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New Fed deputy due in town?

By Mark Hamrick · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

Does the Federal Reserve need more brain power at the ready for the next financial crisis, wherever it is?

There are reports that President Barack Obama is prepared to nominate former International Monetary Fund official Stanley Fischer for the No. 2 job at the Fed. He would succeed Janet Yellen, who awaits confirmation as the next Fed chair.

Fischer's career has stretched from Israel, where he was a central bank governor, to Washington, D.C., with the IMF and World Bank. At the IMF from 1994 to 2001, he had a high profile during crises in Asia, Russia and Mexico as first deputy managing director. At MIT, his students included Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.

The 70-year-old Fischer holds dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship. He was born in Northern Rhodesia, which is now Zambia.

While acknowledging the depth of Fischer's international experience, professor James Angel of Georgetown University, an expert on financial crises, says, "Like every Obama appointee, he looks great on paper. Time will tell how he'll do in action." Angel says ideal candidates for central banking jobs are "people who are very intelligent, who understand what they're doing and have common sense. They should also have good political sense, but are not politicians."

Bernanke presides over his last scheduled news conference as chairman next week. He's serving in the post until the end of January.

There was no official word on the possible nomination from either the Fed or the White House. It is likely the Obama administration wants to wait to make the announcement until the full Senate votes on Yellen's confirmation.

Do you think Fischer will make a good Fed vice chair?

Follow me on Twitter: @hamrickisms.

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