New Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell may have a few surprises in store for the market, judging by past statements he has made behind the central bank's closed doors and some whispers going around Wall Street.
Powell took the helm of the Fed on Monday, succeeding Janet Yellen, of whom he is considered a close ideological ally. Though the events seem more a matter of coincidence than causation, markets greeted the new central bank chief with a stomach-churning slide.
While there seems little fear that Powell will be hostile to markets, assuming that he is going to be a carbon copy acolyte of Yellen could be a mistake.
There are a few potential points of contrast.
One is in comments Powell made during Federal Open Market Committee meetings in 2012, the year he was seated as a central bank governor. At several meetings then he expressed serious reservations about the direction of monetary policy, questioning the efficiency of the Fed's low-interest-rate money-printing philosophy at the time.
Since being seated as governor in June 2012, he has never once dissented from the majority opinion. But he worried at several points over the long-run ramifications that the extreme easing measures could cause.
"I think we are actually at a point of encouraging risk-taking, and that should give us pause," Powell said at the October 2012 FOMC meeting, transcripts of which were released that November and have been the subject of a good deal of murmuring around Wall Street.
The idea that the Fed was pushing people into stocks and other risky assets is probably the most common criticism of the post-crisis monetary remedies. But Powell also wasn't convinced that the second prong of the Fed's approach that entailed buying up Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities was particularly impactful.