SEC Reaches Out to Public Funds with Investments in Russia

SEC Reaches Out to Public Funds with Investments in Russia Avov/Wikimedia

The Securities and Exchange Commission has contacted public funds with investments in Russia to ensure they have proper systems in place to manage risks and disclose holdings to investors as tensions over Crimea continue to build, Reuters reports.

Those familiar with the matter told Reuters that attorneys from the SEC’s Division of Investment Management have been in contact with registered investment companies such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds as part of a routine system of asset management, and not because of any particular investigation.

Russian stocks have been volatile since March 3 when Russian forces seized key areas in Crimea. So far in 2014, they are down 12.3 percent, Reuters reports.

The SEC is keen to make sure that public funds are being open with investors about the potential effects that different scenarios could have on their investments and are preparing appropriate responses to a range of possible outcomes. The agency has been particularly eager to contact those funds with at least 10 percent exposure to Russian stocks.

According to the sources in contact with Reuters, the SEC began contacting the funds well in advance of White House spokesman Jay Carney’s warning to American investors in his news briefing on Tuesday, in which he pointed out that sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union could cause stocks to lose value.

“The long-term effect of actions taken by the Russian government, in clear violation of the United Nations charter, in clear violation of its treaty commitments that are destabilizing and illegal, will have an impact on their economy all by themselves,” Carney said. “They will also incur costs because of the sanctions that we and the EU have imposed, and there will be more actions taken under the authorities that exist with the two executive orders that the President has signed. So I wouldn’t, if I were you, invest in Russian equities right now — unless you’re going short.”