Global watchdog presses ahead on money market funds

LONDON Tue Oct 9, 2012 8:23am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - A global supervisory body for securities has published its final recommendations for new rules for the $4.7 trillion money market fund sector despite opposition from its U.S. member.

The recommendations were called for by leaders of the world's top economies (G20) a year ago as part of efforts to crack down on "shadow banks" that also include hedge funds, special investment vehicles and repurchase agreements.

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) said the recommendations - which the body's regulatory members such as Britain's Financial Services Authority will apply locally - cover valuations, liquidity management, use of ratings and disclosures to investors.

"Although money market funds, which provide a significant source of credit and liquidity, did not cause the crisis, their performance during the 2007/08 financial turmoil highlighted their potential to spread or even amplify a crisis," IOSCO said in a statement.

Some regulators worry that as traditional banks become more heavily regulated, risky credit activities will shift to shadow banks which are currently less regulated.

IOSCO's 15 recommendations supplement reforms already introduced in the United States and Europe in 2010. It will review within two years how they are being applied.

The industry says money market funds are safe and don't need more rules.

Most of the commissioners from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), an IOSCO member, opposed the publication of the global watchdog's recommendations.

In August, the SEC commissioners blocked U.S. proposals to introduce more rules for the money market funds sector on top of those already implemented in the United States in 2010.

IOSCO said that apart from U.S. opposition, there were no other objections to it publishing the recommendations on Tuesday.

The watchdog's members, who also include Bafin of Germany and Japan's Financial Services Agency, regulate more than 95 percent of the world's securities markets and are required to implement agreed rules.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Laurence Fletcher and David Holmes)