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The Investment Company Institute released its latest monthly "Trends in Mutual Fund Investing" reports yesterday. Their numbers confirm a jump in money fund assets in December, following a jump in November and a dip in October. ICI's "December 2017 - Trends" shows a $51.8 billion increase in money market fund assets in December to $2.847 trillion. This follows a $57.9 billion increase in November, a $8.8 billion decrease in October, a $28.8 billion increase in Sept., a $71.8 billion increase in August, and a $13.6 billion increase in July. In the 12 months through December 31, money fund assets have increased by $119.2 billion, or 4.4%. We review ICI's latest reports below, and we also quote from a filing for a new money market fund, Semper U.S. Treasury Money Fund.

ICI's monthly report states, "The combined assets of the nation's mutual funds increased by $149.60 billion, or 0.8 percent, to $18.75 trillion in December, according to the Investment Company Institute’s official survey of the mutual fund industry. In the survey, mutual fund companies report actual assets, sales, and redemptions to ICI."

It explains, "Bond funds had an inflow of $13.40 billion in December, compared with an inflow of $14.97 billion in November…. Money market funds had an inflow of $49.40 billion in December, compared with an inflow of $55.44 billion in November. In December funds offered primarily to institutions had an inflow of $33.80 billion and funds offered primarily to individuals had an inflow of $15.59 billion."

The latest "Trends" shows that both Taxable and Tax Exempt MMFs gained assets again last month. Taxable MMFs increased by $49.3 billion in December, after increasing by $57.4 billion in November and decreasing $9.4 billion in October, but increasing $30.1 billion in September, $73.5 billion in August and $11.9 billion in July. Tax-Exempt MMFs increased $2.5 billion in December, after increasing $0.5 billion in November and $0.9 billion in October, but decreasing $1.3 billion in September and $1.7 billion in August. Over the past year through 12/31/17, Taxable MMF assets increased by $118.3 billion (4.6%) while Tax-Exempt funds rose by $0.8 billion over the past year (0.6%).

Money funds now represent 15.2% (up from 15.0% the previous month) of all mutual fund assets, while bond funds represent 21.7%, according to ICI. The total number of money market funds decreased by 9 to 382 in December, down from 421 a year ago. (Taxable money funds fell by 9 to 299 and Tax-exempt money funds were unchanged over the last month.)

ICI also released its latest "Month-End Portfolio Holdings of Taxable Money Funds," which confirmed a surge in Repo and a sharp drop in CDs in December. Repo remained the largest portfolio segment; it was up $51.9 billion, or 5.7%, to $956.4 billion or 35.2% of holdings. Repo has increased by $156.2 billion over the past 12 months, or 19.5%. (See our Jan. 11 News, "Jan. Money Fund Portfolio Holdings: Repo Jumps, Breaks 1.0 Trillion.")

Treasury Bills & Securities remained in second place among composition segments; they rose by $354 million, or 0.1%, to $702.2 billion, or 25.9% of holdings. Treasury holdings have fallen by $94.1 billion, or -11.8%, over the past year. U.S. Government Agency Securities remained in third place; they rose by $6.0 billion, or 0.9%, to $682.5 billion, or 25.1% of holdings. Agency holdings have risen by $4.7 billion, or 0.7%, over the past 12 months.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) stood in fourth place; they decreased $35.5 billion, or -16.3%, to $182.4 billion (6.7% of assets). CDs held by money funds have risen by $34.6 billion, or 23.4%, over 12 months. Commercial Paper remained in fifth place, increasing $1.9B, or 1.3%, to $148.2 billion (5.5% of assets). CP has increased by $44.4 billion, or 42.7%, over one year. Notes (including Corporate and Bank) were down by $404 million, or -5.2%, to $7.4 billion (0.3% of assets), and Other holdings increased to $15.0 billion.

