U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today heralded a Securities and Exchange Commission decision canceling a planned vote on imposing new burdensome regulations on money market mutual funds. The decision is the result of bipartisan opposition to the new rules, including the SEC's two Republican members and Democratic member Luis Aguilar.
"In an effort to minimize the risk of "breaking the buck,' the SEC had been contemplating a rule which could have devastating consequences for this valuable investment and borrowing vehicle," Sen. Toomey said. "Some regulators mistakenly believe that it is their responsibility to make it impossible for any money market fund to "break the buck.' But it should not be the goal of government regulators to attempt to prevent the possibility of failure of the institutions they regulate. Regulation should focus on limiting systemic risk and providing adequate disclosure to investors, while allowing individual investors to make their own choices about where to invest their money and the risk they want to assume.
"Furthermore, money market funds offer investors and borrowers a stable and highly liquid financial instrument that plays an important role in our economic system. I urge other federal regulators to follow the SEC's bipartisan lead in eschewing these proposed regulations. The SEC has overseen the regulation of money market funds for four decades, and it understands the product best."
Sen. Toomey has been at the forefront of the debate over the new regulations, joining with Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to send a bipartisan letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro urging caution in moving forward with the proposed regulations. The senator also met with SEC regulators, arguing that the money market fund industry is a stable and important financial instrument that has thrived for decades.
Money market funds play a critical role in meeting the short-term capital needs of American businesses, from small manufacturers to large corporations. When companies have temporary cash shortfalls, they often turn to short-term financing such as commercial paper to bridge the gap, and money market funds provide much of the necessary capital to fund the commercial paper market. In addition, millions of individuals rely on money market funds to invest their cash in a safe but liquid instrument. The proposed regulations would mean less borrowing, less economic growth, less investment, and ultimately fewer jobs.