Northern Institutional Funds filed to liquidate its $1.7 billion Northern Prime Obligations Portfolio earlier this week, we learned from Bloomberg. The filing says, "The Board of Trustees (the 'Board') of Northern Institutional Funds (the 'Trust') has determined, after consideration of a number of factors, that it is in the best interests of the Prime Obligations Portfolio (the 'Portfolio') and its shareholders that the Portfolio be liquidated and terminated on or about July 10, 2020 (the 'Liquidation Date') pursuant to a plan of liquidation approved by the Board. The Liquidation Date may be changed at the discretion of the Trust's officers. The pending liquidation of the Portfolio may be terminated and/or abandoned at any time before the Liquidation Date by action of the Board of the Trust. As of the date of this supplement, Williams Capital Shares of the Portfolio have not commenced operations and are not offered for purchase." (The fund's assets are down from $3.8 billion on Feb. 28, 2020.)
The Bloomberg piece, "Northern Trust to Shutter Money-Market Fund After Redemptions," tells us, "Northern Trust Corp. is shutting down a money-market mutual fund after volatility in March spurred redemptions that sent it below a regulatory threshold for maintaining liquidity. The $1.7 billion Northern Institutional Prime Obligations Portfolio will stop accepting new investments next month and start selling its holdings under a liquidation plan set for July 10, according to a filing."
Reuters, in a March 23 article,"Fed's Money Market Move Lifts Northern Trust Fund Above Key Threshhold," wrote, "Liquidity at a $2.2 billion prime money-market fund run by Northern Trust Corp fell below the key 30% U.S. regulatory threshold twice last week, but rebounded above that level after the U.S. Federal Reserve shored up the industry. As the coronavirus roils the global economy and squeezes Wall Street for cash, money-market reforms put in place after the 2007-2009 financial crisis are weathering a major test."
They explained, "Several institutional prime funds, whose investors include large corporations, were at risk of falling below the 30% threshold before the Fed took extraordinary steps reminiscent of the last financial crisis to backstop the money-market industry." The Northern Prime Obligations Portfolio disclosed that its weekly liquidity level fell to 27% of assets twice last week, according to the fund's website -- reducing its buffer for quickly converting assets into cash to meet investors' redemptions. However, Chicago-based Northern Trust, a bank and wealth manager, said on Monday the latest weekly liquidity level for the fund was nearly 41%."
In other news, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York published an update on the "The Primary Dealer Credit Facility" via its Liberty Street Economics blog. They write, "On March 17, 2020, the Federal Reserve announced that it would re-establish the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF) to allow primary dealers to support smooth market functioning and facilitate the availability of credit to businesses and households. The PDCF started offering overnight and term funding with maturities of up to ninety days on March 20. It will be in place for at least six months and may be extended as conditions warrant. In this post, we provide an overview of the PDCF and its usage to date."
The NY Fed writes, "Lending rose quickly after the PDCF's launch, and the weekly average of outstanding loans peaked at over $35 billion for the week ending April 15.... Outstanding loans remained in the $30-35 billion range for a few weeks, before decreasing recently, as market conditions improved. The vast majority of value-weighted PDCF loans have a maturity longer than overnight.... The bulk of the assets financed in the PDCF to date have been corporate and municipal debt, as well as asset-backed securities and commercial paper. These are asset classes that were experiencing considerable volatility and pressure in early March. Market conditions have improved markedly since the introduction of a variety of Fed interventions, including the PDCF."
They explain, "The Federal Reserve initially established the PDCF in March of 2008, following severe strains in the tri-party repo market, associated in part with Bear Stearns' troubles.... Following its inception in March 2008, usage of the original PDCF increased to approximately $40 billion, before decreasing to zero by mid-2008.... This $40 billion level is roughly comparable to the peak usage of today's PDCF. Usage of the original PDCF increased to over $140 billion in September 2008, following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. This peak is much higher than the current use of today's PDCF. However, the range of collateral eligible for the PDCF post-Lehman was much broader than the range of eligible collateral at the PDCF today, making comparisons difficult."
