Taking the title of Lewis Carroll’s famous sequel to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” as their overriding theme, speakers and panelists at iMoneyNet’s 19th annual Money-Market Expo - the industry’s longest-running conference - will examine the effects of money-market-fund reform on the money-fund industry and on the broader financial system. “Through the Looking Glass: Adapting to the Impacts of MMF Reform and Beyond” runs from March 8-10 at the Hilton Orlando.
The Investors’ Summit on Day 1 will focus both on the challenges and opportunities that MMF reform presents for corporate treasury professionals, who are entitled to free registrations. Tom Hunt, director of Treasury Services at the Association for Financial Professionals, co-chairs the Summit and will introduce keynote speaker Robert Pozen, a former Fidelity and MFS executive, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Pozen will help attendees focus on the path that financial reform may take in the new Trump administration, including the unlikely prospect of a full repeal of Dodd-Frank (Republicans probably won’t have the votes, Pozen explained to MFR) and the likely rollback of recent federal regulations for banks and nonbanks, such as insurance companies and pension advisers. Pozen will tell attendees that significant tax reform is high on the administration’s agenda, if only because “the current system is so counterproductive,” but that Trump-led agencies and Congress will be challenged to “reconcile big differences between Trump’s proposal to offer a low tax rate on repatriated foreign profits and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s more radical push for border adjustments.”
Alice Joe, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, will explore similar themes in her annual MMX deep-dive into the effects of presidential and congressional priorities on U.S. and international financial markets. Those priorities, she’ll tell attendees, will roil the regulatory seas.
Later presentations and panels will address other issues important to treasury professionals, including trends in corporate-investment priorities, the advantages of direct securities purchases, and the potential of using alternative non-2a-7 short-term cash-management vehicles. John Dolan of the U.S. Department of the Treasury is slated to discuss near-term plans for debt issuance – an important issue for post-reform money-fund portfolio managers and their investors, just as Congress approaches raising the federal debt limit. New to MMX will be a presentation by federal cybersecurity experts dealing with data protection and a panel of Informa Financial Intelligence analysts and strategists from iMoneyNet’s sister companies, including EPFR Global, Informa Investment Solutions and Informa Research Services. They are to focus on key changes in domestic and international financial markets since the November elections.
Considering the dramatic reallocation of money-fund assets in the run-up to last October’s reforms, the conference’s first day will be “an avenue to understanding the effects of money-fund reform, including floating NAVs, liquidity gates, and more,” Patrick Baumann, treasurer at the Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Fla., explained to MFR. Just as important, he added, “it will be an opportunity for finance professionals to share thoughts on related challenges, such as a changing yield curve, bank fund concentration, and compliance.”
Rick Holland, Head Money-Market Portfolio Strategist of Schwab Investment Management, and Brian Reynolds of New Albion Partners, co-chairs of the main conference, will introduce Day 2 keynote speaker Deborah Cunningham, executive vice president, chief investment officer and senior portfolio manager at Federated Investors. She plans to discuss market dynamics that could reverse the pre-reform flow of assets from institutional prime to government funds - a hot-button issue for portfolio managers and investors alike.
Brett Wander of Charles Schwab will remind attendees that the unexpected is what we all should expect in financial markets this year. Richard Rokus of Great Lakes Advisors will ask a panel to explore the issue of finding relative value in the post-reform MMF environment, and lawyer Stephen Cohen of Dechert LLP and an investment-division SEC staff member will assess how the market is adjusting to new MMF rules.
The afternoon schedule features the always-insightful perspective of J.P. Morgan’s Theresa Ho and an assessment of MMF reform with representatives of major ratings agencies. Reynolds will assume the role of fund-futurist and ask attendees to take a through-the-crystal ball glance at the shape, scope, and influence of the MMF industry in coming months and years.
Colleen Meehan, senior vice president and director of Municipal Money-Market Fund Strategies for BNY Mellon Cash Investment, will explore the effects of MMF reform on municipal funding markets, with an emphasis on opportunities waiting to be seized in the tax-free sector and the continued value of investing in tax-free funds.
Day 3 of MMX kicks off with a session devoted to the challenges faced by municipal issuers, featuring Randy Sherman, director of Finance and Administrative Services for Riviera Beach, Fla. The annual MMF Portfolio Manager’s Forum follows. Rokus as moderator will question participants from Northern Trust, Invesco, and Fidelity. Cameron Brandt of EPFR Global and Roger Merritt of Fitch Ratings are to review the global scope of the MMF industry and take up pending European fund reforms.
As frequent MMX attendees have come to expect, the “two Brians” - conference co-chair Brian Reynolds and Brian Yeazel of Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Co. - will conclude the conference at midday with their engaging overview of the dynamics affecting money-market securities valuations.
“Both first-time and previous MMX attendees can take advantage of the resources available to them,” co-chair Holland observed about the value of the annual conference. “The speakers and sessions promote a deep understanding of the issues affecting money-market funds, and because of the networking opportunities, many long-term and mutually beneficial relationships have begun here.”
There is still time to register for MMX 2017. The group hotel room rates are in effect until Feb. 22. Complete information about the conference - including speakers and panels, an online registration form, information about accommodations, and a list of conference sponsors and exhibitors - is available at www.imoneynet.com/conf/main/home.aspx.