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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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May 22

This month, MFI interviews Paul Schott Stevens, President & CEO of the Investment Company Institute (ICI). Stevens has been with the mutual fund trade association for 20 years and has been involved in the fund industry for even longer. We discuss his storied career, and ICI's crucial involvement in the development of money fund regulations. Our Q&A follows. (Note: The following is reprinted from the May issue of Money Fund Intelligence, which was published on May 7. Contact us at to request the full issue or to subscribe.)

MFI: Tell us about your background and history. Stevens: The ICI is 80 years old this year. We started in 1940 at the time that the Investment Company Act was passed, and the SEC needed an industry group to work with as it began to develop implementing regulations. If you look at what our mission is, it's been the same over those 80 years.... It's to advance the interests of funds and their investors and the constituencies that make fund investing possible, the advisers and boards. Funds are complicated financial instruments in many respects for people and so, trying to provide public information about them has always been a part of our mission.... The third part is, trying to promote high ethical standards. That is incredibly important in an industry that serves 100 million individual investors here in the United States.

Outside of ICI, I've spent 15 years in private law practice.... I had my first money market fund related assignment, I think probably in 1979. So, my involvement with this industry goes back -- can it possibly be that long? -- over 40 years.... It has been an interesting and varied career. But I'll tell you, no challenge of that career, no position that I'd ever held, has been quite as satisfying as leading the ICI. Very few lawyers actually get the chance to move out of the law and into a CEO role. I found meeting the challenges of our organization, working with our members and the incredible staff we have to be among the most gratifying things that I've done.

It has been a pretty challenging period.... When I came in in 2004, we were in the midst of our late trading and market timing situation. No sooner did we get out of that when we entered the phase of the great financial crisis, with a preoccupation about money fund issues lasting over five years and two cycles of SEC rulemaking. In 2011, our board said we want you to refashion the ICI as a global organization. We’ve been working on that ever since.... And now, dealing with this global pandemic and having to adopt completely new ways of working. It has been one extraordinary challenge after another.

MFI: What is your biggest priority? Stevens: The recent issues have been unlike the issues that we saw in many respects during the financial crisis. The issues then were at their heart credit problems. The ones that we've been seeing now are really the result of the government ordering the economy shut down and the demands of investors of all kinds for safe haven assets and ready liquidity to meet unexpected needs.

Early on our focus was clearly on trying to make sure that we could respond to the problems caused by markets that just simply froze up. The good news is that in fairly short order, the Federal Reserve began to establish programs that have greatly, I think, helped markets recover. In just a matter of days, they put together the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, followed by a whole bunch of others. And if you look at the amounts that have actually been utilized in those facilities to date, they're small by comparison to the size of, say, the money market fund industry. But just the fact that they’re there provided a sense of renewed confidence to the markets. I think that the Federal Reserve, the SEC and the Treasury Department deserve very high marks for what they did.

The other thing that's different this time around is that we didn't have money flowing as much out of prime funds into government funds. What we had was money coming from other sources, hugely into government funds.... People are looking to these funds as safe haven assets ... at a time when that liquidity is absolutely essential.

Our focus has been also on continuing with ordinary business, and that’s one of the important things to emphasize. The SEC, very much to its credit, has not just simply stopped everything to focus on coronavirus issues, it's continuing with other very, very important work. It just issued a rule proposal concerning fair valuation of securities held by funds. They're continuing to do work on the derivatives proposal, on proxy voting proposals, on a whole raft of other things. So our normal work process is very much continuing even against the background of the implications of the pandemic.

MFI: Your proudest accomplishment? Stevens: Well, I'll mention a couple of things that I'm particularly proud of. After the great financial crisis, there was an inclination on the part of bank regulators, both the United States and elsewhere, to want to fasten on our business, the regulated fund business, a regulatory model which was completely inappropriate, to treat us like banks, and to have the central bankers begin managing us in a prudential fashion, the way they manage banks. Fighting that off, I think was one of the most important challenges that we met during my time at the ICI.

