Investments 

New Fed chair likely to be 'market friendly'

New Fed chair likely to be 'market friendly'

Jay Powell's appointment to succeed Janet Yellen as chair of the US Federal Reserve is likely to benefit markets, according to several UK fund managers.

Mr Trump broke with recent precedent by not re-appointing Ms Yellen for a second term.

Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama had all re-appointed the incumbent, even when the incumbent was originally given the job by a president from a rival party.

Ms Yellen’s term ends in February, at which point Mr Powell will take over. He does not have any formal qualifications in economics, unlike Ms Yellen and her immediate predecessors.

Mr Powell has been a member of the Federal Reserve board since 2012, and during that time his votes on interest rates have been in line with the views of Ms Yellen and colleagues.

The US Federal Reserve has put rates up in recent years, but in a gradual fashion, and the country's main stock market the Dow Jones has hit record highs.

A continuation of that policy would be a positive for markets, said Peter Sleep, senior investment manager at 7IM.

Neil Birrell, chief investment officer at Premier Asset Management, said the new chair’s background in investment banking, as opposed to academic economics as was the case with many of the previous holders of the post, is likely to mean he favours lighter regulation of the financial services industry.

Mike Sherlock, who runs the £657m Hermes US Mid and Small Cap fund, said another of Trump’s policies, that of cutting business taxes, would benefit the small companies on the US market.

This is because, in his view, companies with more domestic earnings, as US small and mid-cap companies are, have less ability to route earnings through tax friendly jurisdictions and so will benefit most from a cut in corporation tax.  

David.Thorpe@ft.com

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