Given a choice between a regulator whose mission is to promote growth through investment, or an unfamiliar committee dominated by the Federal Reserve, the mutual-fund industry opted for the devil it knew.
The threat of regulation by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, an umbrella group charged with monitoring regulators’ blind spots, encouraged fund companies to negotiate with the Securities and Exchange Commission on new rules for money-market mutual funds that were approved yesterday. The strongest provisions affect funds that hold about one-third of the industry’s assets, while those catering to retail investors and holding U.S. government securities were exempted.
Critics of the SEC’s rules say a floating share price will do little to discourage runs because shareholders will be tempted to pull cash when they think a fund will lock up their money. The SEC should have advanced earlier proposals to require money funds to hold capital that would help them absorb losses on their holdings, these critics say.