We have always welcomed effective regulation, and we were as deeply committed to maintaining financial stability as any other part of the system. What the bank regulators saw is that asset management, the regulated fund business, was growing in importance at the same time that the banking business was decreasing, relatively speaking, in importance. So, they wanted to begin regulating us. But the capital markets form of regulation is far more appropriate, so we fought to try to sustain an appropriate model of regulation for the industry, and I think we largely succeeded in doing that.

Now, that's a battle that continues. And in a sense, it's a conversation that's been going on with our industry and central bankers for probably generations.... We had to fight that battle not only domestically here in the United States with the FSOC and the Federal Reserve, but we had to do it with the Financial Stability Board and central bankers and finance ministry officials on a global basis as well.

The second accomplishment, as I mentioned earlier, is leading the charge to refashion the ICI as a global trade organization. That was a completely new organizational challenge for us. And I think it's one that we've risen to very, very effectively. That global dimension now informs everything that we do.

MFI: Talk about the ICI Money Market Working Group. ICI didn't wait for regulators last time, right? Stevens: That’s absolutely correct. It's very consistent with the way the ICI has conducted itself.... We knew when the Reserve Primary Fund broke a buck and the Treasury Department chose to introduce a guarantee program that our world had changed overnight. I suggested and the board and leadership, like Jack Brennan of Vanguard, readily agreed that we had to turn to and think about what was appropriate and necessary by way of reforms. We worked very, very hard at that working group. I think we came up with a report and recommendations for the SEC that were substantial. I know that [the SEC's] Mary Shapiro appreciated them at the time, although she concluded at a later point that more needed to be done.

In truth, money market funds were the very first part of the financial system to be reformed in the aftermath of the crisis, and that was largely because of the initiative that we took at ICI. So that was a very proud moment for us, and it's not much different from other things that we've done. I could name governance standards for the fund business that we helped to raise on our own initiative, standards on personal investments by portfolio managers and a variety of other things as well.

MFI: Talk about investors. Stevens: Well, if you think about our investors in the retail space, they’ve reacted in this crisis more or less the way they have historically. There have not been precipitous outflows from our funds and we follow those trends on a daily and weekly basis. You did not see the same reaction in the retail prime funds that you saw in the institutional prime funds.... That's just been our experience with one of these market events after the other. It suggests that people look at these funds as long-term propositions.... They look at money market funds ... as a store of liquidity that's there available for them should they need it.

MFI: Can you talk about expenses, waivers and consolidation? Stevens: I think that the wildcard here to some degree is what happens with interest rates. Negative interest rates will be a challenge for the money market fund business. I think the fee waivers are something that have become commonplace over the years. There's obviously this very, very strong commitment by fund sponsors to continue their money market fund offerings because they’re such an important arrow in the quiver for their clients.

The general trends in fees and expenses that we've documented now for a generation are very clear. They are declining. The other trend is that distribution and other costs, the cost of help and advice, are being separated from the costs of the funds.... You don't see classes or shares with loads or 12b-1 fees and that sort of thing. Those share classes that have those associated expenses are really dwindling in the industry. Those costs are being externalized and charged separately.

The other great trend that you see across the industry is consolidation. And again, this is something that we've followed closely. The flows into the industry have been strong, but they’re not shared equally by all the players. Some are getting much bigger. I think it’s a tougher proposition for smaller and medium sized enterprises. Scale is an extraordinarily important thing. That certainly would be the case in the money market fund world. So those dynamics are ones, I think, that are very clear and likely to continue into the future.

MFI: What about the future? Stevens: I've been ICI president for 16 years. If you cast your mind forward 16 years further to 2036, what will the fund investing world look like? I suspect that it will be an even more distinctly global phenomenon, and you’ll have major centers of fund investing in China and elsewhere that will go through a period of growth and maturity similar to what our domestic fund sector has gone through during my lifetime. I think the future is bright.

