Financial Stability News

News about financial stability and central banking

Category Archives: Money Market Funds

IMF: Financial stability reform lagging behind

This VOX post by one of the leading authors of this years Global Financial Stability ReportĀ  Not making the grade: Report card on global financial reform | vox. argues that the pace of reform and restructuring of the financial sector is too slow. Important issues remain unresolved, including

  • Financial systems are still overly complex.
  • Banking assets are highly concentrated (Figure 3), with strong domestic interlinkages.
  • The too-important-to-fail issues are unresolved.
  • Banking systems are still over-reliant on wholesale funding (Figure 4)

There is still little progress (or politicla will?) to tackle the TBTF problem, and the financial system remain too complex. Shadow banking continue to be a problem, as well.

Key question is whether “traditional” program of reform, inkl. Basel 3, will deliver the required reforms in time? The lobbying pressure is intense, ref. the latest defeat of the SEC on money market reform. May be we need other approaches, ref. Haldane’s critique of Basel 3?

SEC officials oppose money fund reform report

It looks like Mary Schapiro at SEC will have problems getting her proposals for money market reform through her own board. According to this Reuter report three of five members are currently opposed to new changes to regulation of MMF. This reform package is by many considered the most important remaining element of the changes needed to stabilize the financial system. But the industry is dead against any changes, not surprisingly since they are up against the wall of low returns and high costs. In the meantime MMF continue to provide banks with unstable funding, so we will have to wait for the next big crisis to hit and MMF will withdraw their funding again. Not a terrible stable system this!

For the industry view, see the IOSCO report

The Financial System Five Years from Now

The IMF hosted a one day conference end of March on the structural challenges in banking and on shadow banking. Some of the presentations and papers have now been posted (unfortunately not all). See in particular presentation by Arnoud Boot, which gives an interesting overview of the issues, but provides more questions than answers. Andrei Shleifer et al. have a paper on shadow banking where they show how vulnerable the financial system becomes if tail risk is ignored and securitization allowed. They support some form of regulation, preferably through a leverage ratio.

Finally – US Money Market reform

WSJ reports today that the Securities and Exchange Commission will present a proposal for money market reform in the coming weeks.

The Securities and Exchange Commission will unveil a two-part plan to stabilize money funds, which invest in short-term debt instruments and are designed to be safe and readily accessible to investors, according to people familiar with the matter. At least three of five SEC commissioners would need to approve the proposals to submit them for public comment.

The proposals will be controversial, as MM funds will have to hold more capital and not be able to guarantee 100% capital surety. Many funds are already struggling in the very low interest rate environment, and some will surely fold if these proposals go through.

As Reuters reports … The proposals are vehemently opposed by the industry, which says they will effectively kill the business.

But, first we have to get the proposals. Keep looking here for the coming weeks.