April 25, 2014

Most Savers Like Money-Market Funds as They Are Now

Hester Peirce

Former Senior Research Fellow
Summary

A floating net asset value does nothing to ease the difficult task of valuing underlying securities and would not have stemmed the tide of redemptions from funds that held troubled paper. Allowing fund boards to temporarily halt redemptions without the condition of liquidation (as is currently mandated by existing SEC rules) would be more effective at stopping runs than a change in pricing conventions.

Contact us
To speak with a scholar or learn more on this topic, visit our contact page.

Your editorial continues the practice of criticizing as antitaxpayer anyone who would suggest money-market-fund reforms other than switching from a fixed to a floating net asset value. As you point out, the 2008 taxpayer-backed insurance program for money funds must not be repeated, but the crisis was more complicated than you portray. Retail investors didn't run, and institutional investors didn't run indiscriminately; rather, they selectively pulled their money out of funds that they believed had invested in risky securities, such as the commercial paper of troubled financial institutions.

A floating net asset value does nothing to ease the difficult task of valuing underlying securities and would not have stemmed the tide of redemptions from funds that held troubled paper. Allowing fund boards to temporarily halt redemptions without the condition of liquidation (as is currently mandated by existing SEC rules) would be more effective at stopping runs than a change in pricing conventions.