SEC study: 2010 reforms not 'break the buck' panacea
The SEC's findings were laid out in a new study released late on Wednesday that examines the 2008 financial crisis and the impact of reforms implemented as a response to those events. During the crisis, heavy exposure to collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers caused the net asset value (NAV) of the Reserve Primary Fund, a large money market fund, to fall below $1 per share, or "break the buck" in industry parlance.
"The findings indicate that funds are more resilient now to both portfolio losses and investor redemptions than they were in 2008," the report says.
"That being said, no fund would have been able to withstand the losses that The Reserve Primary Fund incurred in 2008 without breaking the buck, and nothing in the 2010 reforms would have prevented The Reserve Primary Fund's holding of Lehman Brothers debt."
The study was requested by SEC Democratic Commissioner Luis Aguilar and Republicans Troy Paredes and Dan Gallagher, all three of whom were reluctant to support any new reforms championed by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro without additional economic analysis.
The study does not make any policy recommendations. However, it does explore various explanations for redemption activity by investors during the financial crisis, and how any potential structural changes to money funds could affect investor behavior.
Since last year, Schapiro
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