Head of U.S. Treasury’s Markets Room to Leave in August, Sources Say

(Bloomberg) -- The head of the U.S. Treasury Department’s nerve center for monitoring markets is stepping down, two people familiar with the matter said.

John Fagan, 45, an investment strategist who was tapped to lead the markets room in 2014, will leave Treasury at the end of August, according to the people who spoke on condition of anonymity. Albert Lee, an international economist and career staffer at Treasury, will replace Fagan, they said.

The profile of the markets room has risen within Treasury in recent weeks as investors’ concerns over a full-blown trade war between the U.S., Europe and China cause share prices and debt yields to sway.

The unit -- staffed with about ten career employees -- had come under scrutiny by some of Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s senior advisers earlier this year as the administration looked to cut spending. Mnuchin left the unit intact, and a fresh review in recent months -- including a survey sent to agencies across the government -- signaled even more support, the people said.

The markets room prepares daily briefings for Mnuchin and President Donald Trump on financial markets, including detailed reports on particular regions or asset classes to help policy making. It’s staffed around the clock. The room was started in the 1990s, but its importance has ebbed across different administrations.

Jim Wilkinson, who was former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s chief of staff from 2006 to 2009, said the financial crisis brought the markets room back to the fore.

“In the circus crazy town of Washington, there needs to be at least one room where the adults get together and talk about markets in a non-political way and focus on our financial markets and the security and safety of our markets,” Wilkinson said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.