© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, DC, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo
(Reuters) – U.S. Federal Reserve senior officials’ private investments are under growing scrutiny following revelations and the subsequent resignations of two regional Fed Bank Presidents for controversial trades last year at a time when the central bank was undertaking a rescue of the economy.
The six members of the Fed Board of Governors are required to file annual financial disclosures, which are publicly available. The disclosures differ in the depth of reporting detail and financial complexity.
Two of the Fed Board of Governors — Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Vice Chair Randal Quarles — are former private equity investors, and Vice Chair Richard Clarida is a former investment manager.
Here is a rundown of each Fed governor’s recent investment patterns:
GOVERNOR LAEL BRAINARD
Disclosures https://tinyurl.com/4c88auzx show Brainard, who is a possible candidate for promotion by the Biden administration to Vice Chair for Supervision or Fed Chair, made no transactions in 2020.
That’s a change from years past: disclosures show she transacted 37 times in 2019; 133 times in 2018, 84 times in 2017 and 85 times in 2016; and as many as 17 times in 2015. She traded no individual stocks or corporate bonds, but stuck to index and exchange-traded funds.
In 2020 her largest holding of a single security was $500,000 to $1 million in an exchange-traded fund linked to the S&P 500 Index (SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY)).
She also owns a home with a mortgage of between $1 million and $5 million at a 4.25% rate, which she has not refinanced since she started at the Fed.
VICE CHAIR RICHARD CLARIDA
Clarida made five transactions https://tinyurl.com/p8a7nr9u in 2020, including the sale on Feb. 27 of bond fund shares and the purchase that same day of two stock indexes, on the eve of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s statement indicating potential policy action due to the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Aug. 3 last year, he sold one broad stock-index fund and bought more shares in one of the stock funds he purchased in February.
In 2019 he made seven transactions and in 2018, the year he joined the Board, he made 14 transactions, including the sale of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock and his spouse’s holdings in the Vanguard Information Technology index, as required in his ethics agreement to take up his post.
In 2020 his largest holding of a single security was $5 million to $25 million in the PIMCO Muni Bond Fund index.
FED CHAIR JEROME POWELL
Powell made 26 transactions https://tinyurl.com/2rdk7wkd in 2020. In 2019 he made 16 individually dated transactions and 25 “multiple” transactions. In 2018 he made 16 individually dated transactions, mostly muni bonds or indexes, and 23 “multiple” transactions most of which were in the $1,001 to $15,000 range. In 2017, he made 46 transactions, half of which were classed as “multiple.”
In 2020 his largest holding of a single security was $5 million to $25 million in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, the largest U.S. exchange-traded fund, which tracks the S&P 500 Index.
GOVERNOR MICHELLE BOWMAN
Bowman made five transactions https://tinyurl.com/j2wcz4wr last year, all in retirement funds. In 2019 she made four, including the sale of a commercial building in Kansas for between $50,001 and $100,000.
In 2020 her largest holding of a single security was $100,001-$250,000 in a retirement fund (Principal LifeTime Hybrid 2035 CIT). Her spouse had larger holdings, including $250,001 to $500,000 in a retirement fund and the same range in MIO Special Situations fund, both part of his 401K from McKinsey. He also owns Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock.
She also has two mortgages, one for between $50,001 and $100,000 with a 4.36% rate and one for between $1 million and $5 million with a 2.75% rate.
GOVERNOR RANDAL QUARLES
Quarles’ holdings are the most numerous https://tinyurl.com/2dvh7wt2 and least opaque of the group.
He had two transactions last year associated with the Cynosure Group, a Utah-based private investment firm he helped form in 2014 with other members of the family of his wife Hope Eccles: the purchase on April 2 of Cynosure Investment Partners Class 2020 Venture and the sale of same on Dec, 21.
He reported 15 transactions in 2019, including the sale of Union Pacific and GE stock and the purchase of other securities described as private credit funds. His 42 transactions in 2018 were nearly all stock sales but also included the purchase of interests in a UK shipping operator and a technology venture capital group. In 2017 he made 12 transactions, including the purchase of Target (NYSE:TGT) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) shares and several stock-index funds, and the sale of Glaxo SmithKline.
Quarles reported he owns “more than $1 million” in a range of assets, including a hotel and restaurant as well as other real estate in the Deer Valley Ski Resort in Utah and a ranch in Idaho. He also owns several individual stocks, including Union Pacific Corp (NYSE:UNP), General Electric (NYSE:GE) Co and Wabtec plus $1 million to $5 million in several funds, including the SPDR S&P 500.
He owns a home with a mortgage from Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) of between $1 million and $5 million at a 3.15% interest rate. In 2020, he also repaid a Wells Fargo home equity line of credit secured by an investment/rental property.
GOVERNOR CHRISTOPHER WALLER
The Fed’s newest governor, former St. Louis Fed research chief Christopher Waller, was appointed in December last year. Since he served fewer than 60 days in 2020, he was not required to submit an annual disclosure for 2020 and his first annual filing will be for 2021.