Money Market Funds
Operations and Technology
Opinion: The Tax Threat to Your Mutual Fund
By Mike McNamee
May 7, 2015
Vanguard Chairman and CEO Bill McNabb sent “an open letter to all mutual fund investors” in the opinion pages of Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. His message: fund investors face a clear threat of higher costs, weaker returns, and a bailout tax to salvage other failing financial institutions—all if regulators get their way in imposing new rules on funds or their managers.
In “The Tax Threat to Your Mutual Fund,” McNabb, who is also chairman of the Investment Company Institute, warns that regulators who were charged with protecting taxpayers from future bailouts are now pursuing a course that “might place that burden squarely back on Main Street mutual fund investors without any solid evidence that the funds or their managers could bring on another panic.”
The reason: the Financial Stability Oversight Council in the U.S. and the multinational Financial Stability Board could declare that funds or their managers are “systemically significant financial institutions” (SIFIs), just like the highly leveraged banks whose failures wreaked financial havoc in the 2008 crisis. Under the Dodd Frank Act, “if one (SIFI) fails, all other SIFIs will be responsible for bailing it out,” McNabb writes.
The result: “the 90 million Americans invested in mutual funds for retirement, education or a new home could be forced to once again bail out ‘too big to fail’ Wall Street firms.”
“Investor returns would suffer even absent a bailout,” McNabb writes. “Mutual fund companies could be required to hold capital reserves, potentially up to 8% of the fund’s assets based on current Dodd-Frank requirements. Such capital requirements would be raised through fees paid by investors. Any capital reserves that are sitting in a mutual fund are not generating returns in the stock or bond markets. According to research from the American Action Forum, capital requirements could trim as much as 25 percent from a mutual fund investor’s returns over a lifetime of investing.”
This drive for SIFI designation ignores simple facts, McNabb says: “Mutual funds and their managers are not banks. They do not impose risks on financial markets like banks do. They have fundamentally different structures with fundamentally different risk profiles. They are organized and regulated in a way that limits risk to the financial system. Designating a handful of mutual funds as SIFIs will not reduce systemic risk in the markets.”
Bill McNabb brings another powerful voice to the chorus protesting regulations that would undermine mutual funds and harm their investors. As he concludes, “Let’s not regulate for regulation’s sake. And let’s not go back to the misguided approach of having Main Street bail out Wall Street.”
Mike McNamee is Chief Public Communications Officer at ICI.
2015 Investment Company Fact Book: Letter from the Chief Economist
By Brian Reid
May 4, 2015
A version of this letter by ICI Chief Economist Brian Reid was released today in our 55th edition of the Investment Company Fact Book.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Investment Company Act and the Investment Advisers Act—the key statutes under which mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), closed-end funds, and unit investment trusts are regulated and governed. In 1940—the same year that Congress enacted these laws—the fund industry formed the National Committee of Investment Companies, the trade group that became the Investment Company Institute (ICI).
ICI Global Welcomes the Announcement of More Stock Connects in Asia Pacific
By Qiumei Yang
April 22, 2015
In response to the announcement about a launch date for the Taiwan Stock Exchange and Singapore Exchange trading link, and recent reports of a possible Shenzhen–Hong Kong Stock Connect, ICI Global’s Qiumei Yang offers the following comment:
More Unfounded Speculation on Bond ETFs and Financial Stability
By Shelly Antoniewicz and Mike McNamee
April 13, 2015
A recent column in the Financial Times warns of “another accident in waiting” in the growth of fixed-income exchange-traded funds (ETFs)—described as “financial alchemy” that converts illiquid bonds into “baskets” that “trade moment to moment on the stock exchanges.” This “illusory” ETF liquidity will disappear, the author warns, when investors “want to move en masse, and quickly, when the going gets less good.”
Once Again, Information Moves Markets
By Sean Collins
March 18, 2015
Treasury yields fell sharply today and the stock market jumped. Wouldn’t it be nice if mutual funds could take credit? Unfortunately, they can’t. Any orders that mutual fund investors place to buy or sell shares anytime today before 4:00 p.m. won’t hit the market until 4:00 p.m., just like any other day. And, if you are reading this blog post at the time of its posting, 4:00 p.m. is still 10 minutes away.
Does Liquidity in ETFs Depend Solely on Authorized Participants?
By Shelly Antoniewicz and Jane Heinrichs
March 16, 2015
ICI recently conducted a survey of its members that sponsor exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to collect information on authorized participants (APs)—typically market makers or large institutional investors with an ETF trading desk that have entered into a legal contract with an ETF to create and redeem shares of the fund.
Plenty of Players Provide Liquidity for ETFs
By Shelly Antoniewicz
December 2, 2014
A recent article in the Financial Times’ FT Alphaville blog (“Lies, Damned Lies, and Liquidity Expectations”) focused on a paper published by the Committee on the Global Financial System, an organization that monitors developments in global financial markets for central bank governors.
Bloomberg Ignores the Evidence on Bond ETFs
By Mike McNamee
September 26, 2014
In response to “Pimco ETF Probe Spotlighting $270 Billion Market Vexing FSB,” we posted the following comment on Bloomberg News’ website:
A Look Inside ETFs and ETF Trading
By Rochelle Antoniewicz and Jane Heinrichs
September 23, 2014
Investors in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are trading shares with each other far more than they are turning to authorized participants to create or redeem shares.
The Real Lessons to Be Learned from 1994’s Bond Market
By Brian Reid
July 29, 2014
A recent “Heard on the Street” column in the Wall Street Journal (“Heeding 1994's Bond-Market Lesson,” July 27, 2014) is correct in saying that there’s a lesson to be learned from the 1994 bond market—but it draws the wrong lesson.
SEC Chair White Stresses Need for FSOC to Consult Sources for Necessary Expertise
By Rachel McTague
May 22, 2014
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Jo White today called for the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to use outside expertise to the degree necessary in its process of designating systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs). She asserted that it is “enormously important for FSOC, before it makes any decision of any kind, to make sure it has the necessary expertise on any of those issues.”
“Market Tantrums” and Mutual Funds: A Second Look
By Sean Collins and Chris Plantier
May 19, 2014
Over the past year, policymakers who are focused on financial stability have pursued a theory that mutual fund investors can destabilize financial markets by redeeming from funds when markets decline. According to this theory, redemptions by fund investors lead fund managers to sell securities; those sales drive asset prices down further and, in turn, spur more investor flight, redemptions, and price declines.
ETFs Don’t Move the Market—Information Does
By Shelly Antoniewicz
March 11, 2014
There they go again.