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Another Treasury Department Exit Creates Uncertainty For Investors

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Another Treasury Department Exit Creates Uncertainty For Investors

A high-ranking Treasury Department official is returning to the financial sector, and his departure may have a larger-than-expected impact on investors.

Housing Finance Reform

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Craig Phillips, a top deputy to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, is leaving the federal agency. Phillips was formerly a top executive at BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK), and was known within the Trump administration as being a liaison between the Treasury and Wall Street.

Phillips was reportedly deeply involved with the administration's push for housing finance reform, a hot-button issue for shareholders of Federal National Mortgage Association (OTC: FNMA) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (OTC: FMCC).

Treasury is working on a comprehensive plan to overhaul Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; investors were hoping to get the details of the new plan as soon as next month, but Phillips’ departure once again leaves Fannie and Freddie investors in the dark.

Cryptocurrency

Phillips’ exit may be good news for cryptocurrency investors. Phillips has been outspoken about the need for further regulation of cryptocurrencies and other non-bank financial technology companies.

“Tokens are linked to blockchain technology, an important innovation. In the last year, however, they have also been associated with speculative valuation activities, possible market manipulation activities and potentially a significant amount of illicit activities that escape traditional anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist controls globally,” Phillips told The Clearing House last year.

After concerns over increased regulatory oversight drove a cryptocurrency market crash in 2018, many top currencies have rebounded in 2019. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (Btc) (OTC: GBTC) is up 150.7 percent year-to-date.

Any investors with exposure to Treasury initiatives should be prepared for potential delays in the process.

Phillips is just the latest official to leave the department this year. Former undersecretary for international affairs David Malpass, assistant secretary for international markets Heath Tarbert, chief of staff Eli Miller and assistant secretary for public affairs Tony Sayegh have all either left or announced plans to leave the Treasury in the first two quarters of 2019.

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Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikimedia

Posted-In: Craig Phillips The Clearing HouseCryptocurrency Government Politics Markets Media General Best of Benzinga

 

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