Regulators remain worried about hard-to-sell assets held by high-yield bond funds as they probe whether the failure of the Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund could be repeated, a top U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission official said.
The SEC plans to release findings from a sweep of high-yield credit funds that followed the collapse of the Third Avenue Capital Management LLC fund, said Marc Wyatt, head of the regulator’s office of compliance inspections and examinations.
“There is ongoing concern,” Wyatt said Saturday after speaking on a panel at the SEC Speaks conference in Washington.
The SEC began reviewing about 70 funds in December after the $788.5 million Third Avenue fund blocked clients from getting their money out, another top SEC examiner, Jane Jarcho, said at the conference. Losses and withdrawals left Third Avenue unable to meet redemptions without selling assets at fire-sale prices.
SEC examiners sent letters to funds that invest in similar securities to the Third Avenue fund, ordering them to explain how their bonds could be sold as quickly as they say.
SEC staff members said during the panel that they are also scrutinizing bank-loan funds and exchange-traded funds. Most of the exams are “at the end stage,” Jarcho said.
The SEC in September proposed new rules that would require funds to maintain a minimum cushion of cash or cash-like investments that can be sold within three days, and asked funds to classify how many days it would take to sell each asset they own.