WASHINGTON - Public Securities Association President Heather Ruth is being considered for the position of Treasury undersecretary for finance, as well as for other high-level posts in the Clinton administration, industry officials say.
If named to the Treasury post, Ruth, who has headed the PSA since 1983, would replace Jerome H. Powell. He was named Treasury undersecretary for finance in May after having been the department's assistant secretary for domestic finance since 1990. Ruth could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Clinton transition team officials did not return phone calls. But industry officials said she had met with the transition team. "She's definitely under consideration," said one prominent member of the bond community who did not want to be identified. Ruth, he said, is well-respected within the bond industry. Another industry official said that Ruth has a broad knowledge of the public securities industry and is highly respected by her colleagues. As undersecretary for finance, Powell led the Treasury's efforts to improve regulation of the government securities market in the wake of the Salomon Brothers Inc. bidding scandal. He also has played a major role in the department's efforts to help modernize the nation's banking system.
Before joining the PSA, Ruth was executive director of the Municipal Assistance Corporation for the City of New York and was a senior officer of Princeton-based Mathematica Policy Research. She holds a master's degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and has headed her own economic consulting firm. Ruth is also a member of the board of the New York State Financial Control Board, which monitors New York City's budget.
The Treasury undersecretary for finance is responsible for the department's office of domestic finance, which oversees Treasury borrowings. It also oversees economic policy and the fiscal assistant secretary's office, which disburses checks and has other federal government finance responsibilities.
The agency's two undersecretaries, including the undersecretary for international affairs, report to the deputy secretary. Recently named to that post was Roger Altman, vice chairman of the Blackstone Group in New York and former assistant Treasury secretary during the Carter administration.
Ruth is one of several women being eyed for top-level positions affecting public finance in the incoming administration.
Consuela Washington, a top aide to Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., is being looked at as a potential replacement for outgoing Securities sand Exchange Commission Chairman Richard Breeden, Washington sources say. Also being considered for Breeden's job is Securities and Exchange Commissioner Mary Schapiro, a former futures industry official.
Playing a key role in the SEC's transition to the new administration is Aida Alvarez, vice president for public finance at First Boston Corp. in San Francisco since 1988. Alvarez was a vice president of public finance for Bear, Stearns & Co. in New York from 1985 to 1988, and vice president of public affairs Is for the New York City Health & Hospitals Corp. from 1984 to 1985.
Before joining the Treasury, Powell a senior vice president with Dillon, Read & Co., where he focused on mergers and acquisitions, financings, and merchant banking. Prior to that, Powell was an attorney with the firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York.
The PSA's 300 members are banks, dealers, and brokers that underwrite, trade, and sell municipal bonds, mortgage-backed securities, money market instruments, and U.S. government and federal agency securities.