Jerome Powell

Jerome Powell

Formal First Name
1953 - present

Jerome Powell took office as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in February 2018. He arrived at the Board with a sterling record of private-sector success and public service. Before assuming his current role, Powell had overseen the Reserve banks, the management of the board’s staff, the payments system, and bank supervision and regulation. Today, he efficiently leads a process in which monetary policy decisions are based on data and objective analysis.


  • Member of the Board of Governors


  • Overall, his Fed was much different than under the past chairman.
  • Unlike his recent predecessors who had an academic background, Powell had primarily private sector experience.
  • Fed officials rarely issue public comments outside of official Fed events (far more public statements under Yellen and Bernanke)
  • Directed the Fed to look for new methods to measure REAL economic levels (past measurements have been manipulated)
  • Oversaw a Hawkish Fed policy 2018: multiple rate hikes and QE on Autopilot
  • Claims that the Fed is Data Dependent (not driven by market performance)
  • He has emphasized the Fed’s accountability to Congress and its obligation to communicate clearly to the public. 

  • Fed will continue to focus single-mindedly on creating and sustaining an economy that benefits all American families and businesses.

JAN 2018 - DEC 2018 POLICY

  • Fed policy was set on 3-4 rate hikes/year
  • Page of QT would reach $50B/month and stay there
  • Not concerned about EM problems caused by this


  • Only a major crisis would change this
  • Said that he'd consider changing balance sheet policy if needed (1/4/19)
  • Said that he might end QT earlier than expected (1/25/19)
  • Suggested that there may be no more rate hikes in 2019 (even with historically low unemployment)
  • Criticism that Powell shifted to supporting the markets vs. normalizing policy (Powell Put) aftermarket declines in Dec 2018
  • One of the biggest Fed reversals / policy shifts in history
  • Potential Reasons for Policy Shift
  • No High Yield issuance in 12/18 (40 days) - first month since 2008 Lehman collapse
  • Jan 30, 2019 is the day he publicly became concerned about stock markets (like Bernanke and Yellen before him)


  • Indicated that the Fed would raise rates above the neutral rate and that we weren't at the neutral rate yet  (October 2018)
  • Sent interest rates higher (10-year treasury highest since 2011)


  • Powell was born in Washington, D.C. 
  • While at Georgetown, he was editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Law Journal.
  • Before joining the administration, he worked as a lawyer and investment banker in New York City.
  • Powell served as an assistant secretary and as undersecretary of the Treasury under President George H.W. Bush. There, he was responsible for policy on financial institutions, the Treasury debt market, and related areas. 
  • Before his appointment to the Board of Governors, Powell was a visiting scholar at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where he focused on federal and state fiscal issues.