That was a late inning surprise. Yesterday, President Trump announced that Jerome Powell would be his choice to lead the Federal Reserve starting next February. Powell has been a Fed Governor since his nomination in 2012 by President Obama, so he is expected to garner bipartisan support in the Senate.
Prior to the leaks that started last week, Powell did not seem to be the front-runner for the job – the highest odds we assigned to his becoming Fed Chair never exceeded 35%. Therefore, comparatively little was written about his past views and actions. As a Governor, he didn’t give a lot of speeches, his wasn’t the loudest voice in the room and he never dissented over 44 meetings. He appeared to be a loyal soldier.
Powell would be the first Fed Chair without a PhD in Economics since Paul Volcker in the 1980’s, thus we lack a body of published research from which we can glean his likely outlooks and views. He does bring a respected body of public service and private business experience that should serve him well.
Notably, markets will like the appointment for the continuity. What evidence does exist suggests he will maintain the path set by Janet Yellen in raising rates, diminishing the level of assets on the Federal Reserve balance sheet, supporting some level of regulatory rollback and otherwise doing little to upset monetary policy. He is not expected to rock the boat.
Click here to see a Bloomberg article that we think does the best job of describing the man who will likely lead our central bank for the next four years.