The SEC posted the full text of its Final "Money Market Fund Reform" Rules late Tuesday afternoon. The summary says, "The Securities and Exchange Commission is adopting amendments to certain rules that govern money market funds under the Investment Company Act of 1940. The amendments will tighten the risk-limiting conditions of rule 2a-7 by, among other things, requiring funds to maintain a portion of their portfolios in instruments that can be readily converted to cash, reducing the maximum weighted average maturity of portfolio holdings, and improving the quality of portfolio securities; require money market funds to report their portfolio holdings monthly to the Commission; and permit a money market fund that has 'broken the buck', or is at imminent risk of breaking the buck, to suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets. The amendments are designed to make money market funds more resilient to certain short-term market risks, and to provide greater protections for investors in a money market fund that is unable to maintain a stable net asset value per share."

The Release No. IC-29132 says under "Dates," "The rules, rule amendments, and form are effective May 5, 2010.... The "Compliance Dates section of the release (p. 101) says, "The amendments to rules 2a-7, 17a-9 and 30b1-6T, and new rules 22e-3 and 30b1-7, and new Form N-MFP become effective May 5, 2010. Unless otherwise discussed below or in this Release, the compliance date is the date of effectiveness.... Except as indicated below, the compliance date for amendments to rule 2a-7 related to portfolio quality, maturity, liquidity, and repurchase agreements, is May 28, 2010. Funds are not required to dispose of portfolio securities owned, or terminate repurchase agreements entered into, as of the time of adoption of the amendments to comply with the requirements of the rule as amended. Fund portfolios must meet the new maximum WAM and WAL limits by June 30, 2010." NRSRO disclosure is Dec. 31, 2010; public website disclosure is Oct. 7, 2010; and non-$1 processing is due by Oct. 31, 2011.

The new Money Market Fund Reform rules say, "The severity of the problems experienced by money market funds during 2007 and 2008 prompted us to review our regulation of money market funds. We sought to better understand how we might revise rule 2a-7 to reduce the susceptibility of money market funds to runs and reduce the consequences of a run on fund shareholders. Our staff consulted extensively with staff from other members of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets. We talked to many market participants, and reviewed a report from a 'Money Market Fund Working Group' assembled by the Investment Company Institute, which recommended a number of changes. Our June 2009 proposals were the product of that review and were, we explained, a first step to addressing regulatory concerns we identified."

The SEC continues, "We received approximately 120 comments on the rule, including approximately 45 comments from investment companies and their representatives, 22 from debt security issuers, and 30 from individuals, including investors and academics. The comment letters reflected a wide variety of views on most of the topics discussed in the Proposing Release. The investment companies generally supported those aspects of the proposal that were similar to those recommended in the ICI Report. Most of them strongly objected to changes that would affect the stable net asset value that today is the principal characteristic of a money market fund.... Many fund commenters pointed to the historical stability of funds and urged us to be modest in our changes to rule 2a-7. Some others, however, pointed to the near-cataclysmic events of September 2008 in supporting more substantial changes."

The release's introduction says, "As we stated in the Proposing Release, we recognize that the events of 2007-2008 raise the question of whether further changes to the regulatory structure governing money market funds may be warranted. Accordingly, in the Proposing Release we requested comment on additional, more fundamental regulatory changes, some of which we recognized could transform the business and regulatory model on which money market funds have been operating for more than 30 years. For example, we requested comment on whether money market funds should move to the 'floating net asset value' used by other open-end investment companies.... We have continued to explore possible more significant changes to the regulation of money market funds in light of these comments and through the staff's work with members of the President's Working Group. We expect to issue a release addressing these issues and proposing further reform to money market fund regulation."

Finally, the SEC's "Discussion" says, "Today we are adopting the amendments we proposed last June to the rules governing money market funds, with several changes made in response to the comments we received. As described below in more detail, we believe these amendments will make money market funds more resilient and less likely to break the buck. They will further limit the risks money market funds may assume by, among other things, requiring them to increase the credit quality of fund portfolios and to reduce the maximum weighted average maturity of their portfolios, and by requiring for the first time that all money market funds maintain liquidity buffers that will help them withstand sudden demands for redemptions. The rule amendments require fund managers to stress test their portfolios against potential economic shocks such as sudden increases in interest rates, heavy redemptions, and potential defaults."

It continues, "They provide investors with more timely, relevant information about fund portfolios to hold fund managers more accountable for the risks they take. They will improve our ability to oversee money market funds. And finally, they provide a means to wind down the operations of a fund that does break the buck or suffers a run, in an orderly way that is fair to the fund's investors and reduces the risk of market losses that could spread to other funds. We believe that these reforms collectively will better protect money market fund investors in times of financial market turmoil and lessen the possibility that the money market fund industry will not be able to withstand stresses similar to those experienced in 2007-08. Thus, we believe that each of the rules and rule amendments we are adopting is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the policies and purposes of the Investment Company Act."

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