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January 29, 2014

Sheila Bair Goes Corporate

Sheila Bair, former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has been an outspoken critic of the revolving door that delivers financial regulators to well-paid jobs in finance. This week, she revolved through it herself to a job on the board of Banco Santander SA, one of Europe’s biggest banks.

“Bair’s failure to abide by her own principles has caused a flutter of protest and amusement. The complaints are fair, but they miss the point, just as Bair did: The revolving door is a problem, but the solution can’t be to lock it shut.

“In “Bull by the Horns,” the book she published in 2012 after leaving the FDIC, Bair said regulators should be barred for life from working for banks they’ve regulated. Industry experience is valuable, but this should be gained through temporary assignments while remaining on the government’s payroll. Regulation should be a lifelong career.

“On the charge of hypocrisy, her counsel could argue that the FDIC wasn’t the primary regulator of Santander’s U.S. operations, and the parent bank in Madrid, whose board she’s joining, is overseen by Spanish and European regulators.”

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Read full Bloomberg article here

 
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