Federal Reserve Chair Orders Ethics Review For Central Bank Officials

Federal Reserve Chair Orders Ethics Review For Central Bank Officials

One thing that gets overlooked when people try to be sneaky playing the stock market is that transactions over a certain threshold must be reported publicly. And when presidents of the various Federal Reserve Bank branches make moves that earn them a lot of money during oppressive times in the country, it gets noticed.

That’s what happened with a couple of branch executives last year at the height of the age of COVID.

According to the disclosure form provided by the Dallas Fed, Mr. Kaplan had a total of 27 individual stock, fund, or alternative asset holdings each valued at over $1 million. Mr. Kaplan’s stockholdings included Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Boeing Co., Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc., and Marathon Petroleum Corp.

The form also shows Mr. Kaplan made some combination of sales or purchases of over $1 million in 22 individual company shares or investment funds. These transactions included Apple, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Amazon, General Electric Co., and Chevron Corp.

CNBC reports that other Fed presidents also made large trades:

Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin, a former senior executive at consulting firm McKinsey & Co., disclosed financial holdings each in excess of $1 million.

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren held stakes in four real estate investment trusts and several purchases and sales of similar property-owning vehicles, according to filings. He also held stock in Pfizer, Chevron, and AT&T. His investments were in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Oops. That got noticed.

And that being the case, the big boss of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, has decided that the underlings need a reminder of what is right and wrong, and so he is sending them back to ethics school.

“Because the trust of the American people is essential for the Federal Reserve to effectively carry out our important mission, Chair Powell late last week directed Board staff to take a fresh and comprehensive look at the ethics rules around permissible financial holdings and activities by senior Fed officials,” said a Fed statement emailed to Reuters. “This review will assist in identifying ways to further tighten those rules and standards. The Board will make changes, as appropriate, and any changes will be added to the Reserve Bank Code of Conduct.”

This is a start. When such reviews happen with Congress, and the laws that state they are exempt from insider trading laws are changed, progress will have been made.

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September 21, 2021 6:58 am

It’s good to see the Reserve is right on top of ethics. How many decades have these members been using insider information to create personal wealth? Why did it take so long to recognize the problem? Was it simply because the cat was suddenly out of the bag? We all know the answers to my rhetorical questions.