Bill Gross Called an ‘Oddball,’in Fed Transcript

Richard Fisher, a Federal Reserve official, called billionaire investor Bill Gross bill gross photoan “oddball” at a 2006 meeting — then asked to have the remark withheld from a transcript that was released today by the Fed.

“I’ve known Gross for 20 years, and I know he’s an oddball,” Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said at the Oct. 24-25, 2006 meeting. “Actually, I’d like that word struck from the record.”

Fisher was worried that investors weren’t taking the central bank’s inflation-fighting resolve seriously. One example of his concern, expressed at the Federal Open Market Committee (FDTR) meeting, was a comment by Gross that inflation was “leveling off at admittedly unacceptable levels.” Gross runs the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co.

Gross predicted in his September 2006 “Investment Outlook” report that the Fed had finished raising interest rates and would have to start cutting them again “at some point” in 2007.

Fisher cited the report to back up his argument that the Fed needed to “issue a statement that makes it clear that we’re mindful of and remain vigilant about inflationary risk.”

The Fed had halted a two-year campaign of raising interest rates in August 2006 after detecting growing weakness in the housing market. The U.S. central bank would lower its benchmark rate by half-a-percentage point to 4.75 percent in September 2007.


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