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The purpose of this report is to present the findings of the survey on liquidity management tools conducted by IOSCO Committee 5 members. The survey was designed to look into existing liquidity management frameworks in member jurisdictions with a particular focus on tools to help deal with exceptional situations (e.g., significant redemption pressure). It covered topics such as tool availability, use, outcomes, as well as who has the right to activate such tools. Twenty-seven members responded.
Many liquidity management tools are available to jurisdictions, some of which are specifically tailored to the features and nature of the funds considered (e.g., money market funds, real estate funds, hedge funds). In particular, most jurisdictions clearly distinguish open-ended schemes from closed-ended ones.
The most common tools are: redemptions fees; redemptions gates; redemptions in kind; side pockets; and suspension of redemptions. Suspension of redemptions is available in all responding jurisdictions, with the power to activate, in exceptional circumstances, in both the hands of the fund/asset manager and regulator.
Regulatory definitions of liquidity or liquid instruments are varied, ranging from no formal definition to quite granular specifications, including lists of asset classes considered to be “liquid” in nature. Where definitions exist they tend to be more principles-based rather than prescriptive in nature.
Beyond the overarching principle that managers should ensure investors can redeem at the frequency set in the funds’ constituting documents, funds are generally required to have appropriate risk management and internal quality controls to ensure that all material risks are properly identified, assessed, monitored and controlled.
Open-ended funds are generally subject to additional regulatory requirements dealing with fund leverage, asset concentration, investor concentration, restrictions on illiquid asset investment and short-term borrowings.
The existence of liquidity management tools are generally communicated upfront in fund disclosure documents, with the responsibility to activate tools in the hands of the funds (be it manager/operator or trustee).
The use of liquidity management tools does not need approval from the responsible regulator, generally. However, regulatory guidance on the circumstance under which tools may be used is provided in many jurisdictions. This is particularly true for the activation of suspension of redemptions.
Historically, many of the liquidity management tools outlined in the report have been activated within individual jurisdictions, with the recent financial crisis being a particularly rich source of recent case studies. In terms of the impact of such tools activations, it should be noted that the impact may significantly vary depending on whether it results from a market-wide event (e.g., 2008 crisis) or from a problem experienced at the fund level. In the large majority of cases, these tools have been used without causing any broader effect beyond the fund(s) involved.