Meet the policymakers on MarketWatch’s 50 list of most influential people in markets
Public policy makers wield enormous influence over financial markets in 2022. Whether it’s Jerome Powell’s Federal Reserve, which has been pumping new dollars into a booming economy, or the decision from Vladimir Putin to wage war on Ukraine, the role that governments and public institutions play in these markets is vast. Here are the 17 policymakers on this year’s MarketWatch 50 list of the most influential people in the markets.
Since taking office on January 20, 2021, President Joe Biden has signed into law major economic legislation that expanded COVID testing and the Child Tax Credit; signed a $1 trillion bill to modernize US roads, bridges and other infrastructure; and approved more than $52 billion for U.S. companies that make computer chips, in a bid to compete with China. While Biden has recorded achievements since winning the White House against Donald Trump in November 2020, Biden and his Democratic party now face a lingering challenge from historically high inflation. Biden signed into law a $750 billion health care, tax and climate bill in August, dubbed the Cut Inflation Act, though critics say the measure won’t cut much inflation. ‘inflation. Biden has tried to dampen inflation by releasing tens of millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while taking steps that could help push up prices, such as canceling a significant amount of student debt. Voters’ anger over high food, rent and car prices may have played a pivotal role if Republicans ultimately win one or both houses of Congress, which would lead to roadblocks for Biden’s agenda. in the second half of his term.
A member of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s inner circle, Lael Brainard had long been known for her dovish stance on interest rate policy. But that suddenly changed in the spring when Brainard rocked the markets with serious concerns about rising prices. Inflation was “far too high,” she said, and the Fed would start shrinking its giant $9 trillion balance sheet “at a rapid pace.” His remarks propelled 2- and 10-year Treasury yields to three-year highs and showed the world that U.S. central bank policymakers were finally on the same page when it came to to fight against inflation. In late September, Brainard brushed off the likelihood that the Fed would backtrack on its tough new drug soon, cementing market expectations for interest rates to be “higher for longer.” She also urged that crypto be regulated for her own benefit.
In his first year as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Rohit Chopra made it clear that he would use all the tools at his disposal to make the federal agency a major player in the financial services market. It focuses on competition and consumer protection, and uses its regulatory authority to scrutinize non-bank fintech companies, which are rapidly reshaping the financial system. Former FTC commissioner investigates Big Tech’s entry into consumer payments and shifts CFPB enforcement efforts from small businesses to major market players. The industry is giving in to the pressure. Several major banks have reduced or eliminated overdraft fees after he drew the bureau’s attention to what he calls “junk fees”. Chopra, 40, is also a member of the Financial Stability Supervisory Board and the FDIC board, where he won a power struggle that ended with the Trump-appointed president resigning and a fire green for a review of bank merger policy that could make mergers and acquisitions among big banks harder.
Gary Gensler has outlined an ambitious regulatory agenda that could fundamentally reform the way stocks, bonds and derivatives are bought and sold in America. In June, it announced its intention to pursue new rules that would require retail brokers to conduct auctions by order between market makers and exchanges, a rule that could disrupt the highly lucrative wholesale industry and potentially revitalize stock exchanges like the NYSE. The SEC Chairman has also made enemies in the digital asset industry by declaring that the “vast majority” of cryptocurrency tokens are securities issued and traded in violation of federal law, and denying industry calls to craft bespoke rules for crypto assets. . Perhaps the most controversial proposal was Gensler’s March proposal that would improve and standardize climate change risk disclosure, a move that critics say is an attempt to shame public companies into reducing emissions. of carbon.
In 2022, Xi Jinping has further extended his control over the world’s second largest economy. His official title is President, but he is also known as “The Emperor of Everything”. This year, he has continued to stubbornly pursue a zero-COVID policy for China, even with the full opening of most major economies. The policy has rippled through global markets, slowing China’s economy and repelling rising global energy prices. Xi has also pursued a mild version of the regulatory crackdown on China’s tech sector that has wiped out billions of dollars in value since 2020 and has only recently shown signs of easing. Xi expressed support for Russia in the war in Ukraine, while remaining compliant with Western sanctions. His appointment of loyalists to leadership positions in October sparked a sell-off in Chinese markets and prolongs the process of de-globalization – an inflationary trend as it raises the costs of operating businesses.
Lina Khan, 33, shot to stardom while still in law school by saying antitrust authorities should go after big tech companies, especially Amazon, even if their behavior doesn’t necessarily result in higher prices for consumers. Now, as chairman of the FTC, Khan is putting those ideas into action. In recent months, the FTC has sunk planned mergers of chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) and aerospace maker Lockheed Martin (LMT), and in July the committee’s Democratic majority voted against career staff’s advice to sue. in court to block Meta (META) planned acquisition of Within Unlimited. In 2022, Khan also bullied corporate dealmakers with the idea of post-acquisition challenges and by forcing changes to private equity deals. She also suggested reviving long-dormant regulatory powers to prevent companies from using non-compete agreements and instituting sweeping privacy rules that could have a massive impact on S&P 500 companies.
Christine Lagarde was slow to realize the seriousness of the rise in inflation at the head of the ECB. It only began setting a course to end eight years of bond buying and negative interest rates in June, weeks after the Federal Reserve and Bank of England took that step. . Once it moved, the euro crashed 20% and fell below the US dollar for the first time in 20 years. Lagarde tried to end quantitative easing asset purchases and raise interest rates while averting a bond market meltdown and sovereign debt defaults in southern European countries . His job has been complicated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and rising energy prices, with Europe dependent on natural gas imported from Russia. The challenge has become even more difficult with inflation in the euro zone exceeding 10% in September for the first time since the creation of the euro more than two decades ago.
A moderate Democrat often at odds with his party on major economic issues, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia determined the fate of President Biden’s agenda in an evenly divided Senate. Manchin’s opposition to ‘Build Back Better’ scuttled chances for social spending and climate legislation at the end of 2021 – but may also have kept inflation from getting even worse in 2022. This year, Manchin saved the Democratic agenda by backing a Biden bill signed in August that still has far-reaching market repercussions, from reducing greenhouse gases to taxing stock buybacks and lowering stock prices. prescription drugs.
After settling with Pinterest (PINS) his claims of racial and gender discrimination, Ifeoma Ozoma decided to make sure that other employees who are going through similar experiences can talk about it without fear of violating their nondisclosure agreements. The former public policy official was key to a California law, the first in the nation, making NDAs useless in cases of workplace abuse and its expanding provisions that went into effect this year ( followed by a similar law in Washington State). Ozoma took the issue much further in 2022, working with a coalition of shareholders to persuade tech companies like Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) (GOOGL) to extend protections for California law to the rest of their workforce across the country. By essentially rescinding NDAs in cases of workplace harassment or abuse, its efforts will reverberate across industries for years to come, as companies and executives will have fewer ways to hide instances of workplace harassment or abuse. wrongdoing.
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