Apr 23

While the nationwide lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic continues, Crane Data remains hopeful that travel will resume later this summer and that we'll be able to host our annual Money Fund Symposium and European Money Fund Symposium. Crane's Money Fund Symposium has been shifted back from June to August 24-26, 2020, and the show remains at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. We'll of course continue to monitor events carefully in coming weeks, and we'll be prepared to move again (perhaps to Nov. 18-20), to cancel, and/or to webcast if our client base deems it unsafe. Meanwhile, we'll be preparing for the show and taking steps to spread out and make the event safer. The latest agenda is available, though we'll no doubt be tweaking this as we get closer to the summer, and registrations are being taken at (Note: We'll offer full refunds or credits for any cancellations.)

Our MF Symposium Agenda is scheduled to kick off on Monday, August 24 with a keynote on "Money Funds through the Decades" from Paul Schott Stevens of the Investment Company Institute. The rest of the Day 1 agenda includes: "Treasury Issuance & Repo Update," with Mark Cabana of Bank of America, Dina Marchioni of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Tom Katzenbach of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; a "Corporate Investor, Portal & ESG MMF Discussion" with Tom Callahan of BlackRock, Tom Hunt of AFP, and Mark Adamson of Wells Fargo Securities; and, a "Major Money Fund Issues 2020" panel with Tracy Hopkins of Dreyfus/BNY Mellon Cash Investment Strategies, Jeff Weaver of Wells Fargo Asset Management and Peter Yi of Northern Trust Asset Management. (The evening's reception is sponsored by BofA Securities.)

Day 2 of Money Fund Symposium 2020 will begin with "The State of the Money Fund Industry," which features Peter Crane, Deborah Cunningham of Federated Investors and Michael Morin of Fidelity Investments, followed by a "Senior Portfolio Manager Perspectives" panel, including Linda Klingman of Charles Schwab I.M., Nafis Smith of Vanguard and John Tobin of J.P. Morgan Asset Mgmt. Next up is "Government & Treasury Money Fund Issues," with Mike Bird of Wells Fargo Funds 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 moderator, Jeff Plotnik of U.S. Bancorp Asset Mgmt., Robe Crowe of Citi Global Markets, John Kodweis of JPM and Stewart Cutler of Barclays; "Fund 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 Alex Roever of J.P. Morgan Securities and Laurie Brignac of Invesco. The day's wrap-up presentation is "Brokerage Sweeps, Bank Deposits & Fin-Tech" involving Chris Melin of Ameriprise Financial and Kevin Bannerton of Total Bank Solutions. (The Day 2 reception is sponsored by Barclays.)

The third day of the Symposium features the sessions: "Strategists Speak '20: Fed Rates, Repo & SOFR" with Priya Misra of TD Securities and Garret Sloan of Wells Fargo Securities; "Regulatory & Misc. Issues: ESG, ETF, European," with Brenden Carroll of Dechert LLP, Rob Sabatino of UBS Asset Mgmt and Jonathan Curry of HSBC Global A.M.; "FICC Repo & Agency Roundtable," with Owen Nichols of State Street Global Markets and Kyle Lynch of FHLBanks Office of Finance and, "Money Fund Statistics & Disclosures" with Peter Crane.

Visit the MF Symposium website at for more details. Registration is $750, and discounted hotel reservations are available. We hope you'll it'll be safe to travel and you'll join us in Minneapolis this August! When and if you're ready, attendees, speakers and sponsors should register here and make hotel reservations here. We'll keep you posted on our plans, so watch for updates in coming months. E-mail us at to request the full brochure, or click here to see the latest.

