July 25, 2006

Bernanke’s wealth creeps up, along with rates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Interest rates are not the only
thing rising at the U.S. Federal Reserve.

New Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who took office on February
1, saw his wealth creep up at the end of last year as he was
waiting in the wings to succeed Alan Greenspan as the man at
the helm of U.S. monetary policy.

According to his latest financial disclosure report
covering 2005 and released on Tuesday, the value of assets held
by the Bernanke household closed out the year somewhere in the
$1.15 million to $2.49 million range.

That is up from a range of $953,000 to $2.12 million as
disclosed in papers filed along with his nomination to the top
Fed post, which was announced in October.

Under U.S. ethics laws, Bernanke and other Fed governors
are required to file annual financial disclosure statements
with the government.

While Bernanke is hardly a pauper, he is far from being the
wealthiest member of the Fed board.

That distinction goes to Kevin Warsh, whose wife, Jane
Lauder is an heiress to a cosmetics fortune.

Together, Warsh and his wife had combined assets at the end
of last year totaling at least $66 million, according to a
Reuters analysis of the disclosure forms.

It is impossible to gauge the extent of their wealth,
because the government does not require spouses to disclose an
upper end of holdings valued at more than $1 million each.

Excluding his wife's wealth, Warsh -- the youngest governor
in the Fed's 92-year history when he was confirmed for the post
in February at age 35 -- held assets valued in a $916,000 to
$2.07 million range.

Fed Governor Susan Bies is the second-wealthiest member of
the Fed board, with assets valued at $7.32 million to $18.32

Governor Randall Kroszner, who like Warsh was confirmed in
his post in February, had assets valued at $1.95 million to
$4.22 million.

Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn, who has spent his entire
career within the Federal Reserve System, had assets worth
somewhere between $611,000 and $1.64 million.