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August 12, 2013

Money Funds Embrace a Rule They Shunned

An unexpected ally is emerging in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s effort to force money-market mutual funds to abandon their signature $1 share price: banks and other money-fund sponsors that previously opposed or were wary of such a change.

“In a significant turnabout, officials at some of the largest money-fund sponsors, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., say they can get behind a key plank of the SEC’s plan requiring the riskiest money funds held by large institutional investors to abandon their stable $1 share price and float in value like other mutual funds.

Behind the shift is an acknowledgment that the SEC, after months of delay, is prepared to force changes on the $2.6 trillion industry and that money funds will fare better with a floating share price than the alternatives under discussion. The floating share-price plan also is more palatable than earlier plans under discussion since it applies to just 35% of the industry. A proposal championed by former SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro last year would have required the entire industry to float their shares or post banklike capital.

Clients for some money managers say a floating share price is more palatable than restrictions on fund redemptions, which was among the options proposed by the SEC.

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Read full Wall Street Journal article here

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