We've also pushed back the dates for our next European Money Fund Symposium, which is now scheduled for Nov. 19-20, 2020 in Paris, France. (It had been scheduled for Sept. 17-18.) We'll be watching travel restrictions to Europe closely in coming months (and may have to shift or cancel this too). Again, we'll give full refunds or credits for any events that are cancelled or that registered attendees can't travel to or want to cancel.

"European Money Fund Symposium offers European, global and "offshore" money market portfolio managers, investors, issuers, dealers and service providers a concentrated and affordable educational experience, and an excellent and informal networking venue," says Crane Data President, Peter Crane. "Our mission is to deliver the best possible conference content at an affordable price to money market fund professionals," he adds. Last year's European Crane Symposium event in Dublin attracted 110 attendees, sponsors and speakers.

EMFS will be held at the Renaissance Paris La Defense. Hotel rooms must be booked before Thursday, October 1 to receive the discounted rate of E279 (single) or E289 (double). Registration for our 2020 Crane's European Money Fund Symposium is $1,000 USD. Visit to register, or contact us to request the PDF brochure or for Sponsorship pricing and info.

Also, mark your calendars for next year's Money Fund University, which is scheduled for Jan. 21-22, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pa, and our next Bond Fund Symposium, which is scheduled for March 25-26, 2021 in Newport Beach, Calif. Watch for details in coming months, and let us know if you're interested in sponsoring or speaking. Contact us if you have any feedback or questions. Attendees to Crane Conferences and Crane Data subscribers may access the latest recordings, Powerpoints and binder materials at the bottom of our "Content page." Let us know if you'd like more details on any of our events, and we hope to see you in Minneapolis later this summer and Paris this fall!

Finally, we'll spending the next month or two upgrading our virtual event capabilities, just in case, and we'll be launching a series of Webinars and online events in coming weeks. Mark your calendars for our inaugural event, a "Money Fund Update & Product Training," which will take place on May 21 at 2pm Eastern. (MFI subscribers will be invited and we'll put a notice on the website.)

Apr 07

The April issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Tuesday morning, features the articles: "Govt MMFs Skyrocket; Prime Reels Over Coronavirus Crisis," which reviews the dramatic moves in money fund assets in March; "Federated's Cunningham on Front Lines of Cash Crisis," which profiles the Federated Hermes MM CIO; and, "Worldwide MF Assets Jump to $6.9 Tril; US Surges, China," which looks at ICI's latest global money fund statistics. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with March 31 statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Tuesday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our April Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Thursday, April 9, and our April Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Wednesday, April 15.

MFI's "Govt MMFs Skyrocket" article says, "Money market mutual fund assets showed their biggest asset gain in history in March, skyrocketing by $652.7 billion, or 16.4%, to a record $4.624 trillion. Government MMFs (including Treasury funds) rose a stunning $813.3 billion (29.6%) to $3.563 trillion, while Prime MMFs fell by $152.0 billion to $929.6 billion last month. In comparison, during September 2008, when Reserve Primary Fund "broke the buck" and MMFs saw $160.1 billion in outflows (to $3.203 trillion), Prime MMFs fell by almost 3 times as much then, $447.6 billion, as they did in March 2020. Govt MMFs jumped by just $324.6 billion back during that tumultuous September of 2008, according to our MFI XLS."

We explain, "ICI's weekly assets series also showed these stunning gains. (See ICI's series in the chart on p.1 and see the flows from our MFI Daily in the chart at right). They show money market mutual fund assets surging to record levels in the latest week (through April 1), though the inflows didn't match the previous week's massive $285.7 billion inflow. (It was the second largest inflow ever though.)"

Our latest "profile" reads, "This month, MFI interviews Deborah Cunningham, Federated Hermes' Executive VP & CIO of Liquidity Products. We ask her about the crazy month of March, and about the current state of the money fund sector, flows and the Fed's support programs. Our Q&A follows."

MFI says, "Give us a little history. Cunningham tells us, "I've seen 17% interest rates and 17 basis point interest rates, and neither one of them are healthy. I've been in the industry for the better part of four decades, and worked my way from accounting into the investment group through the credit area. I've been on the portfolio management side now for 25 years."

