ESMA has published the results of the 2020 Common Supervisory Action (CSA) on UCITS liquidity risk management (LRM). UCITS are characterised by the offer to investors of on-demand liquidity. Article 84(1) states that UCITS shall repurchase or redeem its units at the request of any unit-holder. If the assets held within the fund cannot be sold quickly to meet redemption requests, there could be severe issues in paying redeeming investors. This can be exacerbated in times of stress when investors may look to redeem en masse whilst the market for the assets is drying up.
This week we return to our refresher series on liquidity risk rules around the world, and in particular, the rules in the United States. With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout well underway, and the end of crisis in sight, we thought we would look back at how the volatility last year caused by COVID impacted the US market and compliance with SEC liquidity rules.
On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved 3 to 2, the 458 page derivative use rules aimed at enhancing the regulatory framework for derivatives in the U.S. The Investment Company Act limits the ability of registered funds and business development companies to engage in transactions that involve potential future payment obligations, including obligations under derivatives such as forwards, futures, swaps and written options. The new rules, which apply to mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), close-end funds, as well as business development companies, will permit funds to enter into these transactions if they comply with certain conditions outlined below, which are designed to increase investor protection.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently proposed significant modifications to the mutual fund and exchange-traded fund disclosure framework. The proposed disclosure framework would feature concise and visually engaging shareholder reports that would highlight information that is particularly important for retail investors to assess and monitor their fund investments.
Last week we took a brief look at the liquidity risk management regime in Hong Kong. This week, moving slightly southwest, and staying in the same continent, we review the liquidity risk requirements in Singapore. In 2018, the same year Hong Kong made amendments to its Fund Manager Code of Conduct, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued new Guidelines on Liquidity Risk Management Practices for Fund Management Companies (Guidelines).
Firms must have appropriate systems, controls and governance to oversee and manage liquidity risk. With the New Year well and truly underway, regulators across the globe have started publishing their priorities for the year ahead. Unsurprisingly, liquidity risk appears to be high up on most of their agendas
Fund liquidity, like a mirage in the desert, can disappear in an instant if not monitored and managed correctly. Events throughout this year have brought fund liquidity to the forefront – as we approach the end of 2019, it is clear we haven’t seen the last of liquidity risk in the headlines.