Randal Keith Quarles (born September 5, 1957 in San Francisco) is founder and head of The Cynosure Group, a private investment firm backed by a network of large family offices in the United States. Before founding Cynosure, he was a partner of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. From August 2001 until October 2006, he held several important financial policy posts in the George W. Bush administration, ultimately serving as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance. As Under Secretary, he was the lead advocate for imposing greater regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, arguing that they posed significant risk to the financial sector, and argued for fundamental reform of the entire financial regulatory system—extending broader and more uniform federal regulation to investment banks and insurance companies—because the current system restricted regulators' ability to observe and limit risk in the system. In his earlier positions in the administration he had a key role in response to several international crises—the Argentine debt default, as well as near defaults in Brazil, Turkey and Uruguay—and chaired the international working group that led to changes in the terms of sovereign debt finance that now permit collective action by creditors in such crises. He also argued strongly for improving international coordination of financial regulation, initiating a regular dialogue with the European Union on financial regulatory matters and representing the United States at the Financial Stability Forum. He negotiated the historic debt relief agreement for the world's poorest countries reached at the G7 Meetings in London during 2005. In prior government service, he was an important member of the team developing the government's response to the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. At the time of his departure from government, Hank Paulson, the Treasury Secretary, noted that he had played a role in an unusually large range of matters in the history of the Treasury – "from the Argentine debt default to terrorism risk insurance, and from Chinese currency flexibility to GSE reform", and awarded him the Alexander Hamilton Medal, the Treasury Department's highest honor. He is widely mentioned as a possible Treasury Secretary or senior White House adviser in any future Republican administration.
Quarles was raised in Utah, and moved east as a teenager to study philosophy and economics at Columbia University in New York City. After completing his college education at Columbia, he entered Yale Law School and graduated in 1984.
Upon graduation from Yale, Quarles was hired as an associate at the Wall Street law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell. He spent most of his career there in the New York office but also worked in the London office from 1987 to 1989. He specialized in financial institutions law, eventually becoming co-head of the firm's Financial Institutions Group and advising on transactions that included a number of the largest financial sector mergers ever completed.
In 1990, Nicholas Brady, Treasury Secretary under George H. W. Bush, asked Quarles to join a team working to develop the governmental response to the savings and loan crisis in the financial sector and to propose improvements for the financial regulatory system going forward. Quarles served in the first Bush administration as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury for Banking Legislation and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions Policy, returning to the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in January 1993.
In 2001, Secretary Paul O'Neill asked Quarles to return to the Treasury, where he served until the mid-term elections in 2006. At the Treasury, Quarles was a senior official under all three of George W. Bush's Treasury Secretaries and developed policy on an unusually broad range of matters in both domestic and international financial affairs.
As Under Secretary, Quarles led the Department's activities in financial sector and capital markets policy, including coordination of the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, development of administration policy on hedge funds and derivatives, regulatory reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and proposing fundamental reform of the U.S. financial regulatory structure.
From April 2002 until August 2005, Quarles was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. Quarles had a leading role in issues ranging from Chinese currency policy to the Argentine debt default, and from Iraqi and Afghan economic reconstruction to the reform of collective action in sovereign debt agreements. In addition, Quarles was the policy chair of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which reviews potential investments that raise national security issues, and negotiated the historic debt relief agreement for the world's poorest countries reached at the G7 meetings in London in 2005.
From August 2001 until April 2002, Quarles was the U.S. Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund, where he represented the United States in negotiations over the IMF's response to financial crises in Argentina and Turkey.
After his departure from the Treasury, Quarles joined the Carlyle Group, the leading private equity firm, to help the firm develop a focus on transactions in the financial services sector.
On July 10, 2017, Quarles was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the position of Vice Chairman for Bank Supervision on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The position had remained unfilled since its creation under the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.
His wife, Hope, is related to Marriner Stoddard Eccles.