The Number of Accounts Outstanding in ICI's series for taxable money funds increased by 306.4 thousand to 26.885 million, while the Number of Funds declined by 9 to 299. Over the past 12 months, the number of accounts rose by 1.650 million and the number of funds decreased by 12. The Average Maturity of Portfolios was 32 days in December, up 2 days from November. Over the past 12 months, WAMs of Taxable money funds have shortened by 12 days.

In other news, a filing for the new Semper U.S. Treasury Money Fund tells us, "The Semper U.S. Treasury Money Market Fund (the “Fund”) seeks to provide current income while maintaining liquidity and a stable share price of $1.00." Run by Semper Capital Management, the fund will have an expense ratio of 0.30% (after a 0.12% waiver).

It adds, "The Semper U.S. Treasury Money Market Fund (the "Fund") is a series of Forum Funds II (the "Trust"), an open-end, management investment company (mutual fund).... The Advisor receives an advisory fee from the Fund at an annual rate equal to 0.20% of the Fund's average annual daily net assets under the terms of the Advisory Agreement.... Thomas Mandel, CFA, has been the portfolio manager of the Fund since its inception in 2018 and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund."

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Crane Web Access News

Sep 15
 

It's been 20 months since Crane Data has hosted a live conference. But that will change next week in Philadelphia, when our Money Fund Symposium conference takes place live, Sept. 21-23. We look forward to seeing many of you at The Loews Philadelphia! We expect virtually all of our attendees to be vaccinated, and we'll of course adhere to whatever health policies the hotel and city have in place. Crane's Money Fund Symposium will take place September 21-23, 2021 at The Loews Hotel, in Philadelphia, Pa. The latest agenda is available and registrations are still being taken. Money Fund Symposium attracts money fund managers, marketers and servicers, cash investors, money market securities dealers, issuers, and regulators. Visit the MF Symposium website at www.moneyfundsymposium.com) for more details. Registration is $750, and hotel reservations are still available. Full refunds will be given for any cancels for any reason, and thanks to our sponsors for their support ... and patience! We hope you'll still join us in Philadelphia next week! (The show will be recorded for those that can't make it, and recordings will be available to Crane Data subscribers the week after the show.) We'd like to encourage attendees, speakers and sponsors not to wait for the last minute to register and make hotel reservations, but we of course understand if you want to wait to monitor conditions. E-mail us at info@cranedata.com to request the full brochure or give us a call if you'd like to discuss the latest attendee list and conditions. Also, register for our virtual (and free) "European Money Fund Symposium, which is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2021, from `9:30am-12:00pm Eastern. (We cancelled our live European MFS in Paris, and have rescheduled this live event to Sept. 27-28, 2022.) Our virtual EMFS session will include a "Welcome to European MF Symposium" from Peter Crane; a "European MMF Update: Ireland, France, UK" with Vanessa Robert of Moody's, Alastair Sewell of Fitch Ratings and Andrew Paranthoiene of S&P Global Ratings; "Regulatory ESG & Ultra-Short Issues" with Patrick Rooney of Irish Funds, James Vincent of Goldman Sachs Asset Mgmt. and Rob Sabatino of UBS Asset Management; and "Senior Portfolio Manager Perspectives," with Deborah Cunningham of Federated Hermes, Joe McConnell of J.P. Morgan Asset Mgmt and Paul Mueller of Invesco. Finally, mark your calendars for our next Money Fund University which is scheduled for Jan. 20-21, 2022, in Boston, Mass and our next Bond Fund Symposium, which is scheduled for Mar. 28-29, 2022 in Newport Beach, California. Let us know if you'd like more details on any of our events, and we hope to see you in Philadelphia in September or in Boston or Newport Beach in 2022!

Sep 08
 

The September issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent to subscribers Wednesday morning, features the articles: "FSB Comment Letters Show Consensus on Reforms Close," which discusses the latest feedback on reforms; "BlackRock's Beccy Milchem Talks European MMF Issues," which profiles the new Head of EMEA Cash; and, "More D&I Share Classes on the Way, But ESG Takes Hit," which recaps the latest news on diversity MMFs. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Wednesday a.m., and have updated our Money Fund Wisdom database query system with 8/31/21 data. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our September Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Friday, Sept. 10, and our September Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out next Wednesday, Sept. 15.

