(Note: Figures are for 2020 unless otherwise noted.)
By John Titus
I. Money Creators
Commercial Banks – bank money (private: ~$3.5T issued, +26.2%)
- Bank of America
- JPMorgan Chase
- Wells Fargo
U.S. Treasury – coins (public: ~$160MM withdrawn, -9.6%)
- Domestic finance (run accounts and money)
- Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF)
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
- U.S. Mint and Bureau of Engraving & Printing
Federal Reserve Banks – reserves & cash (private: ~$2.8T issued, +78.0%)
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York
- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
- Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Global Central Banks
- U.S. Federal Reserve (0.1% interest paid on reserves) – $7.4T total balance sheet
- European Central Bank (-0.5%) – $8.4T
- Bank of Japan (-0.1%) – $6.7T
- People’s Bank of China (3.5%) – $5.7T
- Bank of England (0.1%) – $1.2T
- Swiss National Bank* (-0.75%) – $1.1T
- Hong Kong Monetary Authority* (0.5%) – $550B
- Monetary Authority of Singapore* (1.67%) – $346B
* These central banks have BIS Innovation Hubs
II. Money Keepers
Asset Management Firms (assets under management)
- BlackRock ($7.3T)
- Vanguard ($6.1T)
- UBS ($3.5T)
- Fidelity ($3.3T)
- State Street ($3.0T)
- Allianz ($2.4T) (parent company of PIMCO)
- T. Rowe Price ($1.1T)
Commercial Banks (customer deposits)
- JPMorgan Chase ($2.9T)
- Bank of America ($2.2T)
- Wells Fargo ($1.8T)
- Citigroup ($1.7T)
Wealth Management Firms (assets under management)
- J.P. Morgan ($2.9T)
- Bank of America ($1.35T)
- Morgan Stanley ($715B)
- Wells Fargo ($600B)
- Japan Government Pension Fund ($1.6T)
- Norway Government Pension Fund ($1.1T)
- South Korea National Pension Service ($637B)
- U.S. Federal Retirement Thrift ($601B)
- Netherlands ABP ($523B)
- CalPERS ($384B)
Sovereign Wealth Funds
- China Investment Corporation ($1.05T)
- Abu Dhabi Investment Authority ($580B)
- Hong Kong Monetary Authority Investment Portfolio ($576B)
- Kuwait Investment Authority ($534B)
- GIC Private Limited ($453B)
- Berkshire Hathaway ($308B market capitalization)
- China Life Insurance ($80B)
- Allianz ($76.8B)
- American International Group (AIG) ($72.3B)
- Ping An of China ($65.6B)
- Met Life ($59.4B)
- AXA ($57.8B)
Brain Trust Endowments
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ($46.8B)
- Harvard ($40.9 billion)
- Yale ($30.3B)
- Stanford ($27.7B)
- Princeton ($25.6B)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ($17.4B)
- University of Pennsylvania ($14.6B)
- Texas A&M ($12.6B)
- Ford Foundation ($12.4B)
- MacArthur Foundation ($7B)
III. Money Movers and Traders
Investment Banks (revenue from investment banking)
- JPMorgan Chase ($36.4B)
- Barclays ($13.3B)
- Bank of America ($8.2B)
- Goldman Sachs ($7.9B)
- Morgan Stanley ($6.1B)
Fund/Investment Management/Private Equity (assets under management)
- Blackstone ($584B)
- Apollo Global Management ($312B)
- The Carlyle Group ($230B)
- KKR ($222B)
- Bridgewater Associates ($138B)
- TPG ($85B)
IV. Money Auditors
Private Accounting Firms
- Deloitte ($47.6B annual revenue)
- PwC ($43.0B)
- Ernst & Young (EY) ($37.2B)
- KPMG ($29.2B)
V. International Policy Setters
- Group of 7 (G7)
- Group of 30 (G30)
- United Nations
- Bank for International Settlements (BIS)
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- World Bank
- Financial Stability Board
Political and Economic Matters
- Bilderberg Group
- Trilateral Commission
- Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
- World Economic Forum (WEF)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Bank of NY Mellon – Bank of NY Mellon has functioned as a custodian of three separate Fed pandemic response programs to oversee fund disbursement. This largely reprises the bank’s role as custodian of $700 billion of TARP funds ($3 billion of which went to the bank itself).
