DEFINITION of 'Alan Greenspan'

The former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as well as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed's principal monetary policymaking body. His tenure at the helm of the Fed lasted 18 years from 1987 until early 2006, when Ben Bernanke replaced him. He was first appointed to the post by then-president Ronald Reagan and kept at the Fed's helm by successors George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.

BREAKING DOWN 'Alan Greenspan'

Greenspan is the first person to have been appointed to five consecutive terms as the Fed's chairman. He became known for being adept at guiding the Fed's board to consensus on policy issues and his public comments were regarded as so powerful that they could send financial markets sharply in any direction.

He was widely perceived as an inflation hawk, often criticized for focusing more on controlling prices than on achieving full employment. Greenspan also became infamous for his often technical and cautiously worded speeches, and reportedly once mocked his own speaking style during a 1988 speech in which he said, "I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I said."

RELATED TERMS
  1. Ben Bernanke

    The chairman of the board of governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve ...
  2. Fed Speak

    A phrase used to describe former Federal Reserve Board Chairman ...
  3. Big Ben

    An investing slang term referencing Ben Bernanke. The name Big ...
  4. Greenspan Put

    A description of the perceived attempt of then-chairman of the ...
  5. Federal Reserve Board - FRB

    The governing body of the Federal Reserve System. The seven members ...
  6. Pale Recession

    A phrase used in May 2008 by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman ...
Related Articles
  1. Insights

    Alan Greenspan: 19 Years In The Federal Reserve

    Follow the economic glories and bumbles in the career of the previous Fed chair.
  2. Insights

    Ben Bernanke: Background And Philosophy

    Get some insight into the man at the forefront of key U.S economic decisions.
  3. Insights

    Translating "Fed Speak" Into Plain English

    Confused by the Fed's lingo? Find out what it can tell you and learn how to decipher it.
  4. Investing

    What are the Federal Reserve Chairman's responsibilities?

    Learn about the duties and responsibilities of the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, including testifying before Congress and as chair of the FOMC.
  5. Financial Advisor

    Why Greenspan Dislikes Negative Interest Rates

    Alan Greenspan is not a fan of negative interest rates, but another former Fed chair disagrees. Who is more likely to be correct and why?
  6. Trading

    How The Federal Reserve Was Formed

    Find out how this institution has stabilized the U.S. economy during economic downturn.
  7. Insights

    7 Misconceptions About The Federal Reserve

    There are many fallacies about the Fed. The following misconceptions are among the most popular.
  8. Insights

    Does the Fed Influence Who’s in the White House?

    Whether it's intentional or not, the Federal Reserve plays a major role in politics.
  9. Trading

    3 Times the FOMC Got It Right This Century

    Learn about three times that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the Federal Reserve took positive steps to help the economy in the 21st century.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is a Greenspan put?

    Only five months into his tenure as Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan faced his first crisis: the October 1987 stock ... Read Answer >>
  2. Who controls the Federal Reserve Bank?

    Read about the ownership and control of the Federal Reserve, the most powerful financial institution in the world and the ... Read Answer >>
  3. How successful have "dove" Federal Reserve heads been in the past when it comes to ...

    Review a short history of "dovish" leaders of the Federal Reserve, who use U.S. monetary policy to reduce unemployment through ... Read Answer >>
  4. How is the Federal Reserve audited?

    Learn how the Federal Reserve gets audited. Due to gridlock, the Federal Reserve has been forced to take on the role of stimulating ... Read Answer >>
  5. What is the structure of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank?

    Wonder how the U.S. Federal Bank began and how it works today? Learn how this complex system is structured and how it works ... Read Answer >>
  6. What does 'froth' mean in terms of the real estate market?

    On May 20, 2005, while addressing the Economic Club of New York, the now former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan commented ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Magna Cum Laude

    An academic level of distinction used by educational institutions to signify an academic degree which was received "with ...
  2. Cover Letter

    A written document submitted with a job application explaining the applicant's credentials and interest in the open position. ...
  3. 403(b) Plan

    A retirement plan for certain employees of public schools, tax-exempt organizations and certain ministers. Generally, retirement ...
  4. Master Of Business Administration - MBA

    A graduate degree achieved at a university or college that provides theoretical and practical training to help graduates ...
  5. Liquidity Event

    An event that allows initial investors in a company to cash out some or all of their ownership shares and is considered an ...
  6. Job Market

    A market in which employers search for employees and employees search for jobs. The job market is not a physical place as ...
Trading Center