MFI's lead article says, "Discussions continue to heat up and evolve over changing regulations governing money market funds, both in the U.S. and globally. The latest chapter in the saga is the posting of comment letters in response to the Financial Stability Board's 'Policy proposals to enhance money market fund resilience: Consultation Report.' Forty letters were posted in response and we've been quoting and summarizing from them since the August 12 deadline for comments passed. We review the latest highlights below."

It continues, "The Wall Street Journal discusses the pending money fund reforms in its article, 'Firms Wary as Money-Market Rule Changes Studied After Covid-19 Run.' They tell us, 'Investment managers are fighting for the future of money-market funds.... [F]inancial regulators are weighing rule changes designed to ensure that these funds fare better in the next crisis."

Our "BlackRock's Milchem" piece reads, "This month, MFI interviews Rebecca Milchem, BlackRock's new Head of Cash for EMEA. BlackRock is the 2nd largest manager of money funds worldwide and the largest manager of Euro and Sterling MMFs. We discuss the latest regulatory discussions, European vs. U.S. issues, and a number of other topics below in our Q&A."

MFI asks, "Give us a little bit of history. Milchem tells us, "Looking back at the BGI (Barclays) and BlackRock [merger] ... BGI always had the bigger Sterling book [and] BlackRock had a much bigger Dollar footprint when we put the businesses together back in 2009.... They were very complementary. I joined the business in 2008 ... so I had a bit of a baptism of fire.... I think we feel like we've been repeating history the last in the last year in terms of the experience from 2008.... But nothing brings a business together like going through some volatile market conditions and learning through and working with clients through those times."

The "D&I" article tells readers, "While it's been relatively quiet in the Social and ESG money fund space, there were a couple of developments over the past month. The good news was that BlackRock filed to launch several more D&I dealer affiliated share classes, while the bad news was that The Wall Street Journal took a shot at DWS and Deutsche Bank for overstating and struggling to define its ESG efforts."

It adds, "BlackRock's new Form N-1A Registration Statement filings include: Bancroft Capital Shares for BlackRock Liquid Federal Trust Fund, Cabrera Capital Markets Shares for TempFund and BlackRock Liquid Federal Trust Fund, Mischler Financial Group Shares for BlackRock Liquid Federal Trust Fund and Bancroft Capital Shares for the BlackRock Liquid Environmentally Aware Fund (LEAF). BlackRock already offers ESG MMFs BlackRock LEAF Direct (LEDXX) and LEAF Inst (LEFXX); BlackRock Wealth LEAF Inv (PINXX) and Inst (PNIXX); and BlackRock Liquidity FedFund Mischler (HUAXX)."

MFI also includes the News brief, "MFs Higher in August, Dip on Week," which says, "Money fund assets increased by $27.9 billion in August to $4.968 trillion, according to our MFI XLS. This follows declines of $38.5 billion in July and $84.8 billion in June. ICI's latest 'Money Market Fund Assets' report shows MMFs down $17.2 billion to $4.509 trillion in the latest week. Year-to-date, ICI shows MMFs up $212 billion, or 4.9%."

Another News brief, "August Portfolio Holdings: Treasuries Plunge Again; Repo, TDs Jump," comments, "Crane Data's latest Money Fund Portfolio Holdings, with data as of July 31, 2021, show another increase in Repo holdings, a jump in Other (​Time Deposits) and another plunge in Treasuries. Treasury securities remained the largest portfolio segment, though Repo is closing in on the No. 1 spot. ​Agencies were the third largest segment, CP remained fourth, ahead of Other/Time Deposits, CDs and VRDNs."

