May 31, 2020

Meet the Man Loosening Bank Regulation, One Detail at a Time

When he returned to Davis Polk to work on some of the biggest bank mergers of the 1990s — including one that created JPMorgan Chase — he noticed that regulation sometimes drove banks toward consolidation or complex structures. He took away a central message: “There are ways that we could get the same objective, in ways that are much less costly. So why shouldn’t we?”

Mr. Quarles has shifted between the public and private sector. He took on senior roles at the International Monetary Fund and later at President George W. Bush’s Treasury in the 2000s before joining the Carlyle Group, a private equity fund, in 2007. He returned to Utah in 2014 to start the Cynosure Group, which invests wealth for families, including that of his own extended family.

He is married to Hope Eccles, the great-niece of Marriner Eccles, who led the Fed from 1934 to 1948. He personally is worth more than $32 million, based on his government financial disclosures.

Mr. Quarles came back to Washington in 2017 to join the Fed, but still lives in Salt Lake City, where his wife runs a luxury hotel, on weekends. He resides at the Willard Hotel in Washington during the week.

Mr. Quarles has moved steadily to address some of the banking industry’s biggest concerns. Alongside his fellow regulators, he fleshed out and enacted a series of changes called for in a 2018 deregulatory law, often incorporating industry input.

In October 2018, he gathered with Mr. Guynn, representatives of the SIFMA trade group and officials from banks including Bank of America and Goldman Sachs in the Fed’s boardroom, together with a small crowd of central bank employees.

The 11 bank representatives expressed concern about a proposed adjustment to the Volcker Rule that would have scrutinized assets based on how they were classified for accounting purposes. The provision drew resistance from other industry commentators, and was cut from the final version that regulators, including the Fed, approved this year.

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