Fed czar goes pub­lic as die-hard Trekkie

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS -

Turns out the man re­spon­si­ble for the health of the U.S. fi­nan­cial sys­tem is a Star Trek fan.

Ran­dal Quar­les, the Fed­eral Re­serve’s vice chair­man for su­per­vi­sion, was giv­ing an oth­er­wise dry speech in Washington when he paused for a suit­able metaphor to de­scribe the trade­offs in stress-test­ing big banks. The one he came up with caught his au­di­ence of earth­lings at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion a lit­tle off guard.

“It’s not like the Will of Lan­dru from the old Star Trek and they’re only do­ing what the Fed says,” a straight-faced Quar­les of­fered on Fri­day. He was ex­plain­ing the risks of giv­ing too much in­sight into the Fed’s risk mod­els and cre­at­ing an in­cen­tive for banks to let down their in­ter­nal guard as a re­sult.

Dis­cus­sion mod­er­a­tor and Brook­ings Se­nior Fel­low Martin Baily con­fessed he’s missed that episode. Quar­les, a for­mer pri­vate-eq­uity ex­ec­u­tive, as­sured him “I can do them all.”

Lan­dru, ac­cord­ing to the Star Trek web­site, was an om­ni­scient com­puter on the planet Beta III with a pow­er­ful hold on its peo­ple — un­til Cap­tain James T. Kirk put a stop to it.

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