U.S. mutual fund companies are pushing back against claims that some firms may be too big to fail, saying that singling out a few large money managers and subjecting them to more regulation would hurt competition and ultimately fund investors.
“New costs and new regulations applied selectively will distort the competitive landscape of our industry,” Paul Schott Stevens, president of the Investment Company Institute, the fund industry’s trade group, said in the text of a speech he is scheduled to give today in Orlando, Florida. “The consequences of SIFI designation could significantly impair fund investing.”
ICI members including BlackRock Inc., Pacific Investment Management Co. and Fidelity Investments, have been lobbying regulators and lawmakers to avoid being labeled by U.S. and international regulatory bodies as systemically important financial institutions. The designation could lead to tighter capital, leverage and liquidity rules like those faced by banks.
The U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council, which includes the heads of the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, is studying whether New York-based BlackRock and Boston’s Fidelity should receive the label. FSOC officials haven’t explained publicly how or when decisions about asset managers will be made.
The Financial Stability Board, which brings together regulators and central bankers from the Group of 20 nations, said in January individual funds that manage more than $100 billion may be labelled too big to fail without concluding what actions should be taken.
Eleven U.S.-registered mutual funds, led by the $277 billion Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX), and one exchange-traded fund hold more than $100 billion in assets each, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.