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Obama selects Berner to head new financial data office

Richard BernerDick Berner, a former chief U.S. economist for Morgan Stanley, has been picked by President Barack Obama to lead the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Research.

The new division was designed to assist policymakers in analyzing the condition of the U.S. financial system and is granted broad authority to collect data from the financial industry in order to do so.

Republicans in Congress are concerned that the extent of the division’s data-collection power is too broad.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) said the office’s “broad mandate is deeply troubling and Orwellian in nature,” SmartMoney.com reports.

Berner was hired by the Treasury Department in April to help build the financial-research office. He has held other prominent rules outside of his post at Morgan Stanley, including being a member of the Economic Advisory Panel of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Berner also served on the Panel of Economic Advisers of the Congressional Budget Office, the executive committee of the board of directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Advisory Committee of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, according to SmartMoney.com.

Berner has been the recipient of awards from Market News and the National Association for Business Economics. He received his BA from Harvard College and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

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