May 20, 2009

Volcker’s role still uncertain

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker's role as a presidential adviser appears uncertain, observers of Obama administration economic policy said.

Shortly after the presidential election, Barack Obama said Volcker would play a key role in economic policy development. The President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board was created to give Volcker a voice in the process, but Volcker's influence has been overshadowed by policy makers closer to the president, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Anybody in the world doing the creation of policy would be well advised to talk to him, said former World Bank President James Wolfensohn.

What I don't know is how much he's being used, Wolfensohn said.

One board member, former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson said, time will tell whether there's frustration here.

Volcker complained in April that the whole organizational side of this has been a nightmare, the newspaper said.

Others said Volcker's board was starting to roll up its sleeves, forming subgroups to tackle a wide variety of financial issues.

The groups were getting an understanding of where we add value, said UBS Group Americas Chairman Robert Wolf, who serves on a group dealing with financial markets and job creation.