Goldman Sachs – Yellen Earned $7.2 Million In Speaking Fees Over Last Two Years
Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for treasury secretary, has earned more than $7 million in speaking fees from banks and large companies since leaving the Federal Reserve in 2018, a record that will force Yellen to seek permission before working at Treasury with some of Wall Street’s largest financial institutions.
Yellen earned around $7.26 million from dozens of speaking engagements in 2019 and 2020, according to a disclosure form submitted by Biden’s transition team this week and posted by the Office of Government Ethics Thursday night.
The former Federal Reserve chair’s clients included Citi (which paid for at least nine speeches in 2019 and 2020), Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Salesforce and several other Wall Street banks and large corporations.
Yellen has also earned $350,000 in consulting and speaking fees from Magellan Financial Group, an Australia-based asset management company, though she doesn’t hold any equity in the firm and says she’ll resign from her consulting post there if she’s confirmed as treasury secretary.
Biden’s transition team did not respond to a request for comment.
What To Watch For
If the Senate confirms Yellen to helm the Treasury, the paid speeches she’s given to large banks could complicate her job overseeing them. Per government rules, she committed this week to seeking written permission from a Treasury-appointed ethics official for at least one year if she needs to participate “personally and substantially” in any matters involving Citi, Goldman Sachs, or any other bank that has paid her. This ethics requirement could drag on for the first nine months of the Biden administration because she spoke to multiple financial institutions in October of 2020.
An economist by trade, Yellen has spent decades working in government and for the Federal Reserve. She served as Fed chair for four years, but she departed the central bank in 2018 after President Donald Trump chose not to extend her term. She quickly joined the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow and signed onto the Washington Speakers Bureau, an agency that secures lucrative speaking gigs for former government officials.
Yellen’s disclosure form also lists millions of dollars in investment assets. Most of those assets are in index funds, but she also owns shares of AT&T, Pfizer, and several other companies that she’s agreed to sell her stakes in. More surprisingly, she listed a stamp collection owned by her and her husband, which she valued between $15,000 and $50,000.
Current Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, a former hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs executive, has faced tough ethics questions. He divested from dozens of financial firms after he was nominated in 2017, selling off hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, though critics believe some conflicts of interest could linger because he sold a film production studio to his wife in 2017.
Janet Yellen made millions in Wall Street, corporate speeches (Politico)