Bernanke takes hedge fund gig

Another former top financial regulator has taken a job advising Wall Street, with former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke agreeing to advise a major hedge fund.

The New York Times reported Thursday that Bernanke, who stepped down from the Fed at the beginning of 2014, will become a senior adviser to the $25 billion hedge fund Citadel. In that position, Bernanke will provide “analysis of global economic and financial issues” and meet with investors.

Bernanke told the paper that he was aware of ongoing concerns about the “revolving door,” in which top government officials take top jobs in a related part of the private sector, or vice versa. But at the same time, he maintained that his job advising a hedge fund would not amount to a pass through that door.

ADVERTISEMENT

He contended that Citadel is not a bank, and therefore not directly regulated by the Federal Reserve, and said he would not be doing “lobbying of any sort.”

“I was looking for an opportunity to use my skills and knowledge,” he said. “This is an interesting firm.”

Bernanke added that he passed up job offers from banks that would have been regulated by the Federal Reserve. Nonetheless, he marks the latest high-ranking public official to leave government work and shortly thereafter end up in the highly compensated financial sector.

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner ended up at the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, and Mary Schapiro, the former top cop at the Securities and Exchange Commission, landed in 2013 at Promontory Financial Group, a consulting firm that has hired a number of former financial regulators.

Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan, consulted Deutsche Bank after leaving the Fed, as well as bond and hedge funds.

Bernanke did not discuss his compensation arrangement, but said he would receive an annual fee and would not take any investment or ownership stake in the fund.

Since leaving the Fed, Bernanke delivered many speeches, and also took a position as a distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution.