Profile: Benoît Gilson
Position: Head of Foreign Exchange & Gold
The BIS is a really special place to work because it is a link between the markets and the central banks. This means that I can work in the markets, as I was doing before, while taking a central bank perspective. I find it very interesting to talk to the central bankers who call us for advice, information and market liquidity summary, and I love having a foot in both camps.
As we act as market-makers for BIS products in currencies and gold, we maintain relationships with all market counterparties to ensure sufficient liquidity for our customers and appropriate hedging instruments. We are focused on central banks and international institutions, helping them implement foreign exchange interventions, build their reserves, diversify their portfolios or modify their reserve currency allocation. We can also help them to manage their gold reserves. Of course, many of the issues we deal with are highly confidential, so discretion is very important.
Working here has many advantages in terms of lifestyle. While you don't earn the kind of huge bonuses you could in London, you get exposure to some of the most interesting people in the industry. The selection process here is pretty tough, so you automatically have good people around you and can get involved in some challenging debates.
I have to say that I really enjoy Basel too. I was working in Luxembourg before, which was another wonderful small city. In Basel, I can go home and be running alongside the Rhine and watching the sun set in 10 minutes. And, of course, you often encounter your colleagues out and about, which fosters a very friendly working environment. The senior managers here go out of their way to be accessible, so if you see them in the supermarket you can be sure that they'll have a chat with you.
"The BIS is a really special place to work because it sits between the markets and the central banks."
Head of Foreign Exchange & Gold