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UK regulator orders investment funds to manage liquidity better

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Some asset managers face sanctions for failing to manage liquidity properly, posing risks to market stability and investors’ ability to withdraw money, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Thursday.

The suspension of property funds in Britain and difficulties faced by liability-driven investment funds last September have thrown a spotlight on the ability of asset managers to drum up enough cash to meet investor redemptions or collateral calls.

The watchdog said its review of asset managers found that while some firms showed very high standards, most fell short in some aspects of liquidity management, with a minority having inadequate frameworks to manage liquidity risks.

“As things stand, gaps observed in liquidity management could lead to a risk of investor harm,” the FCA said in a statement.

The watchdog had already asked firms to review their liquidity arrangements back in 2019, and boards of asset managers should study the findings of the review, the FCA said.

“It’s vital the outliers take quick action. They risk regulatory intervention if they don’t take this opportunity to address weaknesses,” it added.

Asset managers should also perform liquidity stress testing diligently, and use liquidity management tools appropriately, it said.

Some funds have struggled in stressed markets to meet their promise of daily redemptions, with global regulators on Wednesday proposing a new system of categorising open ended funds to end daily redemption promises that cannot be met.

“It is important that fund redemptions operate in line with funds’ terms and the way in which they are marketed,” the FCA said.

Additionally, investors should be able to redeem at an accurate price that reflects the value of their investment, ensuring fairness for both remaining and redeeming investors in the fund,” the FCA added.


(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)


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