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President nominates first-ever regulatory watchdog for Fed

Joe Mont | July 12, 2017

President Trump has nominated Randal Quarles, a former official at the Treasury Department, to fill a long-vacant role at the Federal Reserve.

Quarles, a resident of Colorado, was nominated to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for the remainder of a 14-year term expiring January 31, 2018. He was also named to an additional 14-year term (expiring January 31, 2032) and to be vice chairman for supervision of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years.

If confirmed by the Senate, Quarles would be the first ever supervision chief for the Federal Reserve, overseeing the agency’s regulatory agenda. That role was created by the Dodd-Frank Act, but lingered unfilled (much to the consternation of Republican legislator) throughout the Obama Administration.

Quarles has had an extensive career in government and international finance. He served as under secretary for domestic finance in the George W. Bush Administration, and before that as assistant secretary of the Treasury for international affairs.

He earlier served in the George H.W. Bush Administration as deputy assistant secretary for financial institutions policy.

Quarles is a founder and managing director of The Cynosure Group, a private investment firm in Salt Lake City. Before founding Cynosure, he was a partner of The Carlyle Group and, earlier, of the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

He graduated summa cum laude in philosophy and economics from Columbia University and earned a J.D. from the Yale Law School.

The Financial Services Roundtable, which represents many of the largest integrated financial services companies, was among those commending the pick. It called the previously unfilled position “crucial to boosting economic growth while maintaining a safe and sound financial system that protects consumers and taxpayers.”

"The Fed’s vice chair of supervision will play a crucial role in modernizing the financial regulatory system so needed economic growth can occur while also making sure the system is safe and sound for consumers and taxpayers,” CEO Tim Pawlenty said in a statement.

The group “looks forward to working with the Federal Reserve and the vice chair of supervision on matters such as tailoring the regulatory system, adjusting capital standards for America’s banks with the goal of growing the economy and protecting taxpayers, and increasing transparency and accountability to the process relating to bank stress test and ‘living wills,’” he added.