December 3, 2022

Federal Reserve Chairman spoke at an invitation-only and unregistered bank client event

Federal Reserve Chairman spoke at an invitation-only and unregistered bank client event

This wasn’t the first time a Federal Reserve official had spoken before an invite-only group of people who might have benefited from speaking to him. In March 2017, Stanley Fisher, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, gave an award closed letter at the Brookings Institution that sparked some protest. More commonly, Federal Reserve officials meet with economists and traders from banks and investment funds in small groups to share information about markets and the economy.

Fed officials speak regularly at banking events, although their observations are usually reported to the media and either open to them, broadcast or recorded. Such was the case with the UBS event where Mr. Pollard was a speaker on Saturday.

What is remarkable about Mr. Pollard’s Citi meeting is that it was neither an information gathering trip with a handful of people nor a publicly available speech. About 40 people attended the event, which had an official agenda and was announced to Citi clients, two people familiar with the event said. Mr. Pollard spoke for 10 minutes before answering questions from the audience.

“It is important, even mission critical, that the Fed is in an open dialogue with all sectors of the economy,” said Caleb Nygaard, who studies central bank at the University of Pennsylvania. “A lot of the message, as well as the spirit, is that central bankers are supposed to be on the receiving end.”

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The Citi forum also included central bank governors from outside the US – including Anna Breimann, the deputy governor of Sweden’s Riksbank, and Olli Rehn of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council – but at least some of their appearances have been reported in the news. The media and some of them words have been posted.

It is not clear whether Mr. Pollard’s speech is in violation Fed Connection Rulesbut some outside experts said they looked like they were tiptoeing close to the line.

Fed rules do not explicitly prohibit central bankers from holding closed-door meetings, although they say that “to the extent possible, committee participants will refrain from describing their personal views on monetary policy in any meeting or conversation with any individual or company. OR which organization can profit financially” unless such views are already expressed in its public communications.