Blass Suggests Virtual Meetings Relief Could Become Permanent

In a recent speech, IM Division Director Dalia Blass noted the SEC’s accomplishments of 2020 so far while acknowledging the industry challenges brought by the global pandemic. Blass said she has been asked whether significant policy changes should be considered, particularly with regard to money market funds, liquidity, and operational risk, in light of market events after the pandemic struck. Blass remarked that while it may be premature to draw conclusions about policy changes, she was open to engaging in data-driven dialogue with industry participants on these policy considerations. Blass focused on the fund liquidity rule and solicited feedback on how the rule operated during recent periods of heightened redemptions, net outflows in mutual funds and unprecedented inflows to government money funds. She invited feedback on topics such as portfolio stress testing and the usefulness of fund liquidity classifications to risk and compliance officers. Blass also said the feedback she has received on fund board virtual meetings has been largely positive and that a number of groups have expressed interest in extending the relief permanently. She said making the in-person meeting relief permanent  “makes good sense”  and raised several questions for industry participants, including what limitations, or conditions, should be considered in permitting fund boards to meet virtually on a permanent basis.