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Crane Data's latest Money Fund Market Share rankings show assets were mostly higher among the largest U.S. money fund complexes in March. Money market fund assets jumped $151.0 billion, or 3.2%, last month to $4.932 trillion. Assets have increased by $209.7 billion, or 4.4%, over the past 3 months, and they've increased by $123.0 billion, or 2.4%, over the past 12 months through March 31, 2021. The biggest increases among the 25 largest managers last month were seen by BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Federated Hermes, JP Morgan and First American, which grew assets by $61.7 billion, $32.3B, $14.4B, $12.4B and $12.3B, respectively. The largest declines in assets in March were seen by Fidelity, Wells Fargo, Invesco, Schwab and DWS, which decreased by $8.6 billion, $6.1B, $5.1B, $4.0B and $802M, respectively. Our domestic U.S. "Family" rankings are available in our MFI XLS product, our global rankings are available in our MFI International product. The combined "Family & Global Rankings" are available to Money Fund Wisdom subscribers. We review the latest market share totals below, and we also look at money fund yields in March.

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The April issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent to subscribers Thursday morning, features the articles: "Ultra-Short Buckets Ready: Bond Fund Symposium '21," which highlights comments from our recent online event; "BNY Mellon Liquidity Direct's George Maganas on Portals," which profiles one of the largest and oldest online money fund trading portals; and, "Worldwide MFs Rise in Q4'20 Led by China, Ireland, France," which reviews global MMF asset flows. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Thursday 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 Monday, April 12, and our April Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Thursday, April 15.

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Investment Company Institute President & CEO Eric Pan spoke earlier this week on "Observations About the March 2020 Turmoil and Regulated Funds" at The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance. Pan says, "I would like to speak with you today about the discussions US and international policymakers are having about the March 2020 market turmoil and their work to make the financial markets more resilient in the face of a similar liquidity shock. Such work is taking place in international bodies like the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and International Organization of Securities Commissions with the active participation of US financial regulators. For those familiar with the regulatory debates following the 2007-09 global financial crisis, these discussions should give you a sense of déjà vu. Regulated funds, including money market funds and long-term open-end funds, such as bond funds, are being closely scrutinized for systemic vulnerabilities. Indeed, some commentators have gone as far as to argue that the market events of March 2020 indicate that the business models of these funds should fundamentally change because they contend that these funds are unsafe for the global financial system in the absence of a central bank liquidity backstop."

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We continue to write up the highlights from our recent Bond Fund Symposium (Online), which took place a week and a half ago. Today, we excerpt from the session, "Short & Shorter: Ultra-Shorts vs. SMAs," which features Dave Martucci of JP Morgan Asset Management and Jerome Schneider of PIMCO. This annual BFS "Godzilla vs. Kong" segment contrasts two of the biggest names in the ultra-short and short-term space. Martucci tells us, "I manage the Managed Reserves Strategy for J.P. Morgan, which is the ultra-short duration. We have 11 PMs across New York and London, and we manage money across ETFs, SMAs, as well as mutual funds.... We are part of the Global Liquidity Group ... under John Donohue.... [This group has] $839 billion in AUM, which is part of the larger J.P. Morgan Asset Management's $2.3 trillion." (Attendees and Crane Data subscribers may access the Powerpoints, recordings and conference materials at the bottom of our "Content" page or our via our Bond Fund Symposium 2021 Download Center.)

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The Investment Company Institute released its latest weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" report Thursday, which shows MMFs surging again in the latest week, the 7th increase in the past 8 weeks. Money fund assets are up $200 billion, or 4.7%, year-to-date in 2021. Inst MMFs are up $233 billion (8.4%), while Retail MMFs are down $33 billion (-2.2%). Over the past 52 weeks, money fund assets have increased by $100 billion, or 2.7%, with Retail MMFs falling by $32 billion (-2.2%) and Inst MMFs rising by $132 billion (5.6%). We review the latest asset totals, and we also excerpt more highlights from our recent Bond Fund Symposium (Online), below.

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Late last week, we hosted Crane's Bond Fund Symposium (Online), which took place virtually after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Today, we quote from the session, "Senior Portfolio Manager Perspectives," which featured BlackRock's Brett Davis, Putnam Investments' Joanne Driscoll and UBS Asset Management's Dave Rothweiler. Thanks again to those who attended and supported BFS, and attendees and Crane Data subscribers may access the Powerpoints, recordings and conference materials at the bottom of our "Content" page or our via our Bond Fund Symposium 2021 Download Center. (Mark your calendars for our return to live events with Crane's Money Fund Symposium, which is now scheduled for Sept. 21-23, 2021 at The Loews Philadelphia, in Philadelphia, Pa, and for next year's Bond Fund Symposium, March 28-29, 2022, in Newport Beach, Calif.)