Our September MFI XLS, with August 31 data, shows total assets increased $27.9 billion to $4.968 trillion, after decreasing $12.4 billion in July and $73.0 billion in June. They increased $74.0 billion in May and $62.2 billion in April. Assets rose $151.0 billion in March, $30.8 billion in February and $5.6 billion in January. Assets decreased $6.7 billion in December, $11.7 billion in November, $46.8 billion in October and $121.2 billion in September. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield was flat at 0.02%, and our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) also remained flat at 0.02%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA and the Crane 100 both remained at 0.09%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.07% for the Crane MFA and the Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses Thursday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 8/31.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA was 37 days (unchanged) while the Crane 100 WAM fell one day to 36 days). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

Aug 06
 

The August issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent to subscribers Friday morning, features the articles: "MF Portfolio Holdings Review; Shift to Repo from Treasuries," which looks at the latest securities and composition held by MMFs; "Federated's Donahue Says Q2 High-Water Mark for Waivers," which quotes the latest on fee waivers from earnings calls; and, "Reviewing ESMA Comments: IMMFA, Irish Funds, EFAMA," which quotes from recent feedback to European regulators. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Friday a.m., and have updated our Money Fund Wisdom database query system with 7/31/21 data. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our August Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Tuesday, August 10, and our August Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Friday, August 13.

MFI's lead article says, "Money fund portfolios continue their massive shift away from Treasuries and towards repo, especially Fed repo. So we thought it would be a good time to review Crane Data's Money Fund Portfolio Holdings data and information. Our last monthly cut, with data as of June 30, 2021, showed another huge increase in Repo holdings and a giant drop in Treasuries, and we expect our 7/31 data to show the trend continuing." (Our August holdings will ship on Tuesday, 8/10.)

It continues, "Money market securities held by Taxable U.S. money funds (tracked by Crane Data) inched higher by $1.5 billion to $4.949 trillion in June, after rising $30.2 billion in May. Treasury securities remained the largest portfolio segment, followed by Repo, then Agencies. CP remained fourth, ahead of CD, Other/Time Deposits and VRDNs."

Our "Federated's Donahue" piece reads, "On its latest quarterly earnings call, Federated Hermes spend a lot of time discussing fee waivers. CEO & President Chris Donahue comments, 'We believe that Q2 was the high-water mark for money market fund yield waiver impact. As we expected, the Fed raised the administered rates in mid-June, moving repo rates from zero to 5 basis points and interest on excess reserves from 10 to 15 bps.' We quote from the call below, and we also review other earnings calls that mentioned money fund fee waivers."

Donahue explains, "While the Fed movement was a step in the right direction, the money fund yield curve remains very flat, and we are experiencing more waivers for competitive purposes. Tom will update our yield waiver outlook for the third quarter. Taking a look now at recent asset totals, managed assets were approximately $638 billion, including $421 billion in money markets.... MMMF assets were at $293 billion."

CFO Tom Donahue tells us, "Total revenue for the quarter was down from the prior quarter due mainly to the impact of higher minimum yield and competitive waivers.... Now other revenue increases from Q1 included the impact of higher money market assets.... The decrease in distribution expense of $6.3 million, compared to the prior quarter was mainly due to the impact of minimum yield waivers, partially offset by higher distribution expense incurred for competitive purposes.' (See Federated's recent 'Domestic Fee Waiver Notice.')"

The "ESMA" article tells readers, "As we mentioned last month, over 30 comment letters have been posted in response to the European Securities and Markets Authority's (ESMA's) 'Consultation on EU Money Market Fund Regulation - Legislative Review.' We've reviewed several of these over the past few weeks, but below we excerpt highlights from the major fund industry association comment letters."

