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Senate confirms Berner to Treasury Office of Financial Research

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Richard Berner, a counselor to the Treasury secretary and former chief economist for Morgan Stanley, was confirmed by a U.S. Senate majority to serve as the first Director of the Office of Financial Research, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

"Dick has been instrumental in Treasury's efforts to stand up the OFR and enhance our understanding of risk across the financial system," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a statement.

The Office of Financial Research was created by the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul to help regulators prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.

The agency, tasked with collecting and analyzing data to support the Financial Stability Oversight Council, has been under scrutiny for its slow progress, and many Republicans in the Senate want to see it scrapped.

Berner's nomination was confirmed in the Senate by voice vote on January 1, and his term as head of the OFR will run for six years.

(Reporting by Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Bernadette Baum)