The piece adds, "The PDCF is one of many facilities introduced by the Federal Reserve to support the U.S. economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The PDCF helps primary dealers support smooth market functioning and facilitate the availability of credit to businesses and households in their capacity as market makers for corporate, consumer, and municipal obligations." For more, see these previous Liberty Street Economics blogs: "The Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility" and "The Commercial Paper Funding Facility."
Finally, Crane Data published its latest Weekly Money Fund Portfolio Holdings statistics Tuesday, which track a shifting subset of our monthly Portfolio Holdings collection. The most recent cut (with data as of May 15) includes Holdings information from 80 money funds (up two from two weeks ago), which represent $2.664 trillion (up from $2.568 trillion) of the $5.123 trillion (52.0%) in total money fund assets tracked by Crane Data. (Note that our Weekly MFPH are e-mail only and aren't available on the website. For our latest monthly Holdings, see our May 12 News, "May MF Portfolio Holdings: Treasuries Skyrocket, Repo Plunges in April.)
Our latest Weekly MFPH Composition summary again shows Government assets dominating the holdings list with Treasury totaling $1.344 trillion (up from $1.209 trillion two weeks ago), or 50.4%, Repurchase Agreements (Repo) totaling $635.7 billion (down from $706.4 billion two weeks ago), or 23.9% and Government Agency securities totaling $470.7 billion (up from $470.4 billion), or 17.7%. Certificates of Deposit (CDs) totaled $70.7 billion (up from $48.7 billion), or 2.7% and Commercial Paper (CP) totaled $59.2 billion (up from $58.7 billion), or 2.2%. A total of $46.9 billion or 1.8%, was listed in the Other category (primarily Time Deposits), and VRDNs accounted for $37.6 billion, or 1.4%.
The Ten Largest Issuers in our Weekly Holdings product include: the US Treasury with $1.344 trillion (50.4% of total holdings), Federal Home Loan Bank with $289.3B (10.9%), Fixed Income Clearing Co with $99.9B (3.7%), Federal Farm Credit Bank with $69.9B (2.6%), BNP Paribas with $69.5B (2.6%), Federal National Mortgage Association with $57.5B (2.2%), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp with $51.3B (1.9%), JP Morgan with $49.5B (1.9%), RBC with $46.8B (1.8%) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc with $30.0B (1.1%).
The Ten Largest Funds tracked in our latest Weekly include: JP Morgan US Govt ($228.4B), Goldman Sachs FS Govt ($217.0B), Fidelity Inv MM: Govt Port ($194.3B), BlackRock Lq FedFund ($175.5B), JPMorgan 100% US Treas MMkt ($142.3B), Wells Fargo Govt MM ($138.6B), Goldman Sachs FS Treas Instruments ($133.3B), Morgan Stanley Inst Liq Govt ($109.3B), State Street Inst US Govt ($105.4B) and BlackRock Lq T-Fund ($86.4B). (Let us know if you'd like to see our latest domestic U.S. and/or "offshore" Weekly Portfolio Holdings collection and summary, or our Bond Fund Portfolio Holdings data series.)
The content page contains archives and delivery settings for all subscriptions.
|Price||$2000/yr||( Discount Policy )|
|Ranks||*D*||( Daily Data )|
|Funds||( Full Listing )|
|Index||*D*||( Daily Data )|
|Subscribe Now »|
|See a demo issue.|
|Request a trial issue.|
|Call 1-508-439-4419 for order or info.|
The May issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Friday morning, features the articles: "Cash Big Topic on Q1 Earnings Calls: BlackRock, Schwab, BNY," which discusses the huge shift in assets from bank deposits to MMFs; "Federated Hermes Talks Record Assets, LGIPs, ETFs," which quotes from the company's Q1'23 earnings call; and, "ICI Myths on Money Funds vs. Bank Deposits, Fed RRP," which dispels some recent criticisms of MMFs. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Friday a.m., and we've updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with 4/30/23 data. Our May Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Tuesday, May 9, and our May Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out on Friday, May 12.