The piece continues, "The U.K.-based Institutional Money Market Fund Association writes, 'Although the overwhelming majority of IMMFA MMFs are LVNAV or PDC-NAV, IMMFA represents all fund types ... our members offer a range of funds.... We feel strongly that questions of how MMFs fared should be considered in the context of the broader ecosystem and that any proposed solutions should take this symbiosis into account, rather than isolating MMFs. The March crisis was the first test of the reforms introduced under EU MMFR. Those reforms proved instrumental in providing MMFs with the increased resilience which enabled them to pass this test. We note that MMFs continued to serve their purpose in preserving capital and providing liquidity, with no MMFs imposing gates or fees, and all IMMFA MMFs staying within ... collars."

MFI also includes the News brief, "MMF Assets Down Again," which says, "Money fund assets fell by $12.4 billion in July to $4.966 trillion, according to our MFI XLS. ICI's 'Money Market Fund Assets' report shows MMFs down $1.1 billion to $4.501 trillion in the latest week, but up $204 billion, or 4.7% YTD."

Another News brief, "TBAC Recommends MMF Reforms," tells readers, "The Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee discussed MMF reforms. A 'presenting member argued that reforms should include removing the ties between MMFs liquidity mandates and redemption fees and gates, mandating that prime MMFs hold a higher degree of liquid assets, and using floating net asset values for all non-government MMFs to set clearer expectations of risks to MMF investors.'"

Our August MFI XLS, with July 31 data, shows total assets decreased $12.4 billion to $4.966 trillion, after decreasing $73.0 billion in June, increasing $74.0 billion in May and increasing $62.2 billion in April. Assets rose $151.0 billion in March, $30.8 billion in February and $5.6 billion in January. Assets decreased $6.7 billion in December, $11.7 billion in November, $46.8 billion in October, $121.2 billion in September, and $42.3 billion in August. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield inched higher to 0.02%, and our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) remained flat at 0.02%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA and the Crane 100 both remained at 0.09%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.07% for the Crane MFA and the Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses Monday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 7/31.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for both the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 37 days (down one day from the previous month). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

Jul 26
 

With less than 2 months to go, we're ramping up preparations for our Money Fund Symposium, which will take place Sept. 21-23, 2021, at The Loews Philadelphia. While we're watching the bump up in "delta" variant coronavirus cases closely, we don't think this will be a threat to the event or attendees and we expect the show to go on. We believe the vast majority of our attendees are vaccinated, and we'll adhere to whatever health policies the hotel and city have in place at the time. (The hotel is currently requiring masks in the lobby, but not in the session and exhibit rooms. There are no restrictions on size or events in Pennsylvania currently.) We review the latest agenda and details below, and of course we'll adjust plans if necessary. (We'll also give refunds or credits for cancels at any time.)

Crane's Money Fund Symposium, the largest gathering of money market fund managers and cash investors in the world, is scheduled to take place September 21-23, 2021 at The Loews Hotel, in Philadelphia, Pa. The latest agenda is available and registrations are being taken. (We'll be tweaking the agenda in coming weeks.) Money Fund Symposium attracts money fund managers, marketers and servicers, cash investors, money market securities dealers, issuers, and regulators.

Our Money Fund Symposium Agenda kicks off on Tuesday, September 21, with a keynote on "Adapting to Regulations, Tech & ESG" from Tom Callahan of BlackRock and Deborah Cunningham of Federated Hermes. The rest of the Day 1 agenda includes: "Treasury Issuance & Repo Update," with Mark Cabana of Bank of America Securities, Joseph Abate of Barclays and Tom Katzenbach of the U.S. Treasury; a "Regulatory Scenarios & Fed Support Review" with Stephen Cohen of Dechert and Ken Anadu of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; and, a "Major Money Fund Issues 2021" panel featuring, Tracy Hopkins of Dreyfus/BNY Mellon Cash Investment Strategies, Jeff Weaver of Wells Fargo Asset Management and Rob Sabatino of UBS Asset Management. (The evening's reception is sponsored by BofA.)

