By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa
WASHINGTON Aug 27 Lawrence Summers may be a
poster-child for the lucrative revolving door between Wall
Street and Washington. But Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet
Yellen, his chief opponent in the tight race to replace Ben
Bernanke at the helm of the U.S. central bank, is not exactly
Yellen, a former university professor who until recently was
seen as a favorite to take the top spot at the Fed when
Bernanke's second term ends early next year, holds assets worth
between $3.8 million and $11.1 million, according to 2012
disclosure forms released on Tuesday. Including the holdings of
her husband, a nobel-prize-winning economist, she owns between
$4.8 million and $13.2 million worth of assets.
That is well short of the $7.2 million to $24.5 million
range reported by Summers, a former Treasury secretary under
Bill Clinton and ex-adviser to President Barack Obama, in his
most recent government disclosure form covering 2010.
Yet given that both are multi-millionaires, the gap is
hardly large enough to become a sticking point in what has
become an unusually contentious and public campaign for the
central bank's leadership. Both Yellen and Summers are
considerably wealthier than Bernanke, who held between $1.1
million and $2.3 million in assets last year.
Critics of Summers say his work at Citigroup and hedge fund
D.E. Shaw over the years make him too close to the financial
industry the Fed is supposed to oversee. Supporters, however,
argue that his understanding of Wall Street could prove
invaluable in a crisis.
Summers opponents also criticize him for his role in the
financial deregulation of the 1990s that many now blame for
creating the financial crisis of 2007-2009.
Both Summers and Yellen are considered top-notch economists.
At the Fed, Yellen has been very active in developing and honing
the central bank's unconventional policy tools and
communications policy. Her detractors see her as too "dovish" on
monetary policy, worrying she may be too soft about fighting
inflation because of a strong desire to bring down unemployment.
Yellen, who reported owning a stamp collection worth between
$15,000 to $50,000, would become the first woman to ever lead
one of the world's major central banks if nominated by President
Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
Much of Yellen's wealth was invested in stocks, including
Conoco Phillips and Raytheon, as well as a number of different
A RANGE OF VIEWS, AND INCOMES
Just as the Fed is home to a wide range of policy views, it
is also an institution with a large gap in incomes. Folks like
Governor Jerome Powell, a private equity magnate at The Carlyle
Group, and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, a former hedge
fund manager, are far richer than their more academic peers.
Powell, by far the richest among his colleagues, has between
$32.1 million and $122.6 million in assets.
Fisher reported assets of at least $23.9 million but
possibly much more. He had seven assets in the highest category
of the disclosure form for regional Fed presidents, which is $1
million or more.
Those who tended to follow a more academic or research track
in their careers were generally less well off than those with
financial industry experience.
Jeffrey Lacker of the Richmond Fed reported assets of
$50,000 to $300,000, while John Williams, of the San Francisco
Fed, held assets between $4,000 and $200,000.