Federal Reserve governors grow richer
3 new Fed governors raise the board's collective wealth says report.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Federal Reserve Board's governors have grown steadily richer in the last year as President George Bush's appointments have quietly reshaped the board of governors.
The Senate's July confirmation of Columbia University economics professor Frederic Mishkin in addition to the 2006 appointments of Estee Lauder heir Kevin Warsh and economist Randall Kroszner have pushed the combined low-end values of assets held by Fed governors from $18 million in 2005 to $83.8 million in 2006, according a report released by the economic education institute Financial Markets Center.
The combined high-end value of assets increased from $45.6 million in 2005 to $163.1 million, the report stated.
The analysis is based on data the governors provide in the Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Reports, rating their wealth in 11 broad ranges by bracket.
The appointment of Governor Warsh, who is the son-in-law of Ronald Lauder a member of the family that controls Estee Lauder Companies, has sent the averages drastically higher.
Warsh's 2005 assets range from $66.0 to $117.3 while his income ranges from $7.7 million to $26.9.
In contrast, former Fed chair's Allen Greenspan's assets ranged from $4.0 to $8.9 million, while his income ran from $254,803 to $355,565 in the previous year.
But even with Warsh's data stripped out, the average asset portfolio of remaining Board members is higher than it was in the last five years.
"The most obvious implication is that it creates an even wider gulf between the personal finances of the most important economic policymakers in the country and the citizens they're supposed to serve," said Tom Schlesinger, executive director of the Financial Markets Center.
A potential danger of the widened gulf is that that the governors' own personal financial situations may blind them to the economic realities that most Americans face everyday, Schlesinger said.
Among the details disclosed by the Board members: one-quarter of Frederic Mishkin's consulting income came from central banks, including the New York Fed, the Bank of Korea and the Central Bank of Chile. Mishkin also owns stock in Boeing (Charts), Pfizer (Charts), and Disney (Charts).
The bulk of Chairman Bernanke's holdings are savings in TIAA-CREF, the pension fund for academic and research employees.
Governor Susan S. Bies reported assets within the range of $7.3 and $18.3 million. Bies was previously a senior executive at Memphis-based First Tennessee Corporation.
Four of the Fed's seven governors have taken office in 2006, and all seven are Bush appointees.
Bush is only the third president to place all seven governors on the board, after Ronald Reagan in 1988 and Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson, the last Democrat on the board, retired in 2006.
"Historically, there have been rich people on the board of governors in the past," said Schlesinger. "But certainly in the past quarter century these are some of the wealthiest to serve."