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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ICI Pushes Changes in Money Funds

by: Armie Margaret Lee

The ICI Board of Governors on Wednesday endorsed recommendations put together by the money market working group (click here to view the full report) aimed at making money funds more transparent and liquid. Shefali Anand picked up on those recommendations, which include requiring money funds to hold a cash balance of 5 percent to 20 percent, in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal Fund Track column.

Vanguard chairman Jack Brennan chairs the working group, whose members include ICI president and CEO Paul Schott Stevens, Legg Mason chairman and CEO Mark Fetting, Fidelity asset management head Michael Wilens, JPMorgan Funds president and CEO George Gatch, Goldman Sachs Mutual Funds president and CEO James McNamara, Invesco president and CEO Martin Flanagan, Schwab Funds president Randall Merk, Federated Investors vice chairman John McGonigle, BlackRock managing director Richard Davis and BlackRock Funds independent director James Bodurtha.

The group recommends that all money funds be required to publish investments monthly, and that the funds reveal the type of clients they have. Another recommendation is for the SEC to authorize funds to be able to suspend redemptions and purchases of shares for up to five days.

In addition, there's a proposal to decrease the average weighted maturity of money funds' investments from 90 days to 75 days. Such a move "provides a more liquid portfolio," Fetting told The Journal.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Fetting said industry executives hoped the proposals would pre-empt regulations backed by former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, who heads up President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board. 

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