The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to push through a plan that would aim to prevent another run on money market funds, The Washington Post reports. This comes as a response to the events of 2008, when a major money market fund fell below $1 a share, something which has occurred only three times prior, and prompted a panic.
Money-funds had the perception of being as stable as savings accounts by investors, but the 2008 panic saw withdrawals of “$300 billion” in a week of September until the government promised that they would repay losses.
The SEC has proposed options that would target institutional prime funds because they had the largest rates of withdrawal. One option would be to allow these prime fund shares to float. Another option would be “to temporarily block withdrawals and impose fees on investors during times of crisis,” writes The Washington Post.
Some have criticized the plan, which could possibly come in to effect this year. Sheila Bair, the current chair of the Systemic Risk Council, has said that she is “concerned that it falls short of what is necessary to protect taxpayers, mutual fund investors, and the stability of the financial system.”
Some of the SEC commissioners had concerns over the floating share proposal. One of which, Republican Troy Paredes, has said that he felt that allowing floating share values were “not justified on a cost-benefit basis.”