The Sterling Bond Portfolio

The Bank of England’s cash ratio deposits and free capital and reserves are invested through the Sterling Bond Portfolio.


The Sterling Bond Portfolio is an investment portfolio. Income earned on Sterling Bond Portfolio investments is used to grow the Bank of England’s capital base. 

There are two main components of the Sterling Bond portfolio, the Free Capital and Reserves and the legacy Cash Ratio Deposit holdings. 

The Free Capital and Reserves consists of the Bank’s own capital. Income earned on investments in the Free Capital and Reserves is used to grow the Bank of England’s capital base.

Under the legacy Cash Ratio Deposit scheme, deposit-taking financial institutions (i.e. banks and building societies) placed non-interest bearing deposits at the Bank of England. The scheme has now ended, but income from the residual portfolio is used to offset some of the payments due from financial institutions under the Bank of England Levy. The CRD gilt portfolio will reduce in line with its maturity profile, with over half of the gilts in the portfolio maturing by 2029, and the remainder steadily running off over the following 10–15 years. The Bank does not intend to sell the gilts from the CRD portfolio. While the Bank maintains the discretion to change this approach in the future, any change in approach would as far as possible be communicated well in advance, and ultimately designed to minimise any resulting impact on market functioning and/or conditions.

For more information please see the Bank of England Levy.

How the Sterling Bond Portfolio is invested

The Bank of England invests the Sterling Bond Portfolio in high quality sterling assets. Only the Free Capital and Reserves part of the portfolio is currently actively invested. This part of the portfolio is invested in gilts, with the potential to invest in highly rated supranational bonds.

We do not purchase ultra-short bonds (bonds with a maturity of less than three years). We do not currently purchase gilts with a residual maturity of over 22 years, and this is kept under review annually. The actual maturity profile of purchases may vary in order to adhere to the Bank’s internal risk limits.

The transactions we carry out to invest the Bank’s Free Capital and Reserves are separate from the purchases of sterling bonds that we make for monetary policy purposes through the Asset Purchase Facility.

Announcing Sterling Bond Portfolio Purchases

We provide transparency regarding Sterling Bond Portfolio purchases. Before we make transactions, we announce the intended, aggregate amount to be invested. We also announce how much we intend to purchase of gilts and supranational bonds. We regularly publish this information, usually quarterly.

Two weeks after we have completed the previously announced transactions, we provide information about the stock of assets and the most recent purchases. For gilts, we provide information about the stock, and purchases made in the most recent quarter, both broken down by maturity bucket. We publish the total amount accounted for by supranational bonds.

These announcements will be made on the Bank’s wires pages.

The latest figures are provided below. The below includes all holdings within the Sterling Bond Portfolio – the Free Capital and Reserves holdings, as well as the legacy Cash Ratio Deposit holdings.

  Stock as at 31 March 2024 (£mn nominal) Net purchases* made between 1 January and 31 March 2024 (£mn proceeds)
Gilts 14,069 0       


4,441 0


4,843 0


3,414 0


1,370 0
SSAs 0 0
Total (Gilts + SSAs) 14,069 0

* Negative numbers indicate net sales

Residual maturities for each sector are: Ultra-short <3 years, Short 3-7 years, Medium 7-15 years, Long >15 years. This is in line with the DMO’s definition. 

This page was last updated 15 April 2024