by Peter Conti-Brown, Stanford Law School's Rock Center for Corporate Governance
and Simon Johnson, Peterson Institute for International Economics
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act increased the powers of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System along almost all dimensions pertaining to the supervision and operation of systemically important financial institutions. The authors argue that in light of these changes, the process of considering and choosing governors should also be changed. In nominating and confirming new governors, the president and Congress should make greater efforts to appoint only highly qualified people familiar with both regulatory and monetary matters. They should ensure that governors can work effectively with staff and engage on an equal basis with the chair. This is a pressing matter given that within the next 12 months there may be as many as four appointments to the Board, reflecting an unusually high degree of turnover at a critical moment for the development of regulatory policy, including rules on equity capital funding for banks, the ratio of debt-to-equity (leverage) they are permitted, the funding structure of bank holding companies, and whether and how much banks should be allowed to engage in commodity-related activities.
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