MFI's "Cash Big Topic on Q1 Earnings Calls: BlackRock, Schwab, BNY" article says, "Quarterly earnings reports from major financial companies are shedding more light upon the huge March shift in assets from bank deposits to money market mutual funds. BlackRock's Q1'23 earnings call included a number of comments on the cash super-spike. (See the transcript here.) CFO Martin Small comments, 'Negative revenue impacts were partially offset by the elimination of discretionary money market fund fee waivers and higher securities lending revenue. BlackRock's cash management platform saw $8 billion of net inflows in the quarter. Flows were driven by surging demand for our cash management solutions in March as clients diversified away from deposits and enhance cash yields.'"
The piece continues, "He explains, 'We're actively working with clients on their liquidity management strategies, providing technology, market and operational insights and, of course, delivering a full range of cash management capabilities.'"
Our BFS "profile" piece states, "Federated Hermes, the 6th largest manager of money funds, reported Q1’23 earnings and hosted its latest earnings conference call late last week. President & CEO J. Christopher Donahue comments in a press release, 'Federated Hermes' record assets under management were driven by money market asset increases accompanied by further increases across nearly all other long-term asset classes from the previous quarter, demonstrating once again the value of our diversified business mix. As interest rates continued their rise and as investors considered regional banking issues, many withdrew deposits from small and medium-sized banks and continued to embrace the benefits of money market funds -- high credit quality, short duration, diversification, transparency, daily liquidity and market yields. Federated Hermes had positive net flows into a range of our money market products -- from government to prime.'"
It continues, "The release says, 'Money market assets were a record $505.8 billion at March 31, 2023, up $85.2 billion or 20% from $420.6 billion at March 31, 2022 and up $29.0 billion or 6% from $476.8 billion at Dec. 31, 2022. Money market fund assets were $357.3 billion at March 31, 2023, up $77.8 billion or 28% from $279.5 billion at March 31, 2022 and up $21.4 billion or 6% from $335.9 billion at Dec. 31, 2022.... Revenue increased $57.4 million or 18% primarily due to a decrease in voluntary fee waivers related to certain money market funds in order for those funds to maintain positive or zero net yields (voluntary yield-related fee waivers) and an increase in revenue due to higher average money market assets [vs. a year ago].'"
Our "ICI Myths on Money Funds vs. Bank Deposits, Fed RRP" piece states, "Mutual fund trade association, the Investment Company Institute (ICI) recently posted a 'Viewpoint' entitled, 'Three Myths and Facts about Bank Deposits, Bank Lending, and Money Market Funds,' which argues against the media's misperception that the shift from bank deposits to money market funds is harming the real economy by reducing lending. Chief Economist Sean Collins writes, 'Following the difficulties at Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank, and Credit Suisse in early March 2023, a number of media reports cited analysts who suggested that money market funds (MMFs) are drawing deposits away from banks, adding to stresses at banks and preventing them from lending more to businesses and consumers.... This narrative, though colorful and attention-grabbing, needs fact-checking.'"
MFI states "He cites 'Myth #1: In March 2023, $422 billion flowed into government MMFs, which became 'dead money' in the Fed's RRP facility that banks could otherwise have lent to businesses and households.' Collins responds with, 'Fact #1: Government MMFs recycled over 70 percent of the $422 billion back into the banking system, either directly or indirectly. As assets in government MMFs climbed in March, those funds invested an additional $190.5 billion in debt issued by Federal Home Loan Banks, which in turn lent the proceeds to banks. Government MMFs also raised by $112.4 billion their investments in repo, providing additional funding to banks or their broker subsidiaries. Only $68.5 billion of the increase was invested in the Fed's RRP.'"
MFI also includes the News brief, "Fed Hikes 10th Time to 5.00-5.25%." It tells us, "The release, 'Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement,' says, '[T]he Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 5 to 5-1/4 percent.' Our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (7-Day Yield) rose just 3 bps in April to 4.64%, but it should jump next week and push towards 5.0%."
