February 1, 2018 / 3:32 AM / 9 months ago

Ant Financial's money market fund imposes temporary caps for Lunar New Year

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Ant Financial’s money market fund will place a temporary daily cap on subscription volumes ahead of an expected surge in inflows during the Chinese Lunar New Year, as calls grow for tighter regulations of these funds to prevent systemic risks.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Ant Financial is displayed at an event of the company in Hong Kong, China November 1, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

The restrictions by Yu’e Bao - the world’s largest money market fund - will be in place from Feb. 1 through Mar. 15, Ant Financial said in a statement, adding that the caps would be “dynamically managed according to the volume of subscriptions and redemptions and other market conditions.”

Ant Financial said the caps were “voluntarily announced” by Tianhong Asset Management Co., Ltd., which manages the fund.

In December, Ant Financial imposed a cap on the daily amount users can invest at 20,000 yuan ($3,176.62). Earlier in the year, it had set a total investment cap of 250,000 yuan per person for the fund.

Ant Financial is the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Established in 2013, Yu’e Bao is integrated with Ant Financial’s payment app Alipay.

The latest restrictions come as members of the National Institution for Finance and Development (NIFD) called for tighter regulation of money market funds in a commentary published Thursday.

“Against the current background of risk prevention and deleveraging, not putting money market funds into the framework of macro-prudential management could create space for regulatory arbitrage, may weaken the effectiveness of deleveraging policy and could cause market distortions,” Zeng Gang and Luan Xi of the NIFD’s Banking Research Institute said in the 21st Century Business Herald.

($1 = 6.2960 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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