As economic unsettledness begins to touch individuals and organizations throughout Utah and around the country, Silicon Slopes spoke recently with one of the state’s most cerebral and Wall Street-connected individuals for his insights and observations.
A native San Franciscan that was raised in Roy, Utah, Randal K. Quarles is arguably the Utahn with the greatest insights and most clout when it comes to the inner workings of the national and global financial marketplaces.
True inklings of such potential were first shown when Quarles graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy before going on to receive his law degree from Yale in 1984.
During his now nearly 40-year career, Quarles has practiced financial institutions law for nearly 15 years in New York City and London, while also leading and/or helping found two major financial institutions, including
- The Carlyle Group, where he served for over six years as a partner, and with
- Utah-based Cynosure Group, where he was a co-founder and served for nearly four years as managing partner, and is now its executive chairman.
Additionally, Quarles spent over 11 years working for the U.S. government, including
- Two stints with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, spanning more than six years, with over a year as Undersecretary for Domestic Finance, plus
- Close to a year as the U.S. Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, and, most recently,
- Four years as one of two Vice Chairmen of the U.S. Federal Reserve and a member of its Board of Governors.
With Quarles’ background, we thought it would be beneficial to visit with him and share some of his thoughts with the Silicon Slopes ecosystem.
What follows below has been edited for clarity and length from our 45-minute conversation.
A Quick Primer on the U.S. Federal Reserve
To get started what in the heck is the U.S. Federal Reserve? What is it, and where did it come from? And what’s the role that the Fed plays today?
So that’s a more complicated question maybe than it ought to be, because the Federal Reserve is a unique and complex organization.
At one level, it’s an easy answer: It’s the central bank of the United States. But it was created at a particular moment in history to respond to some of the imperatives of U.S. history that have been different than in other countries that make it, the Fed, different from most central banks. Specifically, it was created to basically help provide financial stability, particularly to the banking system.
Read the full interview here.