Later in Mr. Obama’s second time period, Mr. Zients led the Nationwide Financial Council, the place he shepherded new laws to crack down on payday lending and steered the event of the so-called fiduciary rule — a requirement that monetary professionals put the pursuits of their prospects with retirement accounts forward of their very own. The Labor Division rule, which the monetary providers and insurance coverage industries strongly challenged, was struck down by a federal appeals court docket in 2018.
These efforts earned him accolades from some progressive Democrats.
“The federal government wants expertise and expertise,” mentioned Dennis Kelleher, the president of Higher Markets, which promotes Wall Avenue reform, and a member of Mr. Biden’s transition assessment group for the Fed, banking and securities regulators. “People who find themselves going to attempt to regulate an trade as sophisticated as finance can’t say we’re solely going to rent individuals who know nothing about finance.”
However his position as a bridge to enterprise through the Obama administration has raised some eyebrows. Mr. Zients was one of many administration’s chief liaisons to executives and lobbyists when anger at Wall Avenue over the 2007-8 monetary disaster was nonetheless at its peak. High lobbyists such because the Enterprise Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have praised Mr. Zients as somebody who heard them out.
Describing his need to take heed to enterprise leaders, Mr. Zients instructed executives at a 2014 occasion on the Financial Membership of Washington, “You’re the prospects, all of you as enterprise leaders, when it comes to rising the financial system.”
After Mr. Obama left workplace, Mr. Zients joined the non-public fairness investor Vincent Mai’s Cranemere fund as chief government. The non-public holding firm has buyers from United States, Europe, Latin America and the Center East and takes a long-term investing method within the mildew of Warren E. Buffett.
Mr. Zients, who’s on go away from Cranemere, additionally spent two years on the board of Fb and was a member of the corporate’s audit committee. He has instructed folks that he had concerns about the company’s direction and governance, and opted to not search re-election to the board this yr. Fb has come below hearth from Democrats for permitting the unfold of disinformation and from Republicans who accuse it of censorship.
Jeff Hauser, the director of the Revolving Door Mission, mentioned Mr. Zients’s expertise working in non-public fairness and at Fb was notably problematic and will portend bother for progressive causes in a Biden White Home. And whereas he sees Mr. Zients’s expertise within the well being care trade as helpful for managing the pandemic response, Mr. Hauser mentioned he was involved that Mr. Zients might be too accommodating to enterprise as vaccines are rolled out subsequent yr.