Mary Schapiro Turns Her Focus To Money Market Funds

Tuesday, November 08, 2011 08:00
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Mary Schapiro Turns Her Focus To Money Market Funds

Tags: mutual funds

The SEC has so much on its plate that Chairman Mary Schapiro used her spot at SIFMA's annual meeting to talk about money market funds, not about advisor regulation or Congressional funding or enforcement. 

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For those who remember the way the normally placid MMF world erupted in 2008, Schapiro's suggestions on ways to prevent even the rare meltdown are interesting.

 

She's leaning away from the fixed NAV standard -- in which money markets trade at a constant $1 per unit and roll over their dividends -- as "brittle."

 

As she points out, the $1 baseline creates an impression that these funds are guaranteed never to break the buck, largely because their sponsors have almost always stepped in to make them whole in the past.

 

She wants to turn them into traditional mutual funds or else require fund companies to set aside a reasonable cash reserve to prove that they can cover their losses and get their investors back to $1.

 

Again, it's interesting stuff, but the most interesting thing is that this is apparently what's on the top of Schapiro's mind right now. She's the top watchdog for everything from multi-trillion-dollar asset classes to $100 million RIAs. 

 

Stretched as thin as her team is, this is one of those cases where the $1 NAV overwhelms everything else on her agenda and advisors and their day-to-day operational concerns get pushed back.

 

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