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Friday, October 24, 2014

When Elizabeth Warren Allied With Fidelity

News summary by MFWire's editors

Fundsters, take heed: even the most vocal Democrats can actually help forge a compromise with regulators. Even famous, populist senators who complain about Republicans rigging the game in favor of Wall Street can stand on the side of mutual fund firms against potentially disruptive regulations. And voters may see it as standing up for little guy investors like them.

Joan Vennochi of the Boston Globe highlights what she describes as the contradiction of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) fighting "powerful financial interests" on the one hand while on the other backing Boston-based mutual fund giant Fidelity in its fight against the SEC's proposed money market mutual fund regulations. The paper says Warren stayed silent on the money fund fight while running for Senate in 2012, and later objected "to proposals that Fidelity didn't like," such as the floating net asset value (NAV) idea, which the SEC ended up only applying to institutional money funds.

"They didn't cite industry complaints; they cited concerns of local politicians," the Globe writes. "A compromise was reached, which ... favored the mutual fund industry."

"Ideological purity is hard to sustain in the real world of politics -- especially in the real world of local politics," the paper concludes.

Yet perhaps voters are on Warren's side on this fight. A retiree wrote in to the Globe, calling Vennochi's column "quite a stretch."

"Probably most small investors, and especially senior citizens, would feel the same as I, that Warren was protecting our interests on this issue," writes Peter Denison of Somerset, Massachusetts. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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