SEC Checks Up on US Public Funds with Russian Exposure
SEC checks up on US public funds with Russian exposureReuters

The Securities and Exchange Commission has followed in Britain's footsteps, checking up on the biggest US financials in relation to their exposure to Russian assets and how this could affect investors.

The SEC calls registered investment companies which hold public money routinely, and would be prompted to in the event of an international political crisis.

According to sources, cited by Reuters, the SEC has contacted mutual funds and exchange-traded funds over their levels of Russian exposure after these stocks became extremely volatile during the week 3 March.

During the last week of February, ousted Ukrainian President Yanukovich fled the country, hours after opposition groups vowed to march on the president's office with deadly weapons, despite an interim truce.

On the same day, arch-rival Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison.

From 28 February to 14 March, Russian equities plunged 14% and are down over 12% in 2014.

US Funds with 10% Exposure to Russian Stocks

ING Russian Fund

T Rowe Price Emerging Europe Fund

Fidelity Emerging Europe Middle East Africa Fund

Goldman Sachs BRIC Fund

Templeton BRIC Fund

Source: Lipper

Much like the UK watchdog's bank information request, the contact is not part of an investigation, nor is it the regulator telling companies how they should invest their money.

When a regulator inquires about this sort of information, it is to just ensure that firms fully understand their exposure and risks, and are not omitting or misrepresenting information relevant to the marketplace.

During 3 March week, Britain's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) confirmed to IBTimes UK that it sent a rare information request to banks about their exposure to the Ukraine and Russian markets, in the immediate aftermath of deposed Ukrainian president Yanukovych fleeing the country.

A BoE spokesperson said: "You'll be aware of the developing and ongoing situation in the Ukraine and Russia – we asked them to consider the implications for their business and report those to us."

According to the Bank for International Settlements, foreign banks have a total of €133bn (£111bn, $184.5bn) outstanding exposure to Russia and €10.7bn of exposure to Ukraine.