Asset Managers Lobby to Avoid Antitrust Scrutiny

Asset managers are fighting a proposal from US antitrust authorities to tighten scrutiny over how these firms influence the way businesses operate and, in turn, the prices of everything from airline tickets to food, reported The Wall Street Journal.

In March, the asset-management industry pushed back on the proposed rule on a videocall with congressional staffers. Executives of Capital Group Cos., Fidelity Investments, Nuveen, and Wellington Management joined alongside others, people familiar with the matter said. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a lobbying group, organized the call.

The industry’s pitch was that filing burdens from the rules would cost investors. Some of those on the call said it would also create unnecessary delays that would make it harder for index funds to track benchmarks or for stock pickers to take opportunistic bets.

The proposed rule comes from the Federal Trade Commission. It would require investment firms to file for antitrust review any time a manager’s collective funds go above certain thresholds, in some cases this means holdings of more than 10% of a company. Right now, investment firms generally only have to alert regulators when a single fund takes a large-enough position in a company.