- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) — Engulfed by economic and financial turbulence, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has taken extraordinary steps to ease the nation’s problems. His own finances are a bit more straightforward.

The chairman’s financial-disclosure form, released Monday, showed his holdings last year were in no-frills investments, including U.S. Treasury securities, Canadian Treasury bonds, mutual funds and annuities.

Mr. Bernanke, 54, took over the central bank in February 2006, succeeding longtime chairman Alan Greenspan, who also played it safe when it came to his own investments while at the Fed.

Over the past year, Mr. Bernanke has been in crisis-management mode, trying to prevent housing, credit and financial debacles from sinking the economy. The Fed has aggressively sliced interest rates to shore up activity and taken a number of other actions, some unprecedented, to prop up the financial system.

An economist who spent most of his career in academia, including teaching at Princeton, Mr. Bernanke also is receiving royalties on two textbooks he wrote. The documents showed that royalty income was listed at between $50,001 and $100,000 for each textbook, the largest single slices of income other than his Fed salary.

Mr. Bernanke’s salary last year was $186,600. This year it rises to $191,300.

The Fed chief’s largest assets last year were two annuities - TIAA Traditional and CREF Stock Large Cap Blend - with each valued at between $500,001 to $1,000,000, the documents showed. Some assets from each annuity were sold in mid-December, with each transaction valued at between $15,001 and $50,000.

The disclosure form asks only for broad ranges for the values of holdings.

The value of his total assets last year was between about $1.2 million and nearly $2.5 million. The income from his investments, which includes checking and savings accounts, came to between $141,500 and $333,100. Both the asset and income figures are in line with those reported for 2006.

Mr. Bernanke listed no individual stocks or corporate bonds last year.

The chairman and other Federal Reserve Board members are not allowed to own stock in banking organizations or shares of mutual funds specializing in banking and finance. Other holdings generally are permitted.

Mr. Bernanke did not report any liabilities. The disclosure form stated that Mr. Bernanke’s wife, Anna, collected a salary from the Cesar Chavez School in the District. The salary, however, was not listed.

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