Bank for International Settlements (BIS) – The BIS was created at the Hague Conference in 1930 to establish an international clearing system for gold, which was the reserve “currency” used by many nations. It is located in Basel, Switzerland and has a headquarters agreement with the country, giving the BIS complete legal autonomy—meaning that it is not subject to legal prosecution, property confiscation, taxation, etc. The BIS was founded by six central banks and a group of three private U.S. banks—JP Morgan, First National Bank of New York, and First National Bank of Chicago.
The BIS was not organized as superior to any central bank, nor did it have the legal authority to issue money, credit, or currency. Rather, its remit was to facilitate German war reparations and settle international monetary transactions, though it later took on a supervisory role. In the latter capacity, the BIS has issued three rounds of capital adequacy standards.
BlackRock – BlackRock is an asset management firm and is widely regarded as the biggest financial institution in the world. BlackRock has played a massive role in the response of the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve to the pandemic, managing several different Fed programs. The firm actually played a very similar role in the bailouts of the 2008 financial crisis: It was BlackRock that spearheaded the Bear Stearns and AIG bailouts, and also advised the New York Fed on the $1.3 trillion of mortgage-backed securities it purchased from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. What enabled BlackRock to take on these massive tasks was its Aladdin computer system linking 5000 computers to track huge portfolios of banks and insurance companies.
BlackRock is also the world’s largest issuer of exchange traded funds (ETFs), setting up a clear conflict of interest when the Fed hired BlackRock to manage its Secondary Market Credit Facility, which gave the firm the ability to select its own ETFs for purchase by the Fed. BlackRock’s agreement with the Fed, however, expressly allowed for such conflicts.
Warren Buffett – Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway is the O.G.1 Vampire Squid (in fact Buffett bailed out Goldman Sachs in 2008 to the tune of $5 billion, an investment that eventually earned him $3 billion on top of his initial investment), whose tentacles are almost inevitable adornments in major banking and insurance company proxy statements. Buffett is thoroughly familiar with white collar criminal law, having been the subject of countless charges and investigations ranging from antitrust violations and insider trading to insurance scams. All of this gets ignored when it comes to the media, which uniformly promote the image of Buffett as simply an avuncular, banjo-playing investor in blue-chip companies that make products or render services that he enjoys.
Mark Carney – Carney is the former Governor of the Bank of England (2013-2020), former Governor of the Bank of Canada (2008-2013), former Chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) from 2011-2018 and a former executive director and managing director at Goldman Sachs where he worked for 13 years. After his tenure at the Bank of England ended, Carney launched the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets as just one of his many recent efforts in the area of climate action. He was active in the World Economic Forum’s Green Horizon Summit: The Pivotal Role of Finance, and in that regard published Building a Private Financing System for Net Zero [carbon emissons], under which “all governments, cities, financial institutions, and private businesses must establish their transition plans for net zero emissions by 2050 and start with concrete policies now.”
Carney’s involvement behind the scenes in orchestrating the exoneration of HSBC for admitted money-laundering crimes from atop the FSB is explored at length in BestEvidence’s “All the Plenary’s Men” (from 21:20–25:20), where Carney’s skill at evading a very skilled examiner in UK Parliament is on full display.
Ray Dalio – Dalio founded Bridgewater Associates (see Money Movers and Traders) and is regarded as a billionaire philanthropist. His role as a plainspoken voice on market issues was on display in a July 2020 interview after central bank balance sheets throughout the west had nearly doubled:
Today, the economy and the market are driven by the central banks and the coordination with the central government. What I mean by that is purchases right now of financial assets by the Federal Reserve or the purchases by the Federal Reserve of government securities are the drivers of that market…. Now the whole economy is systemically important. If they didn’t go out and make lending to companies, we would lose large parts of our economy. So we’re in a situation now where they [central banks] are the market makers.
Both “The Fed’s Silent Takeover of the U.S.” (S2 E6) and “Quantitative Easing Is the Biggest Sham Ever” (S3 E2) forensically illustrate how the Fed has made enormous moves into U.S. markets as Dalio is explaining here.
William Dudley – Dudley was President of the New York Federal Reserve from 2009-18 and worked at Goldman Sachs for 21 years, including as chief U.S. economist. He frequently appears in the media to discuss issues and forecast changes in the Fed’s monetary policy.
European Central Bank (ECB) – The ECB has been the central bank for Europe since 1999, but excludes the UK (where the central bank is the Bank of England). The ECB sets monetary policy for the European Union and issues Euros, which is the regional currency that replaced the currencies of the ECB’s 19 respective countries—currencies like the Deutsche Mark, the lira, and the franc. The President of the ECB is Christine Lagarde.
Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) – Though nominally a part of the U.S. Treasury, the ESF is a “fund” located within the New York Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan. The ESF was created on January 1, 1934 by the aptonymic Gold Reserve Act. The ESF was seeded with $2 billion in 1934 after the U.S. (1) outlawed the private ownership of gold, (2) confiscated gold from private U.S. citizens after demanding that they surrender it, and (3) revalued gold from $20.67 per ounce to $35 per ounce. Created with the stated purpose of protecting the U.S. dollar abroad and stabilizing currency markets, the ESF includes special drawing rights from the IMF. In September 2008, the ESF pledged $50 billion of support for money market mutual funds, which were experiencing heavy redemptions (~$165 billion over a 3-week period), which ceased more or less instantaneously with the appearance of the ESF and its pledge. A 1977 Government Accounting Office report on the ESF candidly states:
GAO presently has no authority to audit the operations of the Exchange Stabilization Fund except for its administrative expenses. Current legislative constraints impair access to information needed to reviews international trade and monetary matters.
The ESF operates, in other words, in nearly complete secrecy and is widely regarded as an official slush fund. See, for example, Andrew Elrod and Mark Engler, “Meet the Bailout’s New Slush Fund,” Boston Review, March 31, 2020, http://bostonreview.net/class-inequality-politics/andrew-elrod-mark-engler-meet-bailouts-new-slush-fund.
Financial Stability Board – The FSB is the too-big-to-fail (TBTF) policy arm within the Bank for International Settlements. The FSB originated the formal list of TBTF institutions in 2011 with its list of SIFIs—systemically important financial institutions. Membership in the FSB is determined according to positions held within governments around the world. For example, the FSB traditionally had three members from the U.S.—the Treasury Secretary, the Fed Chairman, and the head of the SEC—though today the U.S. delegates come from lesser posts. Because the FSB is housed within the BIS, its proceedings are conducted with zero transparency despite the presence of government officials in their official capacity. The FSB’s direct role in directing the U.S. Department of Justice not to prosecute HSBC is detailed at length in “All the Plenary’s Men.”
Larry Fink – The CEO and Chairman of BlackRock and on the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees, Fink personally advised President Trump on how to respond to the pandemic. Fink is also active in green initiatives and climate change action groups. In December 2020, Fink chaired a virtual session hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on how vaccinations would be rolled out in 2021, and also described how the public and private sectors would need to coordinate their ongoing response to Covid in a way that reorganizes the economy, including using climate-friendly econometric measures. Fink has shared his view of democracy candidly, telling Bloomberg viewers: “Markets don’t like uncertainty. Markets like actually totalitarian governments where you have an understanding of what’s out there, and obviously we’re—the whole dimension is changing now with the democratization of countries, and democracies are very messy as we know in the United States—you have opinions changing back and forth.”
Stanley Fischer – Fischer was the Governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005-13 and Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 2014-17. He is also the former First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF (1994-2001) and the Chief Economist of the World Bank (1988-90). Fischer speaks in public regularly to discuss or preview Federal Reserve initiatives and in this capacity was early to forecast the Fed’s target of 2% inflation in a speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Gary Gensler – Gensler is President Biden’s pick to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Previously he was the Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (where he regulated the derivatives market) from 2009-14 and worked at Goldman Sachs and in the U.S. Treasury before that. He currently is professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Gensler gained a reputation as a tough regulator while assisting the DOJ’s investigation (and eventual prosecution) of bankers for rigging Libor, though only two criminal convictions were obtained in the U.S. (via guilty pleas)—four years after Gensler left the CFTC. During the Clinton Administration, Gensler worked to ban derivatives regulation, in line with Alan Greenspan’s talking point that private contracts between private parties are not properly the subject of regulation. Following the 2008 crisis (caused in large part by fraud in the unregulated derivatives market), Gensler was able to rehabilitate himself in the media by pushing for some measure of transparency in that market via OTC derivatives trading that he is credited with pushing.
Gensler is also involved with the Boston Fed’s collaborative effort with MIT to develop a central bank digital currency, but is skeptical of many crypto currencies: “More than $10 billion has been raised via ICOs, a blockchain-based fund-raising method. But a significant fraction of these are fraudulent, and many were launched in a way that is not compliant with US securities laws established in the 1930s,” said Gensler in 2018.
