Skip to content
Sign up to receive our free weekday morning edition, and you'll never miss a scoop.
Joe Biden and Donald Trump

Financial world is abuzz about the next administration

It’s Joe Biden v. Donald Trump… again. Whoever wins will be staffing up for the second go-around across the Treasury Department and financial regulators.

Key circles in D.C. and New York are plotting out how this could all shake out. So we talked to Democrats and Republicans with ties to both administrations about what to watch after November’s results come in.

New names will emerge between now and staffing time. But the chatter has begun. Let’s get to it.

Trump 2.0: The relationship between Wall Street and Trump has always been a little weird.

The last administration had plenty of Wall Street representation, to be clear. Folks like former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and former Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell were all Goldman Sachs alumni before they signed up.

But today, lobbyists freely admit there’s a bit of distance between the financial services sector on K Street and the Trump-verse. Think tank operations like the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 have largely filled the gap and taken the lead in vetting personnel.

Paul Dans, director of Project 2025 and a former chief of staff in the Office of Personnel Management under Trump, told us to expect to see “much less of people from banking syndicates, and whatever, waltzing into positions.”

But Trump’s disinterest in this space, plus the limited number of people who can slot into complicated regulatory roles, has led a lot of downtown folks to expect former officials with private sector backgrounds to return.

To wit: Former SEC Commissioner Jay Clayton and former National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow are K Street’s most consistent picks to lead a Trump Treasury.

We also expect some interest from Congress. Folks courting a VP nod are obvious fits for cabinet spots, but we’ve also heard the name of Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) get tossed around for Treasury secretary.

But this is Trump, who likes to muse about any number of people serving in various jobs. Sometimes it’s because he likes what they’ve said on TV. Sometimes it’s because someone visited Mar-a-Lago and bent his ear.

So expect to hear plenty of names floating around for Treasury secretary. Bloomberg reports people in the mix include hedge fund manager John Paulson, former U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Susquehanna International Group, LLP founder Jeff Yass.

For commission-led regulators, folks are looking down the dais: Current SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Vice Chair Travis Hill are considered strong contenders to lead those agencies if the White House flips.

With a Trump win, there would also be the question of whether Biden-nominated officials serving out longer terms stay. IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, for one, doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

Biden 2.0: Here’s the dynamic to watch when it comes to Biden’s economic personnel moves in a second term. Will he please the left — which could make corporate backgrounds dicier — or go more centrist?

That’s been a tension in Biden’s first term. With reelection secured, Biden might not feel as indebted to his party’s progressive wing.

We also expect more pressure on Biden to increase Black and Latino representation in top economic posts.

These factors will matter because Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen isn’t expected to stay for a second term. In another twist, Biden might need to push nominations through a Republican-controlled Senate.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard are a couple of big names we heard repeatedly who could fill Yellen’s shoes. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo’s name also kept coming up as someone who could be in the mix for key economic roles.

Plus, look out for the New York Department of Financial Services’ Adrienne Harris if the FDIC top job opens.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who just suffered a rough loss in the California Senate primary, keeps popping up as a potential successor to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra — if he exits. It’s not impossible, but we’re a bit skeptical that’ll be where Porter lands.

— Laura Weiss and Brendan Pedersen

Presented by AARP

AARP knows older voters. 

We’ve made it our business to know what matters to people 50 and over—like we know that protecting Social Security and supporting family caregivers are among their top priorities. Learn more from our polling in Pennsylvania.

Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.