Dallas Fed to hold town hall to aid with presidential search

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(Deletes reference to town hall as a first for Fed, as it is not)

-The Dallas Fed will hold a town hall next week to solicit public input into its search for a successor to Robert Kaplan, who left his post as the bank’s president last fall amid an outcry over his personal securities trading.

Invitations to the January 13 virtual town hall went out by email on Tuesday morning, with a promise of questions to be answered “directly” by speakers including the Dallas Fed’s chair and deputy chair, who lead the search committee, and the CEO of the search firm retained to help them, Egon Zehnder.

Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren both retired early last fall after reports surfaced that they had actively traded securities during much of the pandemic crisis in 2020 when the Fed was conducting massive market and economic rescue efforts.

Both said they had violated no ethics guidelines, but the scandal prompted Fed Chair Jerome Powell to tighten rules around personal trading by Fed policymakers, and an inspector general’s probe into the trading is ongoing.

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The Boston Fed has no plans to hold a similar town hall, but it too has made efforts to makes its search more transparent than prior searches. It published a report last year after public outreach and tweaked its job description in response to calls for a stronger focus on diversity, community engagement, and credibility.

Powell has pledged that the searches will cast a wide net in an effort to make Fed regional Fed presidents a more diverse group. Both Rosengren and Kaplan are white men; the remaining 10 Fed presidents include five white men, three white women and two men of color.

(Reporting by Ann SaphirEditing by Chizu Nomiyama)