Day 2 of Money Fund Symposium 2021 begins with "The State of the Money Fund Industry," which features Peter Crane of Crane Data and Michael Morin of Fidelity Investments, followed by a "Senior Portfolio Manager Perspectives" panel, including Pia McCusker of SSGA, Nafis Smith of Vanguard, and Peter Yi of Northern Trust A.M. Next up is "Government & Treasury Money Fund Issues," with Adam Ackermann of J.P. Morgan A.M. and Geoff Gibbs of DWS. The morning concludes with a "Muni & Tax Exempt Money Fund Update," featuring Colleen Meehan of Dreyfus, John Vetter of Fidelity and Sean Saroya of J.P. Morgan Securities.

The Afternoon of Day 2 (after a Dreyfus-sponsored lunch) features the segments: "Dealer's Choice: Supply, New Securities & CP" with Robe Crowe of Citi Global Markets, John Kodweis of J.P. Morgan and Stewart Cutler of Barclays; "Ratings Focus: Governance, Global & LGIPs" with Robert Callagy of Moody's Investors Service, Greg Fayvilevich of Fitch Ratings, and Michael Masih of S&P Global Ratings; "Ultra-Short, ETFs & Alt-Cash Update," with Laurie Brignac of Invesco and Teresa Ho of JPM. The day's wrap-up presentation is "European, ESG & Corporate Issues" involving Jonathan Curry of HSBC Global A.M. and Tom Hunt of AFP. (The Day 2 reception is sponsored by Barclays.)

The third day of the Symposium features the sessions: "Strategists Speak '21: Fed & Rates, Repo & SOFR" with Priya Misra of TD Securities, Vanessa McMichael of Wells Fargo Securities and Alex Roever of J.P. Morgan Securities; "Brokerage Sweeps, Bank Deposits & Fin-Tech," with Chris Melin of Ameriprise Financial and Kevin Bannerton of Total Bank Solutions. The day concludes with an "FICC Repo & Agency Roundtable," featuring Robert Dolecki of FHLBanks Office of Finance, Travis Keltner of State Street and Matthew Peabody from BNY Mellon Markets; and a brief session on "Money Fund Statistics & Disclosures" run by Peter Crane.

Visit the MF Symposium website at www.moneyfundsymposium.com) for more details. Registration is $750, and discounted hotel reservations are available. Full refunds will be given for any cancels for any reason, and thanks to our sponsors for their support ... and patience! We hope you'll join us in Philadelphia in September! (The show will be recorded for those that can't make it.)

We'd like to encourage attendees, speakers and sponsors not to wait for the last minute to register and make hotel reservations, but we of course understand if you need to wait for travel restrictions to ease. Note that the agenda is still being finalized, so watch for tweaks in coming weeks. E-mail us at info@cranedata.com to request the full brochure.

Also, register for our virtual (and free) "European Money Fund Symposium, which is scheduled for Oct. 21, 2021, from `9:30am-12:00pm Eastern. (We cancelled our live European MFS in Paris, and have rescheduled this live event to Sept. 27-28, 2022.) Our virtual EMFS session will include a "Welcome to European MF Symposium" from Peter Crane; a "European MMF Update: Ireland, France, UK" with Vanessa Robert of Moody's, Alastair Sewell of Fitch Ratings and Andrew Paranthoiene of S&P Global Ratings; "Regulatory ESG & Ultra-Short Issues" with Patrick Rooney of Irish Funds, James Vincent of Goldman Sachs Asset Mgmt. and Rob Sabatino of UBS Asset Management; and "Senior Portfolio Manager Perspectives," with Deborah Cunningham of Federated Hermes, Joe McConnell of J.P. Morgan Asset Mgmt and Paul Mueller of Invesco.

Also, mark your calendars for our next Money Fund University which is scheduled for Jan. 20-21, 2022, in Boston, Mass and our next Bond Fund Symposium, which is scheduled for Mar. 28-29, 2022 in Newport Beach, California. Let us know if you'd like more details on any of our events, and we hope to see you in Philadelphia in September or in Boston or Newport Beach in 2022!