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The Investment Company Institute released its latest monthly "Trends in Mutual Fund Investing" and "Month-End Portfolio Holdings of Taxable Money Funds" for February 2021 yesterday. Their monthly "Trends" report shows that money fund assets increased $39.4 billion in February to $4.368 trillion. This follows decreases of $5.2 billion in January, $10.0 billion in December, $12.0 billion in November, $47.6 billion in October, $118.4 billion in September, $56.7 billion in August, $55.4 billion in July and $133.5 billion in June. Prior to this, assets increased $31.8 billion in May, $399.4 billion in April and $690.6 in March. For the 12 months through Feb. 28, 2021, money fund assets have increased by a huge $720.7 billion, or 19.8%. (Month-to-date in March, through 3/29, MMF assets have increased by $109.6 billion according to our MFI Daily.)

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Late last week, the European Securities and Market Authority published a press release entitled, "ESMA Consults on the Framework for EU Money Market Funds," which requests feedback on potential European money market fund reforms. (See our "Link of the Day.") Today, we quote from the full, "Consultation Report: EU Money Market Fund Regulation." The "Executive Summary" explains, "This consultation document is developed in the context of Article 46 of the MMF Regulation, which provides that '[b]y 21 July 2022, the Commission shall review the adequacy of this Regulation from a prudential and economic point of view, following consultations with ESMA'. The COVID-19 crisis has been challenging for MMFs. A number of EU MMFs faced significant liquidity issues during the period of acute stress in March 2020 with large redemptions from investors on the liability side, and a severe deterioration of liquidity of money market instruments on the asset side. In this context, this consultation document discusses the potential reforms of the EU MMF regulatory framework that could be envisaged, in light of the lessons learnt from the difficulties faced by MMFs during the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020."

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This month, MFI interviews Ameriprise Director of Cash Products, Chris Melin. He details the history of the company in cash, comments on the brokerage sweep marketplace and discusses major challenges, including record low rates. Melin also comments on Ameriprise's outlook. Our Q&A follows. (Note: The following is reprinted from the March issue of Money Fund Intelligence, which was published on March 5. Contact us at info@cranedata.com to request the full issue or to subscribe. Note Also: Thanks to those who attended our Bond Fund Symposium Thursday and Friday! Attendees and MFI subscribers may access the recordings and binder materials via our Bond Fund Symposium 2021 Download Center.)

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The Investment Company Institute's latest weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" report shows MMFs skyrocketing in the latest week, their 6th increase in the past 7 weeks and their biggest gain since the last week of April 2020. Money fund assets are up $151 billion, or 3.5%, year-to-date in 2021. Inst MMFs are up $178 billion (6.4%), while Retail MMFs are down $28 billion (-1.8%). Over the past 52 weeks, money fund assets have increased by $226 billion, or 5.4%, with Retail MMFs falling by $13 billion (-0.9%) and Inst MMFs rising by $239 billion (8.8%). We review the latest asset totals, as well as a new ICI study on expenses, below. (Note: Thanks to those who attended our Bond Fund Symposium yesterday afternoon! BFS continues this afternoon from 1-4pm. Attendees and MFI subscribers may access the recordings and binder materials via our Bond Fund Symposium 2021 Download Center. Register here if you'd like to join us!)

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Morgan Stanley Investment Management is doubling down on ESG and social money market funds. The manager filed a Prospectus Supplement to launch CastleOak Share Classes for its Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds. The filing, which includes new classes for the MSILF US Government and MSILF ESG Money Market Portfolios, tells us, "CastleOak Shares of the Fund are only available to clients of CastleOak Securities, L.P. ... who at the time of initial purchase make a minimum purchase of $5 million. You may not be subject to these minimum investment requirement under certain circumstances." The new CastleOak Shares will have a charged expense ratio of 0.20% after waivers. (Note: See below for more on our Bond Fund Symposium, which takes place online today and tomorrow afternoon (1-4pm). Attendees may access materials via our BFS'21 Download Center.)

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Western Asset published the brief, "Segmentation and Horizons Within Short-Term Investment Strategies," which tells us that, "An MMF may be the best solution for cash that requires daily liquidity, but this high level of liquidity comes at a price. Setting an investment time horizon that is too low for your needs will give up valuable yield on the investment—an unwelcome result further pronounced in times of low interest rates.... At the heart of an investment strategy for traditional cash investors, such as corporate treasurers investing excess balance sheet cash, lie the critical interdependent objectives of preserving capital, maintaining adequate liquidity and generating an attractive level of return." (Note: Please join us for Crane's Bond Fund Symposium (Online), which takes place the afternoons (1-4pmET) of March 25-26. Registration is $250 and "comp" tickets are available to sponsors and clients. Contact us or click here to register or for more info.)

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