Trends Journal has written about the scandals involving the ethical breaches at the Federal Reserve; see:
- “MORE PANDEMIC SHADY TRADES AT THE FEDERAL RESERVE?” (5 Oct 2021)
- “BANKSTER BANDITS GET RICHER PLAYING THE INSIDE TRACK” (14 Sep 2021)
- “FED ETHICS? FU!” (21 Sep 2021)
- “FED’S KAPLAN SIGNALED CONFLICTS IN DISCLOSURE FORM” (21 Sep 2021)
Those articles focused on the questionable trades made by two regional Fed presidents, Eric Rosengren of Boston and Robert Kaplan of Dallas (both of whom stepped down) and by Richard Clarida, the Fed’s vice-chair.
Now comes word, reported by the Financial Times on 21 October, that Fed chairman Jerome “Jay” Powell, who had just reacted to the aforementioned scandals by instituting new restrictions on investing by the Fed’s top officials, is himself under scrutiny.
The FT article notes that the particular actions in question, by Clarida and by Powell, had been approved by government ethics officers, but that they nevertheless have the potential to undermine confidence in the central bank. And the timing is less-than-ideal, as the Fed is expected to implement new policies to deal with inflation, and Powell’s term is nearing its expiration, with no assurance now that he’ll be re-appointed (although Pres. Biden is said to still have “confidence” in Powell).
Gary Richardson, an economic historian at the University of California at Irvine, appears to rationalize the “leeway” traditionally enjoyed by Fed officers thusly: “The public pays the Fed’s leaders much less than they would make working in the private sector; in return, the public has let the Fed’s leaders actively manage their portfolios (maintaining their incomes) as long as their private and personal interests don’t impact public policy and don’t take direct advantage of the knowledge that they acquire in their positions.”
TRENDPOST: Huh? Doesn’t that sound like, “They could make more elsewhere, so we don’t mind if they take certain liberties to supplement their meager incomes, and we just have to trust them to keep their hands out of the cookie jar”?
One critic of the Fed is Dennis Kelleher, whose Better Markets advocacy group calls for tougher financial regulations. Kelleher finds the proposed new rules inadequate, saying, “The new policies cannot be used to whitewash the prior bad judgment, failures of leadership, and violation of the Fed’s own policies.”
The FT article adds that the European Central Bank is examining its own ethical standards; last year 13 of its council members made the same kinds of investments Rosengren and Kaplan did, trading in the same bonds the bank purchased as assets, as well as stock in companies whose debt was purchased by the ECB. One of those council members was the topic of “ANOTHER CORRUPT BANKSTER. IT’S GLOBAL.” (19 Oct 2021).
TREND FORECAST: Despite “new, tougher rules,” don’t expect Banksters accused of insider trading and other breaches to get more than a slap on the wrist, if that; there are insufficient deterrents to this kind of behavior by the foxes who have been put in charge of the henhouse. And even though “that’s not who we are,” sometimes one can’t help but admire the way our Chinese friends deal with such matters; see “FINANCIAL EXECUTIVE EXECUTED FOR CORRUPTION” (2 Feb 2021).