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The Fed’s lack of clarity spurs insecurity

Andy Uhler Oct 28, 2015
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Investors are having a hard time understanding what the Fed is saying. Some argue the government is just adding to uncertainty in the markets.

Alan Rechtschaffen, financial adviser at UBS, said it’s not what the Fed is telling them that’s the problem, it’s the way they’re doing it.

“I think the Fed has had a problem with its messaging lately,” he said. “And if the Fed can message appropriately, I think they’d be a lot better off, and you’d have a lot of uncertainty come out of the marketplace.”

For all the Fed’s messaging, its signals are unclear. Peter Conti-Brown, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book “The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve,” said part of the problem might be that the Fed hasn’t been doing this long. 

“It is within recent memory that the Fed has been so transparent about its decisions as it is now,” he said.

In 2011, Ben Bernanke decided that the Fed would have monthly news conferences. Conti-Brown said 20 years ago, the market had to figure things out entirely on its own.

“Even before 1994, the Fed didn’t even announce what its decision was,” he said.

For all its ambiguity, this Federal Reserve may be the most transparent in bank’s history.

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