Kristalina Georgieva – Georgieva is from Bulgaria and is the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund. After getting a PhD in Economics from the Karl Marx Institute of Higher Economics (thesis: “Environmental Protection Policy and Economic Growth in the USA”), she worked most of her career at the World Bank before moving to the IMF in 2019 to take over Christine Lagarde’s position. Georgieva also co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s High-Level Group on Humanitarian Investing. In October 2020, she hosted the IMF’s “Cross-Border Payments—A Vision for the Future” about the global move to central bank digital currencies.
Jeremy Grantham – Grantham is co-founder and chief investment strategist of GMO ($118 billion in assets), but is better known for his legendary contrarian views during major bubbles over the last three decades. He successfully called three different market bubbles: Japan’s asset-price bubble in 1989, the dot-com bubble in 2000, and the housing crisis in 2008. With this track record, Grantham raised eyebrows in June of 2020 when he opined that the stock market is in the fourth major bubble of his career.
Philipp Hildebrand – Hildebrand is Vice Chairman of BlackRock Group and was also a Director of the Bank for International Settlements, the Swiss Governor of the International Monetary Fund, Vice Chairman of the Financial Stability Board within the BIS, and President of the Swiss National Bank (SNB). Hildebrand resigned as head of the SNB after it was discovered that his wife made a $64,000 profit on a currency transaction—a windfall produced by the SNB’s decision to intervene in the currency markets two days after the transaction.
Hildebrand is the author of a June 2020 BlackRock publication entitled, “Policy revolution,” which fleshes out the company’s “going direct” initiative presented to the Federal Reserve the previous year. “Policy revolution” provides express guidance that is directly relevant to the pandemic response seen throughout western governments:
There are three main aspects to this revolution. First, the new set of policies are explicitly attempting to “go direct” – bypassing financial sector transmission and instead finding more direct pipes to deliver liquidity to households and businesses. Second, there is an explicit blurring of fiscal and monetary policies. Third, government support for companies comes with stringent conditions, opening the door to unprecedented government intervention in the functioning of financial markets and in corporate governance.
In this light, “going direct” can be seen as the direct use of government as an instrumentality of wealthy private parties like BlackRock to control populations by using private banks like the New York Federal Reserve within the Federal Reserve system.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) – Nominally a special arm of the United Nations (UN), the IMF was created at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944. The IMF lacks the power to create money or international reserves. Instead, each member country (there were 29 members in 1946 and 190 today) deposited a quota of gold, dollars, and other national currencies, which comprise IMF reserves. In this connection, the initially stated objective of the IMF was to establish fixed exchange rates among currencies. [pick up Z at 614..]
Neel Kashkari – Kashkari is the current President of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank and is an unofficial spokesman of the Fed who appears regularly on national Sunday Morning Talk Shows to discuss Federal Reserve programs in response to the pandemic, as well as to preview the Fed’s direction. Kashkari achieved fame in 2008 during the TARP bailout as Hank Paulson’s assistant who arrived at the $700 billion figure for that particular bailout (by multiplying U.S. GDP then, $14 trillion, by 5%). In April 2020, Kashari warned viewers to be prepared for “various phases of rolling flare-ups” over the next 18 months. See “Presenting the Federal Reserve Script for Totalitarianism” (S2 E3).
Christine Lagarde (ECB) – Lagarde is a convicted criminal who has been President of the European Central Bank since November 2019. Before that, she was the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, from 2011-19. Trained as a lawyer, Lagarde also chaired Baker & McKenzie, a huge global law firm headquartered in Chicago. Like her counterpart in the U.S., Jerome Powell, Lagarde has presided over multi-trillion dollar asset purchase programs that flow from the central bank through the largest financial institutions. In 2016, a French court convicted Lagarde of criminal negligence for a 400MM-euro payout while Lagarde was France’s finance minister to a man who claimed to have been defrauded by Adidas.
Steve Mnuchin – Mnuchin worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years, was CEO of George Soros-backed SFM Capital Management for two years, and was Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary. Mnuchin set off a small furor by penning a letter to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell demanding the return of monies the U.S. Treasury provided to the Fed for five emergency loan programs created in response to the pandemic.
New York Federal Reserve – The New York Fed is by far the most important of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks. As the only permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the New York Fed carries out FOMC policy directives and conducts open market operations, that is, buying and selling U.S. government securities in accordance with FOMC policy directives. It is the only regional branch with its own trading floor and has 1500 Bloomberg terminals to carry out trades. The New York Fed also houses the Exchange Stabilization Fund. The New York Federal Reserve district includes Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as well as part of Connecticut and New Jersey. Most of the Fed’s pandemic response programs have been run by the New York Fed.
