has staunchly opposed Mary Schapiro's
proposals to reform money funds, and took a leading role
in the lobbying efforts that helped block reforms. So it's no surprise that ICI president Paul Schott Stevens
has penned a missive
in opposition to FSOP chairman Tim Geithner
to force the SEC to adopt Schapiro's plan.
Stevens' letter to the members of the FSOC states that Schapiro's proposals "have elicited strong opposition for their adverse impacts on investors issuers and the economy," earning "hundreds" of opponents.
In what may qualify in the regulatory-letter-writing community as a zinger, Stevens says that he hopes regulators "will take an objective, fact-based view of the issues" — as opposed, presumably, to the view Geithner and Schapiro have taken.
Yet Stevens' comment also strikes a conciliatory note, saying that the ICI will "continue to present empirical analysis to inform the regulatory debate" as the SEC "continues its engagement on money fund issues, seeking to determine if future reforms are necessary and, if so, what shape those reforms should take."
On the same note, today BlackRock
issued a statement with an attached proposal
of its own that suggest a willingness to compromise with Washington.
Saying that it has "actively pursuing a number of potential solutions to MMF reform over the past three years" and is committed to "preserve money market funds while addressing the concerns of regulators," the firm released a "ViewPoint" paper with its own proposal to reform the funds.
The BlackRock paper endorses the idea of "circuit breakers" — similar to the "gates" that Geithner proposed yesterday — to prevent MMF runs. The paper also signals a softer line toward Schapiro's proposal for MMFs to adopt floating NAVs, saying that research suggests that this would "change but not destroy the industry."
Meanwhile, as the FSOC meets today in a closed-door session,
further clarifies where all these statements are likely to lead: a eventual compromise between fund firms and the regulators.
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