A Senate vote his week confirmed Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell’s nomination to serve as the next chairman of the central bank.
He replaces outgoing Fed Chairman Janey Yellen upon her departure, scheduled for Feb. 3. Despite a smattering of opposition spread between both parties, Powell was confirmed by an 84-13 vote on Tuesday evening.
Jerome H. Powell took office as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on May 25, 2012, to fill an unexpired term. He was reappointed and sworn in on June 16, 2014, for a term ending Jan. 31, 2028.
Prior to his appointment to the Board, Powell was a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where he focused on federal and state fiscal issues. From 1997 through 2005, he was a partner at The Carlyle Group.
Powell served as an Assistant Secretary and as Undersecretary of the Treasury under President George H.W. Bush, with responsibility for policy on financial institutions, the Treasury debt market, and related areas. Prior to joining the Administration, he worked as a lawyer and investment banker in New York City.
In addition to service on corporate boards, Powell has served on the boards of charitable and educational institutions, including the Bendheim Center for Finance at Princeton University and The Nature Conservancy of Washington, D.C., and Maryland.
Powell was born in February 1953 in Washington, D.C. He received an A.B. in politics from Princeton University in 1975 and earned a law degree from Georgetown University in 1979. While at Georgetown, he was editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal.
He is married with three children
Powell, a Republican, has served as a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors since May 2012. Among the rare non-economists to chair the Fed, he would bring nearly three decades of business experience to the Fed and a world view that is bound to be more “real world” than academic.
Viewed through a regulatory prism, Powell can be considered a compromise candidate, positioned between regulatory zealots and evangelists for deregulation. Until recently, he served as the Fed’s chief regulatory official, a position created by the Dodd-Frank Act. He has expressed the need to preserve the safety of the financial system, while guarding against burdensome, one-size-fits-all” regulatory regimes.
Among the key takeaways from a client advisory and analysis by Allianz Global Investors:
“Powell is also widely seen as a ‘continuity’ candidate who is expected to carry forward most of the policies favored by current Fed Chair Janet Yellen; the markets should appreciate his relatively dovish views.”
“A Powell-led Fed may favor fewer and weaker enforcement of regulations, which could support financials; the danger is if this leads to too much risk-taking.”
“It remains to be seen how Powell will make his own mark on the U.S. central bank, though his keen interest in regulatory and payments systems issues make them likely areas of focus.”
Financial deregulation “is perhaps the one area in which Powell differs most from Chairman Janet Yellen. He has indicated that he is willing to roll back or temper some Dodd-Frank regulations.”
Powell has repeatedly made it clear that he favors fewer regulatory burdens on banks, wants to ease Dodd-Frank rules, and provide relief for regional and community banks. He advocates easing annual stress-testing requirements for smaller regional and community institutions.
Powell’s nomination shows that the Trump administration “doesn’t see a lot of gain to be had by rocking the boat” and “understands the importance of having a steady hand at the Fed,” says Paul Forrester, banking and finance partner at law firm Mayer Brown.
“Powell has said he is open to regulatory reforms,” Forrester says. “Some might categorize his ideas as modest and corrective, but he is certainly more open-mined than the current chairman, who certainly has really dug in on some regulatory matters and certainly has not demonstrated the same openness to reform.”
One of the first things we may see, under a Chairman Powell, is revisiting the thresholds that trigger enhanced prudential standards, Forrester predicts. Another is Powell’s likely ability to work with Randal Quarles, the former Treasury Department official that Trump nominated to join the Fed’s Board of Governors for a 14-year term expiring in 2032.