Powell vows to work with whomever succeeds Quarles in top supervisor’s job

Whoever becomes the top regulatory supervisor for the Federal Reserve in the coming months can apparently count on the support of the current board chair in that position, as indicated in remarks Wednesday.

During a press conference following a two-day meeting of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), Fed Board Chair Jerome H. (“Jay”) Powell said, in response to a reporter’s question, that he respects the authority of the vice chair of supervision. “That is the person that will set the regulatory agenda going forward. It is fully appropriate for a new person to come in and take a fresh look to things,” Powell said, adding, “I welcome that.”

The question was apparently spurred by the impending end of the term of the current chief supervisor at the Fed, Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles. His term in that position ends next month (although he may remain on the Fed Board; his term as a board member runs to February 2032).

The White House has been mum on who (if anyone) will replace Quarles as supervision vice president, a board position mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank). However, the position remained empty until Quarles’ appointment by President Donald Trump (R ) in 2018; Quarles was the first person to hold the job.

Powell said nothing about Quarles’ keeping the Fed’s top supervisory role after his term ends.

However, some saw the question as being less about Quarles than about Powell, whose own term as board chair comes to an end in February (his term as an FRB member concludes in January 2028). Powell may be reappointed to the position by the president or replaced. His answer was interpreted to suggest he is not concerned about remaining Fed leader after his term ends next year, and perhaps working with a new top regulatory supervisor.