Another News brief, "MMF Assets Break $5.7 Trillion," explains, "Crane Data's MFI XLS shows MMFs jumping another $56.8 billion in April to a record $5.685 trillion. Our MFI Daily shows assets jumping another $63.6 billion the first 3 days of March, breaking $5.7 trillion and rising to a record $5.729 trillion Wednesday."
A sidebar, "SEC: Private Funds $333 Bil.," states, "The SEC released its latest quarterly 'Private Funds Statistics' report late last month, which summarizes Form PF reporting and includes some data on 'Liquidity Funds,' or pools which are similar to but not money market funds. The publication shows overall Liquidity fund assets were higher in the latest reported quarter (Q3'22) at $333 billion (up from $328 billion in Q2'22 and up from $302 billion in Q3'21)."
Another sidebar, "FP Hits Brokerage Sweep" states, "Financial Planning magazine published a piece, 'The wealth management industry's $1T conflict of interest,' which explains, '[T]he brokerage industry's widespread and lucrative practice of cash sweeps has drawn extensive regulatory scrutiny and the ire of consumer advocates since it started around 2000. As long as the firms fully disclose the conflict of interest, though, there is nothing illegal about rolling up clients' uninvested cash into bank accounts that pay brokerage firms the vast majority of rising interest yields that feed the industry's bottom line more every time the Fed raises rates.'"
Our May MFI XLS, with April 30 data, shows total assets increased $56.5 billion to $5.685 trillion, after increasing $345.1 billion in March, $56.0 billion in February, $22.5 billion in January, $70.2 billion in December and $55.4 billion in November. MMFs rose $42.2 billion in October, $1.7 billion in September, $2.3 billion in August, $26.0 billion in July and $31.9 billion in June. They decreased $10.7 billion in May 2022.
Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield was up 6 bps to 4.52%, and our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was up 3 bps to 4.64% in April. On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA and the Crane 100 both were both higher at 4.81% and 4.75%, respectively. Charged Expenses averaged 0.38% and 0.27% for the Crane MFA and the Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses on Monday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 4/30/23.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA was 18 days (up 1 day from previous month) while the Crane 100 WAM was up 1 at 16 days. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)
The April issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Monday morning, features the articles: "MMFs Break $5.6 Trillion on SVB, Deposit Super Surge," which discusses the huge inflows coming from uninsured deposits; "Northern's LaRocco, Fidelity's Pope on MMF Inflows at BFS," which quotes from our recent Bond Fund Symposium; and, "ICI Worldwide MMFs Jump in Q4, Led by US, Ireland, France," which covers recent data on money fund markets outside the U.S. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Monday a.m., and we've updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with 3/31/23 data. Our April Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Wednesday, April 12, and our April Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out on Monday, April 17.
MFI's "MMFs Break $5.6 Trillion" article says, "Money fund assets, which had already been hitting record levels earlier this year, skyrocketed in March as the failure of Silicon Valley Bank raised concerns over uninsured bank deposits. Crane Data's MFI XLS shows money fund assets increasing by $345.1 billion to a record $5.613 trillion, their 3rd largest increase ever. (Only March and April 2020 show bigger gains, when MMFs jumped $688.1 billion and $471.2 billion, respectively.)
The piece continues, "Year-to-date through 3/31/23, money fund assets have increased by $444.5 billion, or 8.6%, and over 12 months assets have increased by $565.1 billion, or 11.2%. Our MFI Daily shows assets continuing to increase in April, rising by $28.2 billion to a record $5.638 trillion. (Note: MFI Daily's assets series differs slightly from our monthly MFI XLS series.)
Our BFS "profile" piece states, "Two and a half weeks ago, we hosted our latest Crane's Bond Fund Symposium in Boston. The only session focusing on cash, "Money Funds & Conservative Ultra‐Shorts," featured our Peter Crane along with Northern Trust Asset Management's Dan LaRocco and Fidelity's Kerry Pope. We excerpt from this segment below. (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 via our Bond Fund Symposium 2022 Download Center.)"
