join the World Bank Treasury for a period of six weeks, following an equivalent period by my colleague Shreya Shah. In return, Fritz Bachmair of the WB Treasury spent three months at the UK DMO.

The exchange was part of a peer-to-peer collaboration between the two institutions. As current practitioners in a G7 debt management office, the exchange gave Shreya and I the opportunity to share our knowledge of debt management in a well-developed market environment and apply this to our work at the WB Treasury. Likewise, it was a chance to learn more about, and get involved in, the debt management advisory work of WB Treasury, including the Government Debt and Risk Management Program (GDRM).

Through the exchange, we hopefully brought substantial debt management and financial market expertise to the WB Treasury. Shreya, a Senior Policy Advisor at the UK DMO, has worked in the Policy team since 2012, having previous experience in the Debt Capital Markets department at Deutsche Bank. I am currently Head of Investor Research at the UK DMO, having been a debt manager for nearly 15 years, with a range of policy and research experience.

During her time at the World Bank WB Treasury, Shreya was involved in pre- and post-mission work for a number of client countries, including Serbia and Egypt. Shreya also took part in the preparation of the Sovereign Debt Management Forum in October 2016, as well as GDRM Day. In addition, she is helping to facilitate the development of some knowledge products, for example, on communication and transparency in public debt management.

I also had the opportunity to contribute widely to the work of the team, including mission support work for Egypt, Ghana and the Maldives on topics including debt strategy, inflation-linked bond issuance and public debt classification and reporting. Reflecting my experience at the UK DMO and in line with our aim to share knowledge through the exchange, I was able to give a number of presentations to the Treasury team, including on the DMO’s Investor Research function, our Portfolio Simulation Tool and on inflation-linked bonds (one of my areas of particular interest). The exchange also allowed me to initiate the development of an Excel-based debt reporting system for Pakistan provinces, an area where WB Treasury is offering just-in-time support.

In addition to developing good working relationships with colleagues in the debt management team and throughout the WB Treasury, we were able to build contacts with debt managers from a range of countries. We both learnt a lot about the WB Treasury’s approach to capacity building for individual countries in debt management and the toolkit that is used to support this work. As developed country debt managers, it was also an opportunity for us to develop a better understanding of concessional financing, a less familiar area for those involved in UK debt management.

The exchange was a resounding success – we would like to think that both ourselves and WB Treasury benefitted significantly from the sharing of experience and the ongoing working relationship that was forged during the period. Hopefully we have helped to form a useful template for future exchanges between debt managers from developed countries and the WB Treasury.