WASHINGTON - Whether regulators will designate mutual funds as "systemically important financial institutions," or SIFIs, was a point of focus at the ICI's General Membership Meeting. While this move would be absolutely preposterous, it is unfortunately not outside of the realm of possibility. My hope is that regulators will heed the advice of last week's keynote speaker, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and "regulate in partnership with the sector." If regulators do engage with the industry, they will quickly discover that mutual fund companies are not like banks and other SIFIs.
As ICI President Paul Stevens noted, mutual funds are already transparent vehicles with clear regulation that feature several key distinctions from SIFIs: