Fed’s Powell Scrutinized for Owning Bonds of the Same Type the Central Bank Bought During Pandemic
As a number of Federal Reserve presidents have been criticized for their 2020 stock moves, Fed chairman Jerome Powell has been cast into the limelight for owning $1.5 million municipal bonds like the ones the U.S. central bank purchased in 2020 during the pandemic.
All Eyes Are On Jerome Powell’s Municipal Bond Portfolio
Three days ago, the topic of senior Federal Reserve members making multi-million-dollar stock deals in 2020 caused senator Elizabeth Warren to write a letter criticizing the bank member’s ethics, and chairman Jerome Powell said he would initiate an ethics inquiry. However, not too long after the media grilled U.S. central bankers for their behavior, reports disclosed that the Federal Reserve’s chairman owned a few types of municipal bonds, similar to the ones the Fed bailed out during the coronavirus crisis.
It’s also not the first time Jerome Powell’s portfolio has come under inquisition from the public. Wallstreetonparade.com journalists Pam Martens and Russ Martens have written about the matter and Northman Trader’s Sven Henrich tweeted about it in June. The Martens’ article at the time said that Powell had “upwards of $11.6 million invested with Blackrock, the firm that will manage a $750 billion corporate bond bailout program for the Fed.”
Fyi: One person who is financially benefitting from every stock market rally is Jay Powell who has tens of millions in ETF fund long holdings, including $SPY, $RUT & holdings with Blackrock the same firm he selected for doing the Fed’s ETF buyinghttps://t.co/7yvWsCs6lZ
— Sven Henrich (@NorthmanTrader) June 12, 2020
On September 18, CNBC reported on the matter and noted that Powell’s financial moves did not appear to violate the central bank’s code of conduct. CNBC’s Steve Liesman said that the Fed’s code of conduct says officials “should be careful to avoid any dealings or other conduct that might convey even an appearance of conflict between their personal interests, the interests of the system, and the public interest.”
Furthermore, Liesman said that “Powell held between $1.25 million and $2.5 million of municipal bonds in family trusts” which was “just a small portion” of Powell’s total assets. “While the bonds were purchased before 2019, they were held while the Fed last year bought more than $5 billion in munis, including one from the state of Illinois purchased by his family trust in 2016,” Liesman added.
Better Markets Executive: ‘Fed’s Policies Are Woefully Deficient – Whole Year Should Be Considered a Blackout’
Powell has seen a barrage of negative press in recent times, and on September 1 Bitcoin.com News reported on how U.S. lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley want a new central bank lead. A chairperson who will help “mitigate the risk [of] climate change,” AOC said in a recent statement. Despite the push from Democrat representatives, sources with ties to Washington believe that Joe Biden will renominate Jerome Powell to lead the Fed.
Meanwhile, Dennis Kelleher, CEO of a nonprofit called Better Markets told Liesman that the senior Fed officials’ moves were not in good taste. “To think that such trading is acceptable because it is supposedly allowed by Fed’s current policies only highlights that the Fed’s policies are woefully deficient,” Kelleher emphasized. When Kelleher was told that the Fed officials could trade the stocks because it wasn’t a blackout period, the CEO of a nonprofit remarked:
The whole year should be considered a blackout period.
What do you think about the fact that Fed chairman Jerome Powell joins Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren in controversy? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.