SEC Increases Scrutiny of Mutual Funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is ramping up its efforts to maintain liquidity in the markets, after the publication of its annual report on exam priorities for 2016. It said it would require investment funds and advisers to make significant improvements in their risk management practices. Specific areas to address would be liquidity risk management, stress testing, the use of derivatives and transition planning. Mutual funds, investment advisers, exchange-traded funds and other registered investment companies may also be required to enhance their data reporting. Last year, the SEC focused on ensuring retail investors were adequately informed about the risks of investing in more exotic mutual funds. Recently, the SEC investigated the failure of $788.5 million Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund, which blocked clients from getting to their money because the fund couldn’t meet redemptions without selling holdings at steep discounts. Other priorities include advancing a new set of rules for improving equity market structure, develop potential rules for enhanced pre-trade transparency in the fixed income markets, working toward a stronger financial responsibility framework for broker-dealers and developing a uniform fiduciary duty for investment advisers and broker-dealers.

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