PIMCO – PIMCO is a global investment management firm focusing on bonds and other active fixed income management vehicles. PIMCO was selected by the New York Fed to manage both the Commercial Paper Funding Facility and Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, repeating two of the same roles it played in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Jerome Powell – Powell is the first lawyer to chair the Federal Reserve since the Carter Administration, when the Fed was briefly chaired by G. William Miller. Powell’s legal career was brief but included a stint at Davis Polk & Wardwell, one of America’s preeminent white shoe law firms. Powell then worked at elite investment bank Dillon Read from 1984-90 and again from 1995-97. He was also a partner at The Carlyle Group (see Money Movers & Traders) from 1997-2005. He also worked in various government capacities before becoming Fed Chairman. According to Powell’s 2019 financial disclosure, he held as much as $11.6 million of his personal wealth with BlackRock.
Carmen and Vincent Reinhart –
- Carmen Reinhart is Chief Economist of the World Bank and also holds a chair of
- Vincent Reinhart is the Chief Economist at BNY Asset Management.
international finance at the Harvard Kennedy School. She was also Chief Economist and Vice President at the investment bank Bear Stearns in the 1980s.
The Reinharts frequently write about policy seemingly at the same time that the policies they write about are being rolled out and implemented by governments. In October 2020, they wrote a paper for Foreign Affairs entitled, “The Pandemic Depression” warning that the global economy would never be the same and that the pandemic “poses a once-in-a-generation threat to the world’s population.” The Reinharts’ prescription for the pandemic? “Follow Larry Summers’ advice: targeted, temporary and timely fiscal stimulus.”
Kenneth Rogoff – Rogoff is Thomas D. Cabot Professor at Harvard University. From 2001–2003, Rogoff served as Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund. Rogoff is a major fan of central banks and an enemy of cash. A reliable advocate of central monetary control by private parties, Rogoff is also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has a column devoted to global economic issues that is syndicated in 50 countries. Rogoff is a frequent co-author of Carmen Reinhart.
State Street Bank – State Street Bank (of Boston) has functioned as a custodian of two different Fed pandemic response programs to oversee fund disbursement. It received $2 billion in TARP bailout funds in 2008.
Small Business Administration – The Small Business Administration ran the retail end of the broadest and most successful pandemic relief program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In total, the SBA approved some 5.2 million loans totaling $525 billion (average loan size: $100,729) from nearly 5500 lenders.
Swiss National Bank (SNB) – The SNB is the central bank of Switzerland. Between 2011 and 2015, Switzerland pegged its currency (the Swiss franc) to the Euro at a 1.2-to-1 ratio. When Switzerland scrapped the peg, essentially scrapping the Euro, the Swiss franc rose 20% immediately.
John Williams – Williams has been the President and CEO of the New York Federal Reserve Bank since 2018 and was the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2011-2018. Williams has worked at the Fed ever since earning his PhD in economics in 1994.
Janet Yellen – Yellen is President Biden’s pick to replace Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. She is also the former Chair of the Federal Reserve, from 2014-2018. Over the last two years, Yellen has reeled in $7 million from speaking engagements before large financial institutions.
Yellen has opined that the recent economic crisis got kicked off “in March, when uncertainty about the pandemic led hedge funds and others to scramble to raise cash by selling longer-term securities. The upsurge in the supply of longer-term securities, including Treasuries, was more than dealers and other market-makers could handle.”
Jeff Zucker – Zucker is President of CNN. His entry in “The Bloomberg 50” states: “The roughly 50 town halls CNN has hosted for Democratic presidential candidates have played a major role in shaping the primary.” That is one of the most massive pieces of misdirection ever written, ignoring Zucker’s instrumental role behind the rise of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency. While still at NBC, Zucker gave Trump his own show with “The Apprentice,” a vehicle that made Donald Trump not just a household name but a fixture for an entire decade. Then Zucker moved to CNN. There, he was behind CNN’s push to cover Donald Trump 24/7 during the 2016 primaries. CNN’s excuse for non-stop coverage—that it drove up ratings—made no sense since CNN did not advertise during its marathon Trump-bashing festivals, which—though negative publicity—was still publicity; it was massive publicity, and it was rendered without charge.
1 O.G.: Original gangster.