Institutions Scream Ahead Of Imminent Death Of Money Markets
Previously we explained on at least two occasions (here and here) why the upcoming death of the US money market industry is not greatly exaggerated: quite simply, as we wrote back in 2010, the Group of 30, or the shadow group that truly runs the world (see latest members) decided some time ago that it would rather take the "inert" $2.6 trillion held in money markets, and not used to boost the fractional reserve multiplier, and instead have it allocated to such more interesting markets as bonds and stocks. As a reminder, Europe already achieved this last month when it cut its deposit rate to zero leading to a sequential shuttering of money market funds. The Fed, however, has to be far more careful to not impair the overnight General Collateral repo market which as everyone who understands the nuances of Shadow Banking knows is where all the bodies are buried, and as such has been far more careful in implementing such a shotgun approach. Instead, Ben, the SEC, and the Group of 30 have adopted a far more surgical approach to destroying money markets: they want investors themselves to pull their money by implementing such terminally destructive measures as floating NAV, redemption restrictions and capital requirements, which will achieve one thing - get the end user to pull their money from MM and put the cash either into either deposits, where it can then proceed to be "fractionally reserved" into the banking system, or to boost AMZN's 250+ P/E. After all the number under observation is not modest: at $2.6 trillion, this is almost 20% of the market cap of the US stock market. So it was only a matter of time before major money market institutions, in this case Federated first, but soon everyone else, starts screaming and warning that money markets are about to die (which they are).
Of course, at the end of the day, whatever the Group of 30 wants, the Group of 30 gets: goodbye money market funds (more here). It was nice knowing you.
Dear Financial Professional,
Over the past 40 years, money market funds have become a staple of the US economy, used by millions of investors, businesses, state/local governments and non-profit organizations as a stable, efficient and liquid cash management vehicle. Unfortunately, if Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Schapiro has her way, that may not be the case for much longer, as the SEC is poised to consider a set of proposals that would be the death knell for money market funds.
Federated has been very active in the battle to save money market funds and I am pleased to report that we are not alone. In addition to a host of financial services companies, hundreds of corporations, business groups, state/local governments and non-profits have written to the SEC to express their support for money market funds and to oppose Chairman Schapiro’s proposals.
There are three proposals being promoted by Chairman Schapiro and other Washington regulators – a floating NAV, redemption restrictions and capital requirements – each of which would destroy the very foundations that make money market funds so effective and popular.
- Replacing the stable $1.00 net asset value, which has been the hallmark of money funds, with a floating rate NAV would create accounting nightmares for all users, requiring the tracking and reporting of fractional changes in share price each time shares are bought or sold.
- Instituting redemption restrictions would prohibit money fund users from having full access to their investments when they want it or need it. Such a freeze would also cripple sweep accounts, check-writing and a number of others features that money market fund users depend on.
- Requiring money market funds to maintain “capital buffers” or reserves would further limit the attractiveness of money market funds, particularly in the current low interest rate environment.
It is crunch time. The SEC is getting ready for a public meeting on these proposals. We need the help of everyone who knows the benefits of money market funds and their importance to the economy. Federated has developed a website that provides you the ability to contact the SEC and other officials to let your voice be heard in support of money market funds. You can visit www.savemoneymarketfunds.org to tell the Washington regulators not to destroy money market funds.
I truly appreciate our relationship and your consideration of helping Federated and money fund users everywhere in this important matter.
J. Christopher Donahue
President and Chief Executive Officer
Federated Investors, Inc.