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FSB proposals ‘positive’ for asset managers, investors, says Moody’s

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Long-term investors and large asset managers will benefit from rule changes proposed by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), despite their cost, according to Moody’s.

The credit rating agency said the recommendations, made last week following a lengthy consultation period, would enhance risk management, transparency and resilience for asset managers and their clients.

The FSB proposed that national regulators should monitor more closely the liquidity and leverage of open-ended funds and called for new, standardised methods of reporting both aspects.

Marina Cremonese, senior analyst at Moody’s, and Vanessa Robert, senior credit officer, said in a research note: “Although the recommendations will increase costs, large asset managers … are better positioned to absorb them. However, ultimately, all players should benefit from a safer investment fund industry that continues to generate strong margins with less volatility.”

Much of the recommendations from the FSB were “an extension of large asset managers’ existing risk management capabilities”, Cremonese and Robert said.

Any increase in cost would be “mild”, they added, with some being passed on to investors.

The pair added that the FSB changes would increase the security and credit quality of the largest asset managers: “Over time, the benefits of implementing these type of policy changes should increase earnings stability and lower reputational risk, a key element in assessing the creditworthiness of asset managers.”

The post-crisis rise in appetite for alternative investments such as private debt and infrastructure, areas traditionally dominated by investment banks, led the FSB to recommend restrictions on illiquid assets held within open-ended funds.

Investors in these funds are typically able to trade on a daily basis, but this can lead to problems at times of market stress.

Last year, several open-ended UK property funds were forced to suspend redemptions because investor withdrawals exhausted their cash reserves.

The FSB recommended the introduction of redemption fees and other measures “to reduce the incentive to sell during periods of market stresses”.

Such a move would be “positive” for long-term investors, Moody’s said.

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