It continues, "Pope comments, 'We've certainly benefiting from all the turmoil within the banking sector. Each and every day you wake up, there's new money coming in, new accounts being opened. So we've got a lot of tailwinds right now. The good thing is that we're actually able to earn some money on it.... A few years ago in the zero-rate environment, we were having to waive fees all over the place. So now it's a good combination of being able to recognize the fees, plus the volume.'"
Our "ICI Worldwide" piece states, "The Investment Company Institute published, 'Worldwide Regulated Open-Fund Assets and Flows, Fourth Quarter 2022,' which shows that money fund assets globally jumped by $550.7 billion, or 6.6%, in Q4'22 to $8.856 trillion. The increases were led by sharp jumps in money funds in U.S., Ireland, France and Luxembourg. Meanwhile, only money funds in Brazil were lower. MMF assets worldwide increased by $22.4 billion, or 0.3%, in the 12 months through 12/31/22; money funds in the U.S. now represent 53.9% of worldwide assets."
MFI states" "ICI's release says, 'Worldwide regulated open-end fund assets increased 7.1% to $60.15 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2022, excluding funds of funds.... The Investment Company Institute compiles worldwide regulated open-end fund statistics on behalf of the International Investment Funds Association (IIFA), the organization of national fund associations. The collection for the fourth quarter of 2022 contains statistics from 46 jurisdictions.'"
MFI also includes the News brief, "Fed Hikes to 4.75-5.0%; Yields 4.6%. A release, 'Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement,’ says, '[T]he Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 4-3/4 to 5%.' Our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (7-Day Yield) rose 24 bps to 4.61%."
Another News brief, "NY Fed on MMFs, Rates," tells us, "The post, 'Monetary Policy Transmission and the Size of the Money Market Fund Industry: An Update,' tells us, 'The size of the money market fund industry co-moves with the monetary policy cycle.'"
A sidebar, "Vanguard's Smith on MMFs," states, "Vanguard writes 'Tried and true money markets get boost with rising rates,' which summarizes, 'Nafis Smith, principal and head of Vanguard's taxable money markets, discusses money markets in a rising interest rate environment, the stress tests behind Vanguard's stability mandate, and how a low fee structure advantages money market portfolios.'"
Another sidebar, "Yellen Hits MMFs in Speech," states, "Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a recent speech, 'As we strengthen the banking sector, we are also making progress on one of FSOC's top priorities: mitigating vulnerabilities in nonbank financial intermediation. Many of these nonbank institutions engage in liquidity and maturity transformation: they profit by issuing short-term obligations while investing in riskier and longer-term assets. But they are generally not regulated to account for spillovers to the rest of the financial system during times of ... stress.'"
Our March MFI XLS, with March 31 data, shows total assets increased $345.1 billion to $5.613 trillion, after increasing $56.0 billion in February, $22.5 billion in January, $70.2 billion in December and $55.4 billion in November. MMFs rose $42.2 billion in October, $1.7 billion in September, $2.3 billion in August, $26.0 billion in July and $31.9 billion in June. They decreased $10.7 billion in May and $74.3 billion in April. MMFs increased $24.1 billion last March.
Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield was up 21 bps to 4.46%, and our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was up 22 bps to 4.61% in March. On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA and the Crane 100 both were both higher at 4.76% and 4.72%, respectively. Charged Expenses averaged 0.38% and 0.27% for the Crane MFA and the Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses on Tuesday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 3/31/23.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA was 17 days (unchanged from previous month) while the Crane 100 WAM was up 1 at 15 days. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)
The March issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Tuesday morning, features the articles: "Treasury MMFs Brace for Debt Ceiling Faceoff, Supply Shock," which reviews the risk to Treasury funds; "BlackRock's Matt Clay on European MMF Landscape," which quotes from a recent ICD webinar; and, "Federated 10-K Sheds Light on Regulatory Environment," which excerpts from Federated Hermes' annual report. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Tuesday a.m., and we've updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with 2/28/23 data. Our March Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Thursday, March 9, and our March Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out on Tuesday, March 14.
