U.S. Federal Reserve Bans Employees From Trading Crypto, Bonds And Stocks

The Federal Reserve banned senior officials from engaging in several forms of active trading, finalizing a sweeping series of changes to its ethics rules after several Fed officials it became engulfed in controversy over their trading actions. 

Since September, three top Fed officials, including former Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, have resigned since disclosing trading activity at the start of the pandemic. The disclosures led to a widespread backlash, and prompted Fed Chair Jerome Powell to order a review of the ethics rules for top officials.

The new rules were previewed in October, and “aim to support public confidence in the impartiality and integrity of the Committee’s work by guarding against even the appearance of any conflict of interest,” the central bank said in a statement

The Federal Open Market Committee announced on Friday that it had unanimously adopted the guidelines, which go into effect on May 1. These prohibit senior officials from purchasing individual stocks or sector funds, shorting a stock, entering into derivatives contracts, or purchasing securities on margins. They also prevent them from holding individual bonds, agency securities, cryptocurrencies, commodities or foreign currencies.

In addition, senior officials will be required to provide 45 days’ notice before selling or buying securities and obtain approval for the transactions. They will need to hold investments for at least one year. The requirements for advance notice and pre-clearance take effect on July 1. 

The committee will also extend a blackout trading period running up to regularly scheduled FOMC meetings by a day after each meeting.

People covered by the rules range from Fed Board members and Reserve Bank presidents to Reserve Bank first vice presidents, research directors, staff officers, and any other person designated by the Chair—and their spouses and minor children. 

When the changes take effect, Reserve Bank presidents will be required to publicly disclose any transactions within 30 days, as Board members currently do. Officials have 12 months from when the rules take effect to dispose of any impermissible holdings.

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PayPal’s Venmo Will Allow Cardholders To Buy Crypto With Cash-Back Options

Paypal Holdings Inc-owned Venmo on Tuesday rolled out a feature that would allow holders of its credit cards to automatically buy cryptocurrencies with the cashback earned on their purchases.

Cardholders will be able to buy Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash through the “Cash Back to Crypto” feature and will not be charged fees for the transaction, Venmo said in a statement.

The users can at any time hold or sell such assets within the Venmo app and change their choice of cryptocurrency.

The peer-to-peer payment service already allows its more than 70 million users to purchase the four cryptocurrencies through its direct buying option, which was introduced in April and carries a fee.

Adoption of digital assets has gathered pace this year, with Venmo’s parent PayPal becoming one of the most active mainstream financial companies in cryptocurrencies.

(Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni – Read More)

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Diversify Your Cryptocurrency Holdings And Buy A Luxury Condo

Mansion Global | The wild ups and downs of cryptocurrency markets have been near the top financial headlines for months, so it’s perhaps no surprise that a rapidly increasing number of luxury real estate developers and sellers are getting into the game themselves, making properties available for currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and in the process, creating an attention-grabbing hook for their listings.

But the new proliferation of crypto-friendly listings may be a boon to certain buyers, as well, providing a prime opportunity to diversify a portion of their holdings from the volatile world of digital currencies into the traditionally much more stable world of real property.

“We are definitely a fan of digital assets, and the boom and bust cycles are natural,” said Amanda Agati, chief investment officer for the PNC Financial Services Group. “They are [also] one of the most volatile assets on the planet, so the ability to potentially diversify from digital into real assets like property is very attractive.”

For sellers, offering listings for cryptocurrency may significantly broaden the pool of potential buyers, given the number of investors with significant holdings in digital currencies but few liquid assets elsewhere, or even those who have more diversified portfolios but have seen their crypto holdings explode in value since this time last year. Bitcoin, for example, was valued at around $9,200 in mid-July 2020, and is now up more than threefold to around $31,500, as of Thursday afternoon. “A lot of people have created great wealth in the last year with crypto,” said Thomas Duger, vice president of sales at Elegran Real Estate, who is currently marketing a $2.595 million condo near New York City’s Gramercy Park for a seller who is willing to accept Bitcoin.

“The seller is so bullish on cryptocurrency, he thinks this is just the beginning,” Mr. Duger said.

Purchasing property in cryptocurrency isn’t necessarily the right investment move for everyone, however, and in such a new market, buyers would do well to go into transactions with a close eye on the details. Below, what to know if you’re looking to trade in some of your frothy digital currency holdings for good old brick-and-mortar.

A Prime Time to Diversify

While some cryptocurrency die-hards are content to keep their entire holdings staked on the fate of a currency like Dogecoin, other investors with significant digital assets are now strategizing around the most timeless piece of investing wisdom in any year or market: diversify.

“You’re seeing a lot of people that might have put $10,000 into Dogecoin and now they have $10 million,” said Dalton Skach, founder and CEO of Gold Gate, a luxury real estate investment fund manager that recently launched a new fund allowing buyers to invest in property via cryptocurrency. “But they also don’t have any other assets.”

And for buyers with a disproportionate percentage of their overall net worth now represented by digital currency, snapping up a condo in exchange for a portion of their Bitcoin holdings can offer a tidy solution.

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Investing 101: A Crash Course In Managing Personal Wealth And Building A Profitable Portfolio

Investing 101: From Stocks and Bonds to ETFs and IPOs, an Essential Primer on Building a Profitable Portfolio

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Happy Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day (March 8th) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

Today is a reminder for ourselves that we are all equally important, and we rise by lifting others.

Whether you are a successful business woman, an artist, a mother, or a student, take a moment to celebrate your accomplishments.

Repeat todays mantra three times: “I am worthy, I am perfect in my imperfections, I am loved, I am beautiful, and I am a Goddess of a woman”.

Sincerely,
Crystal Menes
Contributor