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Sun Life CIO: US Fed "Powerless" To Stimulate Economy

By Caroline Van Hasselt Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES TORONTO -(Dow Jones)- A top Sun Life Financial Inc. (SLF) executive says the U.S. Federal Reserve's main tool to stimulate economic growth is no longer effective. The U.S. central bank's ability to spur mortgage refinancing through low interest rates isn't possible because housing prices are too low, said Stephen Peacher, Sun Life's chief investment officer. The Fed "is powerless to stimulate the economy," he said at the Toronto Forum for Global Cities conference in Toronto. The Fed "can't do much about today's economy," he said. The average mortgage rate fell from 11% in 1983 to 5%, he said. "It doesn't work today because home prices are too low," he said. Former Fed chief Paul Volcker is "singularly responsible" for the 2008 financial crisis because "he broke the back of inflation" in the 1980s, leading to steadily declining interest rates, and rising asset prices that in turn led to excessive leverage in the financial system, Peacher said. "No good deed goes unpunished," Peacher said. -By Caroline Van Hasselt; Dow Jones Newswires; 416-306-2023; caroline.vanhasselt@dowjones.com

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