Millionaire JPMorgan Banker Norton Seeking $155,500 Post at FDIC
Jeremiah O. Norton, who made $1.2 million over 2010 and 2011 as a JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) banker, is waiting for a U.S. Senate committee to vote on his nomination for a new job as a $155,500-a-year regulator.
The Senate Banking Committee votes tomorrow on his nomination to join the board of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The committee’s approval would make Norton one of four would-be FDIC regulators awaiting confirmation by the complete Senate.
Norton is not alone is pursuing a path from Wall Street to relatively modest compensation in government. Before joining JPMorgan, Norton worked in the Treasury department for former Goldman Sachs chief executive Hank Paulson, who amassed more than $500 million at New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) before becoming Treasury Secretary in the administration of President George W. Bush.
Some who move from Wall Street to government are drawn to the prestige of the work, said Clifford Rossi, a former managing director of Citigroup Inc. (C)’s consumer lending group and an executive-in-resident at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “They can always go back to the private sector at some point, as we have seen, and pick up where they left off,” he said.
In U.S. Office of Government Ethics disclosures, Norton reported assets between $7.5 million and $31 million. Much of his reported wealth is in JAP Investment Group LP, the largest stockholder in Herndon, Virginia-based ePlus Inc., run by his father, Phillip G. Norton. Jeremiah Norton’s share amounts to $14.8 million in market value of the online supply-chain management firm, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
He also owns at least $1.1 million in undeveloped Virginia property near Washington, according to the disclosures.
Also awaiting confirmation to FDIC posts are its acting chairman Martin J. Gruenberg, and Thomas Hoenig, who has been nominated for vice chairman. Confirmations have been delayed by Republican senators frustrated by President Barack Obama’s Jan. 4 recess appointment of Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“Ever since the Cordray episode, the Republicans are kind of smarting from those recess appointments,” said Rossi. Obama also made recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The FDIC confirmations, he said, would be “tricky.” Republican Norton is “kind of an olive branch to get those other three,” he added.
Gruenberg, Obama’s pick to head the independent regulator, reported between $18,000 and $95,000 in assets on his disclosure form, which puts asset values into wide ranges. The other Democrat, Thomas J. Curry, is a current FDIC director and Obama’s nominee to be Comptroller of the Currency, a job that means he’d retain an FDIC board post. He also filed a brief disclosure, detailing between $82,000 and $230,000 in assets.
Norton, who declined to comment on his disclosures or confirmation process, was a former aide to a Republican congressman, Edward Royce of California, whose re-election campaigns he contributed $5,000 to last year. He also gave $2,500 to Republican Senate candidate George Allen of Virginia, according to contribution disclosures.
Norton served as a deputy assistant Treasury secretary during the 2008 financial crisis, an experience that will be invaluable “in terms of how to assess the rules and the procedures that need to be in place,” said Senator Dan Coats, an Indiana Republican, at Norton’s confirmation hearing last week.
When asked by senators how he would work with others at the FDIC, Norton said it would be “important given the number of rules that the FDIC and the other agencies must propose and finalize to have a good working relationship and get our work done expeditiously.”
Hoenig, who was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City for 20 years, told lawmakers in November that big banks shouldn’t get bailouts. In preparation to take the No. 2 spot at the FDIC -- an agency given resolution authority for failing firms under the Dodd-Frank Act -- he disclosed between $2.5 million and $11 million in assets, including his Fed pension and a life insurance policy. He earned about $385,000 a year to run the Kansas City Fed and expects $264,000 a year in pension benefits, the disclosures said.
Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, became an automatic member of the five-person FDIC board when he took over the CFPB.