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Wednesday, May 12, 1999 Published at 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK


Business: The Economy

Robert Rubin, the man Wall Street trusts

Robert Rubin is handing over the US Treasury reins

When US President Bill Clinton appointed Robert Rubin as Treasury Secretary, it was probably one of the deftest moves of his career, winning his administration the instant trust of Wall Street.

Mr Rubin, who announced his resignation on Wednesday, is credited to be one of the main architects of the US economic miracle, delivering sustained growth, near full-employment and bullish stock markets, while avoiding inflationary pressures.

Wall Street man

One reason why the US business community trusted the Treasury Secretary is the fact that he is a Wall Street man from head to toe.

He spent nearly his entire career inside one of the Street's most powerful money machines, the prestigious investment firm of Goldman Sachs.

Soon after he joined the company in 1966, he became a young star in so-called risk arbitrage - speculating on the stocks of companies subject to takeover attempts.

Later he ran the firm's stock and bond trading departments, and revived its commodities subsidiary.

In 1990 he became co-chairman of the company.

But when President Clinton asked him to become a politician, he said yes - foresaking a huge fortune.

In 1992, the year before he joined the administration, he earned $26m with Goldman Sachs.

Before taking over at the Treasury in 1995, succeeding former Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Mr Rubin headed President Clinton's National Economic Council, with the task of creating harmony among more than a dozen agencies that advise the president on the economy.

Democratic 'heritage'

Despite his strong business ties, Mr Rubin is not a political conservative. He always proudly proclaimed his Democratic 'heritage', pointing to his grandfather, who had been active in Brooklyn politics.

And very much like President Clinton, he is a 'New Democrat'. He is a centrist, particularly on economic issues, while staking out more liberal positions on social and urban issues.

He always pushed hard for private investment in economically depressed inner-city neighborhoods.

Robert Rubin was born in New York City in 1938 and grew up in Miami Beach, the son of a lawyer. He graduated from Harvard College with highest honors in economics and quit Harvard Law School after three days to see the world.

He later studied at the London School of Economics and received a law degree from Yale.

He spent two years at a New York law firm before switching careers.

Fed next?

There has been a lot of speculation over what his next move could be. Administration officials say that Mr Rubin has no immediate plans for returning to private life.

One thing is sure - he will return to the Big Apple.

His wife, Judith, has never moved to Washington, living in New York City throughout his term in office.

Many are wondering whether Mr Rubin has his eyes on climbing to the very top of US economic leadership - to be chairman of the US Federal Reserve should Alan Greenspan choose to retire.



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