【英语财经】美联储考虑收取债券基金“退出费” Fed fears over bond fund run

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2014-6-17 13:23

小艾摘要: Federal Reserve officials have discussed imposing exit fees on bond funds to avert a run by investors, underlining regulators’ concerns about the vulnerability of the $10tn market.Officials fear that ...
Fed fears over bond fund run
Federal Reserve officials have discussed imposing exit fees on bond funds to avert a run by investors, underlining regulators’ concerns about the vulnerability of the $10tn market.

Officials fear that bond funds are becoming “shadow banks”, because investors can withdraw their money on demand, even though the assets held by the funds can be hard to sell in a crisis. The Fed discussions have taken place at a senior level but have not yet developed into formal policy, according to people familiar with the matter.

“So much activity in open-end corporate bond and loan funds is a little bit bank-like,” Jeremy Stein, a Fed governor from 2012-14 told the Financial Times last month, just before he stepped down. “It may be the essence of shadow banking is?.?.?.?giving people a liquid claim on illiquid assets.”

After the financial crisis, tougher rules and the abolition of in-house trading operations at major US banks have resulted in Wall Street’s pulling back from helping big funds buy and sell corporate bonds. Bank inventories of bonds have fallen almost three-quarters from their pre-crisis peak of $235bn, according to Fed data.

At the same time, US retail investors have pumped more than $1tn into bond funds since early 2009. This has created a boom for fixed-income money managers, but raises the prospect of a massive disorganised flight of money should interest rates rise sharply.

Exit fees would seek to discourage retail investors from withdrawing funds, thereby making their claims less liquid and making a fire sale of the assets more unlikely.

Introducing exit fees would require a rule change by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which some commissioners would be expected to resist, according to others familiar with the matter.

Fees could be highly unpopular with retail investors unable to access funds without paying. But some in the industry would welcome them. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has called for global rules setting fees on some funds.

Even as regulators worry about the potential of a sharp correction in the bond market, some investors are building a war chest to take advantage of it. BlueMountain Capital, the New York-based alternative asset manager, has stockpiled funds it calls “patient capital”, ready to be deployed when bond prices fall.

“If we see something like this happening and our best guess is it will stabilise 10 points down, we’ll wait,” said Andrew Feldstein, co-founder and chief executive of BlueMountain.

Additional reporting by Gina Chon in Washington

美联储(Fed)官员讨论对退出债券基金收取“退出费”,以免投资者大举赎回。这件事突显出,监管人士对这个规模达10万亿美元市场的脆弱性感到担忧。

官员们担心,债券基金正变成“影子银行”,因为投资者可随时撤出资金,尽管这些基金持有的资产在发生危机时可能很难出售。知情人士称,美联储高层已讨论过这个问题,但尚未形成正式的政策。

“开放式企业债和贷款基金的很多活动与银行有些类似,”2012年至2014年任美联储理事的杰里米?斯坦(Jeremy Stein)上月在卸任前向英国《金融时报》表示,“这种实质上的影子银行可能……正在赋予人们对非流动性资产进行流动性求偿的权利。”

在本次金融危机之后,更严格的监管规定以及美国大银行废除内部交易业务的举措,导致华尔街逐步退出帮助大型基金买卖企业债的业务。美联储数据显示,银行的债券存量已较危机前2350亿美元的峰值水平缩减了近四分之三。

另一方面,自2009年初以来,美国散户投资者向债券基金注入了逾1万亿美元资金。这为固定收益基金管理机构带来了一场“盛宴”,但同时也引发了一种可能性:一旦利率大幅上升,资金将大规模无序撤离。

“退出费”旨在阻止散户投资者撤资,从而降低他们求偿权的流动性及折价甩卖资产的可能性。

出台“退出费”需要美国证交会(SEC)修改规定,另一些知情人士称,预计SEC的一些委员将会对此表示反对。

对散户投资者来说,“退出费”可能是极其不得人心的,因为他们不付费就无法撤出资金。但行业内的一些机构会对“退出费”表示欢迎。世界最大资产管理公司贝莱德(BlackRock)已呼吁制定全球性的规定,对一些基金收取“退出费”。

就在监管人士担心债市可能出现大幅调整之际,一些投资者正在筹措专款利用这一契机。总部位于纽约的另类资产管理公司蓝山资本(BlueMountain Capital)囤积了其所谓的“耐心资本”,准备在债券价格下跌时入场。

蓝山资本联席创始人兼首席执行官安德鲁?费尔德斯坦(Andrew Feldstein)表示:“如果这种情况出现,我们预期价格下跌10个点后会企稳,那么我们会等待这一刻的到来。”

Gina Chon华盛顿补充报道

译者/梁艳裳

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