|Ben Bernanke left his position as head of the Federal Reserve in January, when Janet Yellen was sworn in as the new Fed chairman. Now that he has stepped down, the former Fed chair is free to take on speaking engagements — and make bank on them.
Bernanke gave his first speech earlier this week in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It’s estimated he was paid around $250,000 for the 40-minute engagement — 25 percent more than his 2013 salary of $199,700, according to Reuters. He has two other speaking engagements around the world this week alone.
What Makes Bernanke’s Time So Valuable?
As the former head of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke has a unique insight into the policy-setting organization and how the Federal Reserve’s actions affect markets. In addition, since taking the position, Yellen has made it clear that she intends to hold the Federal Reserve steady on the course that Bernanke set, slowly scaling back the economic stimulus as the U.S. economy shows signs of improvement.
Put simply, Bernanke’s time is valuable because he alone has the insights into the U.S. and world markets that can only be gained in eight years of being the Federal Reserve chairman, responding to one of the modern world’s biggest financial crises.
Bernanke isn’t the only one making big bucks delivering speeches. Former president Bill Clinton is paid far more than Bernanke’s fee of $250,000. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair earns about the same as Bernanke per speaking engagement, while former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes slightly less at $200,000 for a speech, according to The Wall Street Journal.