Wednesday, December 7

St. Louis Fed says will ‘think differently’ about private events

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WASHINGTON — The St. Louis Federal Reserve said it would “think differently” about appearances by its president James Bullard at non-public events after news reports of his attendance at a private policy forum last week sponsored by Citigroup.

The New York Times first reported Bullard’s appearance at the event, which it noted was unpaid but might conflict with Fed communications rules that discourage Fed involvement in events that offer a “prestige advantage” to profit-making enterprises.

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“Jim Bullard works hard to maintain the spirit of transparency and active communications to make his views widely known,” the St. Louis Fed said in a statement.

It noted Bullard had conducted press interviews with Reuters and appeared at one other public event last week on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund annual meeting, at which he discussed his policy views in detail.

Still, the St. Louis Fed posted a transcript of his remarks to the Citi Macro Forum on its web site and added that “we are listening to the commentary around this and will think differently about this in the future.”

A review of the transcript showed the Bullard’s comments were in line with his public remarks.

Bullard is among the most active of Fed officials in speaking at public events and conducting media interviews, a perch he uses to both explain his policy views and delve into research topics around economics and monetary policy.

The Fed has had a trying year on ethics issues, including the resignation of two regional bank presidents for securities trading during the pandemic year, and the recent disclosure by Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic that his outside financial manager had made transactions apparently at odds with Fed rules. (Reporting by Howard Schneider; editing by Diane Craft and Richard Pullin)