There are two important themes running through the essays in this volume. The first is the importance and excitement of public service. The second is that it is necessary to understand that monetary policy is an art, not an abstract science. This means that one must have an understanding of real-world monetary institutions in order to conduct meaningful debate about monetary policy. These are important themes with which Alan Holmes, the man to whose memory this book is dedicated, and in whose honor the essays were written, would have wholeheartedly agreed.
The price of wisdom, it has been written, is greater than gold, silver, and pearls. Alan Holmes was a man of few words, but infinite wisdom, whose knowledge and actions commanded respect and authority across the financial markets of the world.
Alan set a superior standard for public service during his thirty-one years of tenure and leadership in the Federal Reserve System focused at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the largest and most important bank in the Federal Reserve System. He directed the Federal Reserve Open Market operations and implemented the policies of the FOMC, the top monetary policymaking unit of the System. I will always remember and revere him as an outstanding central banker, a splendid colleague, and a warm, witty, and wonderful friend.
I was privileged to work with Alan while holding a number of positions that brought me into close contact with the Federal Reserve--as a senior partner at Salomon Brothers, a member of their Executive Committee in charge of government bonds, the U.S. Agency and Municipal Bonds Departments, as an adviser to the Treasury on debt management, and later as deputy secretary and secretary of the Treasury. Salomon Brothers and C.J. Devine were the two largest government bond dealers, and in that capacity were in constant contact with the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.