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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Schapiro Weighs 'More Fundamental Changes to the Structure of Money Market Funds'

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The Securities and Exchange Commission may soon finally decide what to do about its money market fund reform proposals, yet watch out for even more such ideas. Testifying Thursday morning before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, SEC chairman Mary Schapiro confirmed that the SEC may finalize the new money fund regs shortly, even while looking into more changes.

"We expect to consider adoption of our first set of money market fund reforms in early 2010, with consideration of more fundamental changes to the structure of money market funds to follow," Schapiro's testimony reads. "In addition, the SEC has been working closely with the Federal Reserve Board and President's Working Group on Financial Markets on a report assessing possible changes to further reduce the money market fund industry's susceptibility to runs."

In June 2009, the SEC proposed its first round of money market fund reforms, which included tighter credit quality and maturity restrictions, daily and weekly liquidity standards, required periodic stress-testing of money market fund portfolios and monthly disclosure of holdings. (The SEC asked for input about, but did not propose, disclosure of mark-to-market net asset values, use of floating NAVs and the requirement of redemptions-in-kind in times of crisis.)

The FCIC's hearings began Wednesday. It has widely been compared with the Pecora Commission that investigated the causes of the stock market crash of 1929 and led to the creation of the SEC 76 years ago. 

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