MFI's "Treasury MMFs Brace" article says, "While record asset levels and yields moving towards 5.0% are the big stories for money funds so far in 2023, many have begun to focus on the looming Treasury debt ceiling battle. Fitch Ratings tells us in the release, 'U.S. Debt Ceiling Uncertainty a Risk for Treasury Money Market Funds,' 'A default by the U.S. Treasury could pose liquidity and headline risks and ratings pressure for U.S. Treasury-only money market funds (MMFs), but would not necessarily result in downgrades, with considerations including the size of any exposure to defaulted securities and alternative sources of fund liquidity.'"
The piece continues, "They explain, 'The U.S. government debt limit was reached on Jan. 19, 2023. However, the Treasury Department is using 'extraordinary measures' to avoid defaulting on obligations.... The Congressional Budget Office has calculated the x-date will fall sometime between July and September 2023, though it cautioned that extraordinary measures could be exhausted sooner, and the Treasury could run out of funds before July.'"
Our BlackRock "profile" piece states, "Online money market funds trading portals ICD recently hosted a webinar entitled, 'Economic Update: Cash Investment Forecast for the Year Ahead,' featuring BlackRock Cash Management Head of International Portfolio Management Matt Clay. Clay and ICD host Luke Newman discussed a number of issues involving short-term investment trends in U.S. dollar, euro and sterling currencies. Newman says, 'I'm going to start off with a brief intro in terms of `what ICD saw in 2022, in terms of flows into the money market funds.... I'll then pass it over to BlackRock, who will be providing an economic update, an outlook at the macro level, and then talking more specifically around cash and the impact of monetary policy in general on short-term investment trends.'"
It continues, "He explains, 'We wanted to share some of the trends that we saw at ICD last year. So, we start in 2022 with low interest rates in the three main currencies, having been in a low interest rate environment for some time. Over the course of a year, we started seeing these rates rise which generated significant interest in money market funds.... For the first half of the year, assets in these funds were averaging just over the $65 billion mark. As central banks started increasing rates, you can see that assets significantly increased, peaking near to $95 billion at the end of last year. That's close to a 50% increase when compared to the first half of the year. This graph doesn't show the start of this year, but the trend has continued. So, in summary, as interest rates rise, so has the interest in money market funds.'"
Our "Federated 10-K" piece states, "Federated Hermes filed its latest '10-K Annual Report' with the SEC recently, and the 109-page document contains a wealth of information on money market mutual funds. On 'Distribution Channels,' it says, 'Federated Hermes' distribution strategy is to provide investment management products and services to more than 11,000 institutions and intermediaries, including, among others, banks, broker/dealers, registered investment advisors, government entities, corporations, insurance companies, foundations and endowments.... [I]nvestment products ... are offered and distributed in three markets.... U.S. financial intermediary (63%); U.S. institutional (28%); and international (9%).'"
MFI states, "They write, 'Financial intermediaries use Federated Hermes' products to meet the needs of their customers, who are often retail investors.... As of Dec. 31, 2022, managed assets in the U.S. financial intermediary market included $317.9 billion in money market assets.... Federated Hermes offers and distributes its products and strategies to a wide variety of domestic institutional customers including, among others, government entities, not-for-profit entities, corporations, corporate and public pension funds, foundations, endowments and non-Federated Hermes investment companies or other funds. As of Dec. 31, 2022, managed assets in the U.S. institutional market included $144.0 billion in money market assets.... [M]anaged assets in the international market included ... $15.0 billion in money market assets.'"
MFI also includes the News brief, "MMF Assets Surge to Record $5.3T," which says, "Assets jumped $56.0 billion in February to a record $5.261 trillion, according to MFI XLS, and assets jumped another $17.3 billion the first 3 days in March to $5.270 trillion, according to MFI Daily. See our sidebar on page 7 for more."
Another News brief, "Yields Up Another Quarter in Feb.," tells us, "Money fund yields moved 24 bps higher on average last month in direct response to the Fed's 25 basis point hike on Feb. 1. Our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (7-Day Yield) rose 24 basis points to 4.39% in the month ended 2/28. Money fund yields have risen from 4.05% on 12/31/22. Yields should remain flat over the next 3 weeks, but they should jump again following the Fed's next meeting on March 22 (if they hike rates again as expected)."
