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Fed Vice Chairman Fischer to resign for personal reasons

07 September 2017

Stanley Fischer, the vice chair of the USA central bank, has resigned a year before his term was due to end, citing "personal reasons".

Fischer had previously served as the governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005-2013, in addition to posts at Citi, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Fed watchers had thought he would step down, but had not expected it to be so soon. Rate increases are a sign that the economy is improving. Yet inflation remains below the Fed's target, complicating its future course.

Appointed to the board for an unexpired term finalising on 31 January, 2020, his term as vice chairman was due to expire on 12 June 2018.

Fischer cited "personal reasons" in his resignation letter to President Donald Trump.

Mr. Trump has nominated Randal Quarles for one of the vacancies as vice chairman for bank supervision. All nominations to the Board of Governors require Senate confirmation.

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"During my time on the Board, the economy has continued to strengthen, providing millions of additional jobs for working Americans", Fischer wrote.

Congress already faces a crowded agenda this fall: It needs to raise the country's borrowing limit, reach a budget agreement to keep the government operating, and plans to take up complicated tax reform. Trump has said he is considering renominating Yellen to the position but is also considering other candidates, including White House economic adviser Gary Cohn. Yellen's term expires in February.

Fischer, who was born in Zambia in 1943, received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D.in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he would go on to become a professor. "It adds to the cloudiness of the outlook for monetary policy".

That could make it harder for the Fed in the future to slice interest rates to ultra-low levels, as it did in 2008 and 2009, amid the financial crisis and Great Recession.

Fed Vice Chairman Fischer to resign for personal reasons