Feds Fisher long gold and hard assets

February 3, 2012 at 12:02


One Fed official owns thousands of acres of farmland and at least $1 million in gold. Many own individual blue chip stocks, while another appears to hold no major assets other than his home and an employee benefit plan.

Americans got an unprecedented peek at the wealth of the Federal Reserve’s top ranks this week, when the central bank released nearly 600 pages of financial disclosure documents from its current regional presidents.

The Fed released financial disclosures for Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Fed Governors last year, but this is the first look at the wealth of the Fed presidents. As the heads of the Fed’s regional banks, these 12 officials have a say in the central bank’s decisions on monetary policy and play a key role in regulating the financial industry.

Unlike Bernanke, whose assets were in no-frills retirement accounts, money markets and U.S. Treasury securities, several top Fed members have more interesting investments.

Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, is one of the richest of the 12. He accrued a portfolio of at least $21 million after working 22 years in the financial industry as a banker, stock broker and hedge fund manager.

Fisher owns more than 7,000 acres in Texas, Georgia, Iowa and Missouri, in addition to more than $1 million in SPDR’s Gold Trust (GLD), and at least $50,000 in platinum and uranium each.

He also holds common stock in at least 43 companies, including more than $500,000 in Google.

Some of the other presidents’ investments are more plain vanilla.

Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota invested in index funds and some savings bonds. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker has little other than a checking account at Bank of America and less than $50,000 in a money market mutual fund.

Eric Rosengren, of the Boston Fed, owned shares of Jetblue (JBLU), Intel and Pfizer. Atlanta’s Dennis Lockhart recently had stock in Apple, Amazon, Boeing, Coca-Cola, eBay, Exxon Mobil and Oracle, just to name a few.

Meanwhile, James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed, filed a form that revealed some things, such as outside organizations he is involved in, but said nothing about his assets. The St. Louis Fed’s ethics officer said Bullard’s investments — like his home and his holdings in an employee benefit plan — did not fall under the disclosure requirements.

Beyond the basic holdings are a few curious situations.

About two weeks ahead of the Fed’s decision in November 2010 to launch a major stimulus program known as QE2, Lockhart put about $289,000 in index funds tracking the Russell 1000 (IWF) and S&P 500 (SPX), and another $47,000 in a Vanguard emerging markets fund.

Stocks went on to rally following the announcement of the $600 billion stimulus plan. His disclosure form indicates he held the investments at least through the end of 2010.