A sidebar, "SEC: Private Liquidity Funds," states, "The SEC released its latest quarterly 'Private Funds Statistics' report recently, which summarizes Form PF reporting and includes some data on 'Liquidity Funds,' or pools which are similar to but not money market funds. The publication shows overall Liquidity fund assets were higher in the latest reported quarter (Q2'22) at $328 billion (up from $313 billion in Q1'22 and up from $319 billion in Q2'21)."
Our March MFI XLS, with February 28 data, shows total assets increased $56.0 billion to $5.261 trillion, after increasing $22.5 billion in January, $70.2 billion in December and $55.4 billion in November. MMFs rose $42.2 billion in October, $1.7 billion in September, $2.3 billion in August, $26.0 billion in July and $31.9 billion in June. They decreased $10.7 billion in May and $74.3 billion in April. MMFs increased $24.1 billion in March, but decreased $34.6 billion last February.
Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield was up 23 bps to 4.25%, and our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was up 24 bps to 4.39% in February. On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA and the Crane 100 both were both higher at 4.56% and 4.51%, respectively. Charged Expenses averaged 0.38% and 0.26% for the Crane MFA and the Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses on Wednesday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 2/28/23.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA was 17 days (unchanged from previous month) while the Crane 100 WAM remained the same at 14 days. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)
The February issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Tuesday morning, features the articles: "Money Fund Yields Attracting More Attention in Early 2023," which reviews the most recent news on MMFs; "Federated Q4 Earnings on Record Assets, No Waivers," which reviews Federated's latest comments on MMFs; and, "Treasury's OFR Posts Annual Report: Money Funds, Risks," which excerpts from OFR's 2022 Annual Report. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Tuesday a.m., and we've updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with 1/31/23 data. Our February Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Thursday, Feb. 9, and our February Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
MFI's "Money Fund Yields Attracting More Attention" article says, "The Wall Street Journal again mentions money market funds in, 'Jittery Investors Turn to Cash in Hunt for Yield.' They explain, 'The dash for cash on Wall Street is back on. Investors have added about $135 billion to global money-market funds over the past four weeks, according to EPFR data through Jan. 18. That is the best stretch since the four-week period ended May 2020, when those funds logged roughly $175 billion in net inflows.'"
The piece continues, "Increased cash allocations are the latest sign of caution among investors who are questioning whether the recent rebound in stocks and bonds will continue after last year's steep selloff. Many expect markets to remain volatile because Federal Reserve officials have repeatedly said they are committed to fighting inflation with higher interest rates. The flows are also an indication that investors are hungry for yield. They shunned cash for years when interest rates were low and returns on money-market funds were meager."
Our "Federated Q4 Earnings" piece states, "Federated Hermes released its Q4'22 earnings and hosted its quarterly earnings call late last week, which discussed record money fund assets and seasonal flows, the end of fee waivers and money funds vs. bank deposits. The earnings press release quotes President & CEO J. Christopher Donahue, 'Federated Hermes' record assets at year-end 2022 were driven by money market asset increases and investor interest in our flagship Total Return Bond Fund and related separate accounts.... In addition, investors valued our investment perspective as they sought haven from market volatility in a diverse range of Federated Hermes products -- from money market funds to low-duration fixed-income options to market neutral and bear market alternative strategies.'"
The release explains, "Federated Hermes' money market assets were a record $476.8 billion at Dec. 31, 2022, up $28.9 billion or 6% from $447.9 billion at Dec. 31, 2021 and up $35.5 billion or 8% from $441.3 billion at Sept. 30, 2022. Money market mutual fund assets were $335.9 billion at Dec. 31, 2022, up $23.1 billion or 7% from $312.8 billion at Dec. 31, 2021 and up $26.0 billion or 8% from $309.9 billion at Sept. 30, 2022. Federated Hermes’ money market separate account assets were $140.9 billion at Dec. 31, 2022, up $5.8 billion or 4% from $135.1 billion at Dec. 31, 2021 and up $9.5 billion or 7% from $131.4 billion at Sept. 30, 2022.'"
