Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman who could move financial markets with just a few words, has been appointed senior adviser at Citadel, a $25 billion (£16 billion) hedge fund founded by billionaire Kenneth Griffin.
According to the New York Times, Mr Bernanke’s brief is to offer his analysis of global economic and financial issues to Citadel’s investment committees, as also to meet with the hedge fund’s investors around the world.
In an interview, Mr Bernanke said he had declined offers by banks as he wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. “I ruled out any firm that was regulated by the Federal Reserve,” he clarified, conscious that public was anxious about the “revolving door” between Wall Street and Washington.
He said he picked Citadel because it was not “regulated by the Federal Reserve and I won’t 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.”
Mr Bernanke stepped down from the Fed last year, and has since been visible on the speaking circuit, attending dinners and conferences organised by financial institutions and hedge funds. According to the New York Times, he can now earn as much as $200,000 for a single speaking assignment – an amount he earned in a whole year at the Fed.
Details of Mr Bernanke’s compensation at Citadel are not available. However, he clarified that he would be paid an annual fee but would not have an ownership stake in the firm nor receive any performance linked bonuses. He is not exclusively tied to Citadel, and can take on other consulting assignments, though he remains a full-time fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Mr Griffin said in a statement: “We are honoured to welcome Dr. Bernanke to Citadel. He has extraordinary knowledge of the global economy and his insights on monetary policy and the capital markets will be extremely valuable to our team and to our investors.”
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