President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Rafael W. Bostic speaks at an event for the European Financial Forum in Dublin, Ireland, February 13, 2019.
CLUDAG KILQUEEN | Reuters
The Federal Reserve is looking at deals made by Rafael Bostic, the central bank’s head of the Atlanta region, during limited periods.
Following the disclosure of multiple incidents over the past several years in which Bostick’s investment activity violated Fed restrictions and blackout periods, the central bank said its Inspector General’s office would review the matter further. There have also been incidents of Bostick’s assets being incorrectly reported.
“The Federal Reserve’s Office of Inspector General has been requested to initiate an independent review of President Bostick’s financial disclosures,” Fed spokesman Jerome Powell said. “We look forward to the results of their work and will accept and take appropriate action based on their findings.”
Trading by Federal Reserve officials over the past several years has been a hot issue. The revelations about the involvement of several officials in the investment moves at a time when the Federal Reserve was taking steps to support the markets preceded the early retirements of two regional presidents, Eric Rosengren of Boston and Robert Kaplan of Dallas.
There were also disclosures that trades from Powell himself were involved in trades during the blackouts in 2020. Trades from former Vice President Richard Clarida were also called into question, although the inspector general cleared both officials of any wrongdoing.
The controversy also led to a revised policy that severely restricts the moves Fed officials can take.
Bostick said the violations in his case were unintended and occurred because he relied on a third-party manager who was handling his investments. He said his investments are in accounts that neither he nor his investment advisor can direct.
in Statement issued along With revised disclosure forms, Bostick apologized for the controversy.
“I recognize that it is my responsibility to understand and abide by each and every obligation of this position,” he said. “I want to be clear: at no time did I knowingly authorize or complete a financial transaction based on non-public information or with any intention of concealing or exceeding my obligations to provide transparent and accountable reporting.”
He also noted in the statement that his holdings of Treasurys in 2021 exceeded the limits outlined in the Fed’s guidance. The Federal Reserve sets interest rates through the use of the federal funds rate, which is generally closely related to Treasury yields.
On top of previous regulations in place, the Fed in February Add to restrictions on what its members can do. The new regulations prohibit senior officials from holding individual stocks, bonds and cryptocurrencies, along with other assets. These rule changes also forced a review from the Atlanta area and the Federal Reserve’s main DC operation, exposing Bottic’s filing errors.
“We welcome this review and will cooperate fully to ensure this matter is effectively resolved,” the Atlanta Federal Reserve said in a statement.
Controversy over investment moves from Federal Reserve officials hit after reports, first in the Wall Street Journal, that some members were engaged in trading just as policymakers were considering action in the early days of the Covid pandemic.
The Fed ended up cutting benchmark interest rates to near zero and implementing a rigorous bond-buying program that added nearly $5 trillion to the central bank’s balance sheet.
“I deeply regret if my actions raise questions about my standards, behavior or motivation, the Federal Reserve
Bostick said the Atlanta Reserve Bank’s systems and operations are to maintain public confidence or the Federal Reserve’s commitment to transparency and accountability in carrying out its mission.”
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