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Real Time Insight

2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the first appointment of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Chairmanship is a more exclusive club than the Presidency of the United States. Only 14 men have held the position in those 100 years.

Since 1979 it has become even more exclusive, as Generation X and the Millenials have known just 3 chairmen: Paul Volcker (1979-1987), Alan Greenspan (1987-2006) and Ben Bernanke (2006-present).

With President Obama already indicating that Ben Bernanke will not be renominated, the 15th person is expected to take office next year. Given that the Chairman has to be confirmed by the Senate, the announcement of the candidate is expected no later than September.

The Fed watchers have already made their bets on two candidates: Janet Yellen and Larry Summers.

Janet Yellen

Janet Yellen is a Yale trained economist who has moved in and out of academia and the Federal Reserve over the last 20 years. She was on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1994 to 1997. From 2004 to 2010 she became better known to the public due to her job as President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

In 2009, she was a voting member of the FOMC. In 2010, she was nominated by the President to be the Vice Chairman of the Fed Board of Governors. This is a position that required confirmation so the Senate is already familiar with her. Like Ben Bernanke, her term expires in early 2014.

She would be the first woman Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Her economic views are well known due to her FOMC voting record and her stint as President of the San Francisco Fed.

Larry Summers

Larry Summers is a Harvard trained economist who has had several political appointments in his career, including a stint as the Secretary of the Treasury from 1999-2001. He was also Director of the White House US National Economic Council during the Obama Administration.

He is best known, however, as President of Harvard University from 2001-2006. He had a pop culture moment in the movie the Social Network which depicted the Winklevoss twins complaining to him about Mark Zuckerberg stealing their Internet idea (which subsequently became Facebook.)

When Ben Bernanke became Chairman, the Federal Reserve had $875 billion on its balance sheet. By the time he leaves, it is expected to have close to $4 trillion.

Will Yellen or Summers get the nomination?

Or will everyone be surprised by a "stealth" candidate this fall?

Vote A for Yellen.

Vote B for Summers.

Vote C for "stealth" candidate.

 

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