Head to Head: A conversation with Chief U.S. Economist Lara Rhame

Co-Heads of Distribution Kirsten Pickens and Ryan Robertson share their conversation with Lara Rhame, Chief U.S. Economist at FS Investments.

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April 25, 2023 | 28 minute read

In a new episode of Head to Head, Co-Heads of Distribution Kirsten Pickens and Ryan Robertson share their conversation with Lara Rhame, Chief U.S. Economist at FS Investments. Lara shares how she landed her first job with the Fed and pivoted to a career on Wall Street and later, FS Investments.

About Lara Rhame

Lara is Chief U.S. Economist and Managing Director on the Investment Research team at FS Investments, where she analyzes developments in the global and U.S. economy and financial markets. Her fresh take on macroeconomic issues helps to inform and develop the firm’s long-term views on the economy, investment trends and issues facing investors. Lara is committed to the Philadelphia community and serves on the boards of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Hyperion Bank and Starr Garden Park.

Transcript excerpt:

Kirsten Pickens: Welcome to Head to Head, a podcast by FS Investments. I’m Kirsten Pickens.

Ryan Robertson: And I’m Ryan Robertson. We are the co-heads of distribution at FS Investments. And together we sit down with some of the brightest minds, innovative thinkers and thought leaders in the financial services industry.

Kirsten Pickens: Lara Rhame is the Chief U.S. Economist at FS Investments where she focuses on macroeconomic, financial market analysis. She began her career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, has worked at other Wall Street institutions—including Brown Brothers Harriman, Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers—and she’s a frequent contributor and guest on several economic news outlets including Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC and CNN. Lara, it’s so great to have you here.

Lara Rhame: Thank you so much. Both of you. This is going to be so fun. I’m excited. And nervous. And excited!

Ryan Robertson: So, Lara, before we jump into your career and all the amazing places that you worked, I’m curious what made you, when you were growing up or in college go, you know what? I want to be an economist. Like when you’re a little girl, like that’s not something or that I think a lot of people, hey, that’s something I want to do. What made you go supply and demand? That’s fascinating.

Lara Rhame: Like those charts with the X’s…

Ryan Robertson: Yeah.

Lara Rhame: It’s funny because I just was at a high school or college reunion right before COVID hit and I was the only person that majored in economics that was actually doing economics. So, it is a funny question to ask Ryan. And I think that growing up, what I really enjoyed was math. I really enjoyed science and data randomly. And my dad is an epidemiologist. Nobody knew what that was until COVID hit, but he’s just this long time believer in data collection, he really finds value in it. So, I always have been interested in the sort of that analytical side of observing the world and when I got to college I was at a liberal arts school, which is not the right choice for everyone, but was the right choice for me because I really just got to wander into different classes and different studies. And I really enjoyed history as well. I briefly considered majoring in English and writing and as I got more into math classes, it got too theoretical. I liked the applied side of math and that’s where I just happened to take an economics class. And it really immediately was clear to me that it was the intersection of everything that I was enjoying.

It was analytical, but there was a component of history. There was a component of sociology. There was a component of being able to write about it all and the need to clearly express it, which the longer I’ve been doing this, the more that I’ve seen that really what there is a need for is to clearly express and communicate what’s happening in the economy. So, I stumbled into it with coursework, but right away, I knew I wanted to be an economics major.

This information is educational in nature and does not constitute a financial promotion, investment advice or an inducement or incitement to participate in any product, offering or investment. FS Investments is not adopting, making a recommendation for or endorsing any investment strategy or particular security. All views, opinions and positions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of FS Investments. All opinions are subject to change without notice, and you should always obtain current information and perform due diligence before participating in any investment. FS Investments does not provide legal or tax advice and the information herein should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact any investment result. FS Investments cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. FS Investments makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use, and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information.

Any projections, forecasts and estimates contained herein are based upon certain assumptions that the author considers reasonable. Projections are necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions underlying the projections will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. The inclusion of projections herein should not be regarded as a representation or guarantee regarding the reliability, accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, and neither FS Investments nor the author are under any obligation to update or keep current such information.

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Headshot of Kirsten Pickens

Kirsten Pickens

Co-Head of U.S. Distribution

Ryan Robertson

Co-Head of U.S. Distribution

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