LOCK HIM UP: Federal Reserve Vice Chair Made Big Trade on Stocks and Bonds Just Before Fed’s Pandemic Statement

Richard Clarida, the Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve, traded money from a bond fund to a stock fund only a day before the Fed made their pandemic statement in 2020.

The statement flagged possible actions the Fed could take if the pandemic worsened.

Yahoo reported:

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida traded between $1 million and $5 million out of a bond fund into stock funds one day before Chair Jerome Powell issued a statement flagging possible policy action as the pandemic worsened, his 2020 financial disclosures show.

Clarida’s trades, described in forms filed with the government ethics office, show the shifting of the funds out of a Pimco bond fund on Feb. 27, 2020, and on the same day buying the Pimco StocksPlus Fund and the iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor exchange-traded fund in similar dollar ranges. For the year, he listed five transactions.

The following day on Feb. 28, a Friday, at 2:30 p.m., Powell took the unusual step of releasing a statement saying the virus poses “evolving risks to economic activity.” In the same statement, Powell said the Fed was “closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook.”

Two weeks ago, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell directed officials to look at ethical rules regarding financial activities by senior staff at the Fed.

The Hill reported:

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has directed officials at the central bank to take a “comprehensive look” into the ethics rules surrounding permissible financial holdings and activities by senior staff.

A spokesperson confirmed to The Hill on Thursday that Powell issued the directive last week after reports emerged of stock trades made by leaders at the Fed’s banks in Dallas and Boston last year.

“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,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Presidents of the Dallas Fed and Boston Fed retired after their pandemic stock trades came under scrutiny.

The Hill reported:

Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, announced Monday he will step down from the bank amid scrutiny over millions of dollars of financial trades he made at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kaplan said in a Monday statement that he will step down from the Dallas Fed on Oct. 8, six years and one month after he was appointed to lead one of the Fed system’s 12 reserve banks.

Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren, who also announced his retirement Monday, have been under growing pressure after financial disclosures obtained by The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg revealed heavy trading in individual stocks and other investment products in late March and April last year. At the time, the Fed was launching an unprecedented effort to stabilize financial markets through more than dozen lending facilities.

Who is watching the Fed?

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