We ask, "How are you holding up?" She responds, "Well, things have definitely gotten better. I think the worst days were in the beginning of the week of [March] 16th ... then things started to get better a little bit better on [March 19-20]. I would say the markets definitely turned a corner to some degree on Monday [March 23]."

Cunningham adds, "For Treasury securities, the worst days were last week after the massive decrease in yields, but without any real additional volume in Treasury securities yet. Ultimately, you were able to keep positive yields by participating in the primary issuance of bills. But to try to buy anything in the secondary without going into negative territory was almost an impossibility. With the stimulus package ... and the additional bill issuance ... that sector is now much healthier."

The "Worldwide" article tells readers, "The Investment Company Institute's latest 'Worldwide Regulated Open-Fund Assets and Flows, Fourth Quarter 2019' release shows that money fund assets globally rose by $311.2 billion, or 4.7%, in Q4'19 to a record $6.937 trillion. The increase was driven by big gains in U.S.-based money funds, and increases in Ireland-, China- and Luxembourg-based money funds. MMF assets worldwide have increased by $860.7 billion, or 14.2%, the past 12 months, and money funds in the U.S. now represent 52.4% of worldwide assets. (Note: Let us know if you'd like to see our latest Money Fund Intelligence International product, which tracks 'offshore' money market funds domiciled in Europe and outside the U.S.)"

The latest MFI also includes the News brief, "Money Fund Yields Headed to Zero," which writes, "After a panic 100 bps rate cut on March 16, money fund yields dropped below the 1.0% the following day and fell below 0.5% by month-end. And they're still falling. Yields on Government money funds plunged (and a Treasury fund closed to new investors), while Prime MMF barely fell (driving spreads to their widest ever). Our flagship Crane 100 Money Fund Index is now 0.41% (as of 4/6) according to Money Fund Intelligence Daily."

A second News piece titled, "Bill Gives Treasury Temporarily MMF Guarantee, But Need Has Passed," says, "In the depths of the latest money market crisis, the U.S. Treasury sought approval from Congress to launch a program to guarantee money market mutual funds for the second time in history. But as the Federal Reserve stepped in with myriad support programs and after a delay in the CAREs bill, it appears the guarantee won't be needed. (Knock on wood.) See Crane Data's March 19 and April 6 News and WSJ's 'Treasury Department Asks Congress to Let It Backstop Money Markets.'"

Our April MFI XLS, with Mar. 31 data, shows total assets jumped by $652.7 billion in March to $4.624 trillion, after rising $23.4 billion in February, falling $7.8 billion in January and rising $72.7 billion in December. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield fell 80 bps to 0.47% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was down 94 bps to 0.47%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA was down 80 bps at 0.88% and the Crane 100 fell to 0.74%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.41% (unchanged from last month) and 0.27% (unchanged from last month), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 33 (up two days) and 35 days (up two days) respectively. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

Mar 06

The March issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Friday morning, features the articles: "Consolidations & Liquidations Again Loom in MMF Sector," which features the merger trend that is likely to continue; "HSBC Global AM's Curry on US, European & EM MMFs," which profiles Jonathan Curry of HSBC Global Asset Management; and, "Deposit Growth Rebounds After Stall; Sweeps Fueling," which compares the growth of bank deposits vs. money fund assets. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with Feb. 29 statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Friday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our March Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Tuesday, March 10, and our March Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Friday, March 13. (Note: Our apologies, but we've cancelled our upcoming Bond Fund Symposium in Boston!)

MFI's "Consolidations" article says, "Pressure on asset management and financial stocks is heating up the merger market, as evidence by the recent announcements between Franklin and Legg Mason and Morgan Stanley and E*TRADE. Given the potential of looming negative yields and fee waivers, this trend should only accelerate as we move through 2020. We review the latest news here."

