WASHINGTON - Bush administration officials are considering British regulator Gay Wisbey and community banker Terry J. Jorde for political appointments to key financial services policy jobs.
Ms. Wisbey was interviewed April 11 by White House officials, according to sources, for a seat on either the Federal Reserve Board or the Securities and Exchange Commission.
As director of markets and exchanges for the United Kingdom's Financial Services Authority, Ms. Wisbey, 46, is the British equivalent of SEC chief. (In 1998, the U.K. removed financial regulation from central bank's domain and created the FSA to oversee banks, securities firms, insurance companies, stock exchanges, and pensions.)
Ms. Jorde, president and chief executive officer of $35.6 million-asset CountryBank USA in Cando, N.D., has also been interviewed by White House officials. Ms. Jorde, 43, got her start in the business in 1979 as a teller at the bank, which was then called Towner County State Bank.
It is still unclear whether either woman, or both, will be nominated - or to what position. The Fed has two vacancies on its seven-member board, and the SEC has two of its five seats open. The agency is being run by acting Chairman Laura S. Unger, who stepped up from a board seat on Feb. 12 just after Arthur Levitt resigned. A long list of potential nominees to head the SEC started early in the administration; the Financial Times on Monday put veteran securities lawyer Harvey Pitt of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson at the top of the list.
Though the Bush administration has appointed women and minorities to many high-level posts, most of its financial nominees, including the top four officials at the Treasury Department, have been white men. Sources said the White House would like to find a female banker for the Fed board, which has typically included a woman, and also someone with banking experience. Today's board consists of five men, none of whom has worked at a bank.
Before joining the FSA in September 1998, Ms. Wisbey, who is an American, worked for Bankers Trust Co., both in London and New York. She joined the bank in 1984 and became a senior managing director and risk management expert. She was chairwoman of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association from 1994 to 1998 and was known then as Gay Evans. (She subsequently married John Wisbey, who runs Lombard Risk in London.)
Ms. Wisbey was unavailable for comment. Her office confirmed that she was in Washington for the ISDA's recent annual meeting and that she would be traveling until at least Thursday. Sources close to Ms. Wisbey said rumors were swirling at the ISDA meeting about her possible political appointment.
"She knows banking. She knows derivatives. She knows market regulation. That's a potent combination," one financial services executive said. "She just would be great" at either the Fed or the SEC.
Ms. Jorde was one of 32 executives President Bush met with in early January at an economic forum in Austin, Tex. Ms. Jorde said she used the opportunity to inform the President about the funding crisis gripping community banks and to advocate an increase to the $100,000 deposit insurance limit. She has been a member of the Fed's Consumer Advisory Council. Ms. Jorde did not return phone calls seeking comment.