| WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, April 12
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, April 12 A former U.S.
Treasury official in the George W. Bush administration, a
veteran banking lawyer, and a Harvard professor are three
leading candidates as the Trump administration looks to fill the
post of Federal Reserve vice chair in charge of banking
oversight, people familiar with the matter said.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Wall Street
Journal on Wednesday that the administration was "very close" to
filling the regulatory post, which will play a critical role in
President Donald Trump’s efforts to revamp regulation of the
Randal Quarles, who worked as under secretary for domestic
fiance at the Treasury under President George W. Bush, met with
Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, Trump's director of the National Economic
Council, last week to discuss the role, four sources told
Quarles, along with corporate attorney Thomas Vartanian and
Harvard Law professor Hal Scott, have all interviewed for the
role, according to a source familiar with the talks. Several
financial industry lobbyists believe Quarles to be the favorite
for the position. But others say it remains unclear who the
administration is favoring, and Trump could still opt for
Quarles, Vartanian and Scott all did not respond to requests
for comment. The Treasury Department and White House declined to
Quarles, who worked as a partner at private equity firm the
Carlyle Group, currently runs a private investment firm, the
Cynosure Group, from Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served in the
Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush, and was
the U.S. executive director of the International Monetary Fund.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in March 2016,
Quarles and Lawrence Goodman, another former U.S. Treasury
official, argued against breaking up big banks because it risks
damaging the wider economy. He has also talked about refining
Obama-era financial rules, introduced in the wake of the
Quarles is married to Hope Eccles, and works alongside
Spencer Eccles, two members of the Utah family that includes
Marriner Eccles, the former Fed chairman whose name graces the
building that now houses the central bank in Washington.
Vartanian has also been mentioned as a candidate for the
vice chair position. A financial services attorney for the
Dechert law firm based in Washington, Vartanian has assisted
large financial institutions with a host of complex
transactions, and written frequently on financial rules. He
recently filed a brief on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
as part of MetLife's case against federal regulators seeking to
impose stricter rules on the insurance company. He also served
in President Ronald Reagan's administration.
As director of international financial systems at Harvard
Law School, Scott's focus has been on financial firms,
regulation and capital markets. Scott is director of the
Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, a research group made
up of financial industry representatives and academics that has
been critical of financial regulations.
At Harvard, Scott also worked alongside Senator Elizabeth
Warren, who has emerged as the Democratic Party's strongest
voice in favor of strict rules on the financial sector.
Speculation over who will fill the vice chair post has been
intense on Wall Street and in Washington, as the open spot is
widely seen as a critical position for Trump to follow through
on his vows to relax rules on the financial sector. The position
was created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law,
but was never filled by President Barack Obama.
Chatter ramped up after the apparent favorite for the post
removed his name from the running. General Electric executive
David Nason withdrew his name from consideration in March, after
he had been vetted for the post.
Former Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo effectively filled the
role as top regulatory voice at the Fed under Obama, but he
stepped down at the beginning of April. Current Fed Governor Jay
Powell has taken on those issues for the time being.
(Reporting by Pete Schroeder and Olivia Oran; Editing by Lisa