Short-duration bond exchange traded funds are beginning to look more attractive relative to money market funds as the federal government and regulatory bodies scrutinize vulnerability in the $2.7 trillion money fund industry.
The Financial Stability Oversight Council is calling for greater regulations to limit the risk to investors of money market funds, reports Mark Koba for CNBC. The FSOC is expected to announce changes in the coming weeks after hearing from the industry.
The move toward money market reform has been growing. Recently, all 12 Federal Reserve Bank regional presidents in a letter to the Financial Stability Oversight Council said they support money market mutual fund reform. [Short-Duration Bond ETFs: Fed Presidents Back Money Fund Reform]
Money market funds are seen as safe investments as investors can almost always buy and sell money market shares at $1. However, during the 2008 financial crisis, money market funds “broke the buck” after dipping below $1 on losses incurred from the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, leading to a market run on the money funds.
In an attempt to obviate another run or collapse, regulators want to change the $1 per share value, or the net asset value, associated with money market funds, allowing the funds to “float” their NAV. Additionally, they are looking at the amount funds have in reserve.