The world’s multi-trillion dollar asset management industry has presented a united front to reject proposals aimed at mitigating risks in the sector, even after they were revised by regulators.
The Group of 20 economies’ (G20) task force, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), wants funds above a certain size to face closer, yet-to-be-detailed, scrutiny.
Initial FSB proposals were rejected by funds, who argued size alone was not an indicator of risk, and the fund industry has now dismissed a revised set of proposals put out to a public consultation that closed this week.
“Policymakers need to develop a better understanding of asset owners, including why asset owners allocate their assets to a certain market or asset class,” BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, said in a statement.
Regulators should focus on products and market practices, not the size of funds, BlackRock said.
The FSB said it had no comment at this stage. However, it would consider responses received from the industry in conjunction with its work on possible activity-based measures, it said.
The sector has been unusually vocal in talking down the FSB plans, arguing it did not play a role in the 2007-09 financial crisis, unlike banks.
U.S. securities trade body SIFMA said the FSB should drop its proposals and focus on the sector’s activities, like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is doing.
“This second consultation does not reflect the avalanche of empirical studies and substantive comments that highlight how asset managers and investment funds do not present systemic risk,” said Timothy Cameron, managing director and head of SIFMA’s asset management group.
BVI, the German funds association, said designating a fund as systemically important should not occur until systemic risks have been convincingly identified and existing requirements proven insufficient.
BlackRock put forward several possible measures, such as a better definition of leverage in the sector to improve supervision, further developing a “toolkit” for managing redemptions in funds, and addressing pension underfunding as people live longer.
Regulators have expressed concerns about a potential rush for the exits by investors, such as when interest rates begin rising, triggering high demand for redemptions that funds may find difficult to honor.
“It’s not how big you are, it’s what you do with it that counts,” said Richard Metcalfe, director of regulatory affairs at Britain’s Investment Association. “Where systemic risks may arise, they must be neutralized and we will be working closely with policymakers to ensure that an effective approach is adopted for our clients.”