Exclusive: SEC contacted investment companies with Russian exposure - sources

Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:43pm EDT
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By Sarah N. Lynch

Washington (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators contacted public funds with investments in Russia to make sure they are properly managing risks and disclosing their holdings to investors as political tensions rose over Crimea, according to several people familiar with the matter.

Attorneys with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission started to place calls to registered investment companies such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds more than a week ago, the sources said.

The calls are a routine part of how the SEC monitors asset managers through its Division of Investment Management, and are not related to any investigation.

But they come during a period of turbulence for Russian stocks, which have been volatile since March 3 when mounting tensions with Ukraine over the Crimean Peninsula sent Russia's benchmark stock index tumbling 12 percent.

Russian stocks fell 14 percent between February 28 and March 14, but have recovered 6.6 percent this week.

They are now down 12.3 percent so far in 2014.

The ruble hit a two-week high on Wednesday after dropping to record lows on Monday.

The people familiar with the calls say SEC lawyers are not trying to tell funds how to invest, advice which would not be in the SEC's mission.   Continued...

A man walks past a doorway at the Fort Worth Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Fort Worth, Texas June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone