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Fed ethics office cautioned policymakers last year about personal securities trading -NYT -Breaking

By Howard Schneider

WASHINGTON (Reuters] – Federal Reserve Ethics officials cautioned Fed policymakers in March 2020 about personal securities trades as the central bank prepared for what turned out to be a huge and broad effort to fight the pandemic, keep the economy stable and prevent asset markets and the economy from crashing.

The Times confirmed that the Fed’s March 23rd email, sent by the main ethics office to all 12 regional bank heads, contained the content. The Times called it unnecessary trading, given the Fed’s current crisis response.

The Fed will soon launch programs covering virtually every asset class and offering credit for individual companies in the weeks ahead.

The Times reported that the bank executives responsible for overseeing the enforcement and advice on the rules were alert to potential conflicts. These could occur as the policymakers deliberated on and voted upon programs that would bring financial markets back to stability and allow them time for record appreciation.

The Times stated that although the Fed refused to release this email, someone had read and verified its contents.

The Fed didn’t immediately reply to my request for comment or release of the underlying document.

The resignations of Robert Kaplan, Dallas Fed president, and Eric Rosengren, Boston Fed president, were prompted by reports about their 2020 trading activities. There was also criticism of the transactions of Fed chair Jerome Powell in October and Richard Clarida, Fed vice chair, in February before the outbreak of the coronavirus.

All cases were ruled in accordance with securities regulations.

A larger issue, whether the rules place appropriate limitations on officials with wide power over U.S. markets has been a central part of Biden’s review of Powell’s candidature for a second term.

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Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.