Our "Treasury's OFR" piece states, "The U.S. Treasury's Office of Financial Research published 'OFR 2022 Annual Report to Congress,’ which analyzes threats to the financial stability of the U.S. and contains a section discussing money market funds. Under 'Financial Markets and Liquidity, Short-term Funding,' they write, 'Funding markets are relatively stable, but market liquidity remains fragile. Market volatility and the impact of Federal Reserve interest rate increases are magnified in short-term markets. First, a protracted period of low interest rates and the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing facilitated risk taking. Second, investors may have taken market liquidity and low price volatility for granted and underestimated the speed and pace of interest rate increases. Third, the market remains vulnerable to liquidity and maturity transformation mismatches for banks and nonbanks.'"
MFI writes, "The OFR tells us, 'To broaden support for the floor of overnight rates, the Federal Reserve uses the Overnight Reverse Repo Facility (ON RRP) to support a floor on short-term rates by providing an alternative investment for nonbank financial institutions such as money market funds (MMFs) and government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). The ON RRP level is very high at $2.4 trillion as of Sept. 30, 2022, an increase of $846.4 billion since the start of 2022.... Traditionally, ON RRP usage tends to spike around month- and quarter-end reporting dates when some banks shrink their balance sheets.... As a result, eligible money market participants invested substantially in the ON RRP, with prime and government MMFs accounting for up to 92% of the total lending to the ON RRP.'"
MFI also includes the News brief, "Money Fund Assets Hit Record Again." It says, "ICI's <b:>`_ latest weekly 'Money Market Fund Assets' report shows money fund assets bouncing back to record levels following two weeks of modest declines. Money funds saw their biggest weekly increase since April 29, 2020 during the first week of 2023, and they've risen by $237.1 billion (or 5.2%) over the past 13 weeks."
Another News brief, "Fed Hikes Rates 25 bps to 4.50-4.75%," tells us, "A release entitled, 'Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement' tells us, 'The Committee ... decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 4-1/2 to 4-3/4 percent."
A sidebar, "SSGA's '23 Outlook, Reforms," states, "State Street Global Advisors published a 'Global Cash Outlook,' entitled, 'The Year Ahead -- Chaos or Calm?' Will Goldthwait writes, 'The overall theme of 2023 will be confusion. The current geopolitical macro-economic back drop could deliver such a broad array of outcomes that it's anyone's guess where we will be at the end of the year.'"
Another sidebar, "Schwab on Cash Sorting," quotes Schwab CFO Peter Crawford comments in the earnings release, 'Schwab's record financial performance in 2022 highlighted the resiliency of our diversified financial model. Sustained business momentum ... helped drive 12% growth in ... revenues. Net interest revenue reached $10.7 billion, an increase of 33% versus the prior year, as higher interest rates more than offset the impact of balance sheet contraction due to client cash sorting. Lower market valuations throughout the year pushed asset management and administration fees down slightly to $4.2 billion, or 1% year-over-year.'"
Our February MFI XLS, with January 31 data, shows total assets increased $22.5 billion to $5.191 trillion, after increasing $70.2 billion in December, $55.4 billion in November, $42.2 billion in October, $1.7 billion in September, $2.3 billion in August, $26.0 billion in July and $31.9 billion in June. They decreased $10.7 billion in May and $74.3 billion in April. MMFs increased $24.1 billion in March, but decreased $34.6 billion last February.
Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield was up 15 bps to 4.02%, and our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was up 10 bps to 4.15% in January. On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA and the Crane 100 both were both higher at 4.33% and 4.28%, respectively. Charged Expenses averaged 0.38% and 0.26% for the Crane MFA and the Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses on Wednesday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 1/31/23.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA was 17 days (up 1 day from previous month) while the Crane 100 WAM remained the same at 14 days. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)