It was a “Fed letter day” as two regional Federal Reserve presidents announced early retirements following controversial stock trades that were exposed in news reports.
Monday morning, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren announced he would retire nine months earlier than expected, citing health reasons. Hours later, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he would retire, acknowledging his recent trading activities had become a “distraction.”
Earlier this month, filings reported in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Kaplan executed multi-million dollar trades throughout 2020. Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs executive owns millions of dollars worth of stock in major companies including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Delta Airlines, and Tesla.
“The Federal Reserve is approaching a critical point in our economic recovery as it deliberates the future path of monetary policy. Unfortunately, the recent focus on my financial disclosure risks becoming a distraction to the Federal Reserve’s execution of that vital work,” Kaplan said in a statement Monday.
Kaplan will step down Oct. 8, but defended his record in a statement, “During my tenure, I have adhered to all Federal Reserve ethical standards and policies.” Rosengren will retire Thursday. Both men are 64.
Following the disclosure that Kaplan and Rosengren had been actively trading while serving at the Federal Reserve, both men vowed to sell their stock by Sept. 30 and move their money to passive investment vehicles. Despite the pledge to end any controversial trades, both men still faced criticism for a perceived conflicts of interest: shaping policy the monetary policy they could benefit from.
“While my personal saving and investment transactions have complied with the Federal Reserve’s ethics rules, I have decided to address even the appearance of any conflict of interest by taking the following steps,” Rosengren said in a statement earlier this month. Rosengren’s trades had been smaller than Kaplan — in the range of tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands.
Rosengren — who has served at the Boston Fed since 1985 — had been planning to retire in June. He is awaiting a kidney transplant and said he bumped up his retirement after his doctor told him lifestyle changes could improve his health.
Rosengren’s updated retirement announcement did not acknowledge his recent stock trades.
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