Yellen outlook 'irrelevant' because Trump will reshape Fed, strategist who called Brexit vote says
With at least three vacancies expected on the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors this year, the central bank may not be exempt from a Trump-led shakeup, strategist Mark Grant told CNBC on Monday.
"The Fed of today is not going to be the Fed of tomorrow," the chief strategist at Hilltop Securities told "Squawk Box."
Grant, who accurately predicted the Brexit vote and Donald Trump's victory, said the president and Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin will take advantage of filling key vacancies on the Fed board to further their agenda.
Grant spoke a day ahead of Fed Chair Janet's Yellen's semiannual monetary report to the Senate. The Fed has said it expect to raise interest rates three times this year.
"I think what the Fed says at this point is, for all practical purposes, irrelevant, because Mr. Trump is going to be able to appoint three members of the Fed," Grant said. "I think they're going to be business people and the days of an academic, economist Fed are going to be over."
Removing academics from the Fed's board remains a point of contention, but Grant said the Trump administration is likely to do so with the economic landscape and policy goals in mind.
"I also believe that Trump and company, as I call them, know as they put in the infrastructure or the military expansion that there's going to be a balance to the balance sheet, and ... that the new people on the Fed are going to keep interest rates low," Grant said.
"So all this talk of a three interest rate or four interest rate hike, in my opinion, is baloney."
On Friday, Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo announced plans to leave the board in April, creating a third vacancy.
Danielle DiMartino Booth, author of "Fed Up: An Insider's Take on Why the Federal Reserve Is Bad for America," said that there is a high probability that board member Lael Brainard will also leave, creating yet another vacancy.
She said Trump's bold spending plan may require low interest rates (and, in turn, a more dovish Fed), but she wondered about whom the president would appoint to the board.
"It's really going to come down to whether or not he's got the gumption to totally change the complexion of the Federal Reserve board, or if he steps back and says, 'You know what, I've got to finance all this stuff, so I'm going to put more doves in.' These are hard decisions," she said.
Booth, who wrote an opinion piece for CNBC about the power of dissent among Fed board members, said the culture must change in order to effectively reconcile White House policy with the Fed's monetary agenda.
"You can still put people on the Federal Reserve board who don't think that "no" is a four-letter word, who can actually dissent," Booth said. "It is a culture where you're not allowed to raise your hand and say, 'You know what? There's something wrong with this picture.'"