The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking comment on a series of potential reforms that aim to enhance the resilience of money market funds.
The SEC issued a request for comment on a report published by the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets in December 2020, which examined the effects of the pandemic on short-term funding markets — and money market funds in particular.
That report found that certain funds experienced significant outflows in March 2020, contributing to stress in overall financial markets.
“These events occurred despite prior reform efforts to make money market funds more resilient to credit and liquidity stresses and, as a result, less susceptible to redemption-driven runs,” the SEC noted.
The report finds that more work is needed. There are “structural vulnerabilities in prime and tax-exempt money market funds,” it said, and that can “lead to or exacerbate stresses in short-term funding markets.”
The report also considers a number of possible reform ideas, including capital buffer requirements, liquidity management changes and weekly liquid asset requirements, among others.
Many of the proposed changes could be adopted by the SEC, but some of them may require coordinated action by multiple agencies, or the creation of new private entities, the regulator said.
“Moreover, relevant money market funds could likely implement some of the potential reform measures fairly quickly, while other measures would involve longer-term structural changes,” the SEC noted.
The report is out for a 60-day comment period.
“Comments received will assist the SEC and other relevant financial regulators in further analysis of potential reforms,” said acting chair of the SEC, Allison Herren Lee, in a statement.