Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida essentially sold $ 1 million worth of shares in a U.S. equity fund in February 2020 before buying a comparable measure of a similar fund days after the fact just before a major central bank statement, as indicated by a revised financial exposure. . While the buy exchange was recently unveiled and revealed by Bloomberg News in October, the fund’s stock offering was first recalled for a revised financial disclosure structure registered with the government last month. The New York Times reported the most recent recording before Thursday.

The disclosure may raise further questions about what the soon-to-leave vice president knew or anticipated about a Feb. 28 announcement by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, which signaled the central bank was preparing a aggressive action to protect the economy and financial markets from the coronavirus. .

The new form showed that Clarida sold between $ 1 million and $ 5 million of the iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor exchange-traded fund on February 24, and then invested a similar range in the fund on February 27.

“In reviewing his documents, Vice President Clarida identified unintentional errors requiring amendment,” said a spokesperson for the Federal Reserve. “He has reviewed these transactions with our ethics office and submitted changes” to his disclosure forms for 2019 and 2020.

‘Compliance’

Clarida did not respond to a request for comment through a Fed spokesperson.

The amended disclosure included a letter from a Fed ethics official saying that Clarida was “in compliance” with conflict of interest laws and regulations.

The form is dated December 16, a day after Clarida attended the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on December 14 and 15. His term as governor expires at the end of this month, and President Joe Biden has appointed Gov. Lael Brainard as the new vice president. A Fed spokesperson said Clarida was not planning to attend the Fed policy meeting on January 25-26.

An ethics scandal ravaged the Fed last year. Two regional Fed chiefs have announced their departure following revelations about their trading activity. One of the presidents, Eric Rosengren of Boston, said his resignation was due to a serious health problem. Powell announced new investment guidelines in October, including a ban on buying or selling during times of market stress. An investigation into the Fed’s transactions is underway by the central bank inspector general, who declined to say whether Clarida was part of the investigation.

“How many questionable or worse transactions are still not disclosed?” Said Jeff Hauser, director of the Revolving Door Project monitoring group. “And when will an independent investigation take place, since the Federal Reserve appoints and can both dismiss the Inspector General?” Ethics Forms

Clarida’s transactions, as initially described in forms filed with the government ethics office, showed the sale of a Pimco bond fund on February 27, 2020 and, on the same day, the purchase of the Pimco fund. StocksPlus and iShares ETF MSCI USA Min Vol Factor. The amended form showed that Clarida had also sold the iShares ETF on February 24 as well as smaller amounts of a Schwab ETF and another iShares ETF.

From February 19 to 28, the S&P 500 stock index fell 13% as the spread of the coronavirus rocked investors around the world. At 2:30 p.m. on February 28, Powell took the unusual step of issuing a statement assuring the markets that the Fed was ready to respond. “The fundamentals of the US economy remain strong,” Powell said at the time. “The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook. We will use our tools and do the right thing to support the economy. “

The Fed announced a rate cut of half a percentage point on March 3 following an emergency FOMC meeting. Stocks began to rebound sharply in March, as the Fed began rolling out its largest market bailout in history, aimed at supporting credit on everything from municipal bonds to rated credit to garbage.

Summary of the news:

  • Fed’s Clarida sold, then bought an equity fund ahead of central bank pledge in 2020
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