It explains, "Last year, we saw Federated take over PNC's fund business and Invesco absorb OppenheimerFunds, and now it appears we'll see more fund consolidation in 2020. A press release entitled, 'Franklin Templeton to Acquire Legg Mason, Creating $1.5 Trillion AUM Global Investment Manager,' tells us, 'Franklin Resources ... operating as Franklin Templeton ... announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Legg Mason, Inc.'"

Our "HSBC Global AM" profile reads, "This month, MFI speaks with Jonathan Curry, Global CIO for Liquidity and CIO, Americas for HSBC Global Asset Management. The firm recently filed to launch an ESG money fund in the U.S., and it continues to be a major player globally and in a number of emerging markets. We discuss their funds, the latest money market developments and a number of other issues below.

MFI says, "Give us a little bit of history." Curry answers, "We've been running money funds for over 25 years in a very broad range of currencies. We treat liquidity as an asset class in its own right, so we've got dedicated investment professionals, client service teams, distribution teams, product teams, all focused on this asset class. Liquidity represents around 20 percent of the AUM ... of HSBC Global Asset Management. It's a very important part of the of the asset management franchise here at HSBC. I joined HSBC in 2010, as the Global Chief Investment Officer for Liquidity. I moved to the U.S. in Q'3 2016, to take on the additional responsibilities that I have today. Prior to joining HSBC, I was at Barclays Global Investors."

MFI says, "Tell us about the fund lineup." Curry continues, "For liquidity, we finished 2019 with just under $100 billion, $98.1 billion to be precise. We manage liquidity solutions in 11 currencies globally, which is one the widest breadth of currencies of any manager. It covers both developed and emerging market currencies. We have offerings in U.S. dollar, in sterling, in euros, which are where the bulk of the assets that we have are managed. In Asia, we have Hong Kong dollar funds, RMB, Australian dollar, Taiwan dollar and Indian rupee. In addition to sterling and euros in Europe, we have Turkish lira. In the Americas, in addition to US dollars, we have a Canadian dollar offering and an Argentinian peso offering."

The article on "Deposits" tells readers, "U.S. money fund assets grew by 20.8% in 2019, the biggest increase since 2007. Meanwhile, bank deposits picked up the pace to grow by 5.4% last year, after growing a mere 1.7% in 2018 (the slowest rate since 1995), according to the Federal Reserve's H.6 data series. Money funds added $565.5 billion (to $3.311 trillion) and MMDAs gained $503.6 billion (to $9.868 trillion) for 2019, while Small Time Deposits, or bank CDs, grew by $60.3 billion."

It adds, "Assets of MMDAs began growing again in June 2019, following a stall starting in late 2018. Meanwhile, money fund assets have paused year-to-date in 2020, after a scorching 2019."

The latest MFI also includes the News brief, "Money Fund Assets Up in February," which writes, "Crane Data shows MMFs grew by $23.4 billion to $3.977 trillion in February, following January's $3.7 billion decline. ICI shows assets jumping $49.3 billion in the first week of March."

A second News piece titled, "Fed Cuts by 50; Yields Head to 1.0%," says, "Worried over volatility and the coronavirus, the Federal Reserve cut rates in a surprise 50 basis point move, lowering the Fed funds target rate range to 1.00-1.25%. Money fund yields are expected to plummet in coming days and should break below the 1.​0% level in April."

Our March MFI XLS, with Feb. 29 data, shows total assets rose by $23.4 billion in February to $3.977 trillion, after falling $7.8 billion in January and rising $72.7 billion in December and $40.9 billion in November. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield fell to 1.27% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was down a basis points to 1.41%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA was unchanged at 1.68% and the Crane 100 fell to 1.68%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.41% (unchanged from last month) and 0.27% (unchanged from last month), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 32 (up two days) and 33 days (unchanged) respectively. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)