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Last week, Fitch Ratings hosted a "European Money Market Fund Reform Teleconference," which featured Senior Director Alastair Sewell and Associate Director Evangelia Gkeka from Fitch's Fund and Asset Manager Rating Group. They discussed the "timing and implications of European money fund reform," "new fund types ... the low volatility net asset value fund," and, "inner workings of liquidity fees and redemption gates." Sewell explains, "European money fund reforms were finally agreed in December of last year. That's arguably almost 7 years after the process started, with the DeLarosierre report, which called in common definition of European money funds, or more recently, approximately 3 years after the first draft of money fund reforms in Europe were tabled."

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The SEC's latest "Money Market Fund Statistics" data summary shows that total assets decreased in December, with Prime funds losing $15.5 billion, Tax Exempt MMFs losing $0.8 billion and Government funds losing $0.2 billion. Gross yields continued higher for Prime MMFs and for Tax Exempt MMFs. The SEC's Division of Investment Management summarizes monthly Form N-MFP data and includes asset totals and averages for yields, liquidity levels, WAMs, WALs, holdings, and other money market fund trends. Money market fund assets decreased by $16.6 billion in December to $2.958 trillion. (The SEC's series includes some private and internal funds not reported to ICI, Crane Data or other reporting agencies.) Overall assets increased by $60.1 billion in November, but fell $30.0 billion in October, $35.2 billion in Sept., and $33.7 billion in August. In 2016, total assets were down $127.1 billion, or 4.1%, through 12/31.

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The Investment Company Institute released its latest weekly "Money Market Mutual Fund Assets" report and "Money Market Fund Holdings" summary (with data as of Dec. 31, 2016) yesterday. The former shows assets plunging in the latest week and the latter reviews the aggregate daily and weekly liquid assets, regional exposure, and maturities (WAM and WAL) for Prime and Government money market funds. J.P. Morgan Securities also released its latest "Prime money market fund holdings update" earlier this week. Both "holdings" updates, which review below, confirm our earlier reports of a jump in repo holdings at year-end. (See our Jan. 12 News, "Government Takeover: Treasuries, Agencies Dominating MMF Holdings.") Finally, thanks to our speakers, sponsors and attendees of Money Fund University, which ends today in Jersey City. We hope you had a good show!

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This month, Money Fund Intelligence interviews AB Government Money Market Portfolio Vice President & Portfolio Manager Ed Dombrowski. AB, the former AllianceBernstein, whose motto is "Ahead of Tomorrow," has been rebranding and focusing on expanding their money market fund presence by courting the "portal" and institutional marketplace, among other things. Our Q&A follows. (This interview is reprinted from the January issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter; e-mail info@cranedata.com to request the full issue. Note too: We'd like to welcome those of you attending the 7th annual Crane's Money Fund University, which takes place today and Friday at the Jersey City Westin! Crane Data subscribers may access the conference materials at the bottom of our "Content" page.)

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BlackRock's "Cash Academy" released a video and white paper on "Simplified Tax and Accounting Rules for Money Market Funds. The paper explains, "Regulators finalized much-anticipated and angst-inducing tax and accounting rules for money market funds (MMFs), and in doing so offered a few key modifications that we think will benefit investors. On July 8, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations permitting the simplified "Net Asset Value, or NAV, method" of accounting for gains and losses in MMFs (IRS Regulation T.D. 9774), and provided guidance regarding requirements for information reporting via Form 1099-B. The final regulations are similar to the IRS' proposal released in July 2014, with a few small modifications."

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The January issue of Crane Data's Bond Fund Intelligence, which was sent out to subscribers Monday, features the lead story, "BFI Turns 2; Top Stories & Funds in '16; Outlook for '17," which reviews the top stories and funds of 2016, and it features the profile, "Invesco's Tony Wong Talks Credit, Bond Fund Lineup," an interview with Invesco Fixed Income's Head of Global Credit Research & Liquidity. Also, we recap the latest Bond Fund News, including yield increases in December and a rebound in flows in late December and January. BFI also includes our Crane BFI Indexes, which showed increases in December. We excerpt from the latest BFI below. (Watch for more excerpts from our Invesco profile later this month on www.cranedata.com, and contact us if you'd like to see a copy of our latest Bond Fund Intelligence and BFI XLS.)

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A press release entitled, "SEC Announces 2017 Examination Priorities," and subtitled, "New Areas of Focus Include Electronic Investment Advice, Money Market Funds, and Senior Investors," tell us, "The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced its Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations' (OCIE) 2017 priorities. Areas of focus include electronic investment advice, money market funds, and financial exploitation of senior investors. The priorities also reflect a continuing focus on protecting retail investors, including individuals investing for their retirement, and assessing market-wide risks." We first learned of the SEC news from a Reuters article. We review the brief update below, and we also cover the latest "Money Market Mutual Fund Assets report from the Investment Company Institute.

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Crane Data released its January Money Fund Portfolio Holdings yesterday, and our latest collection of taxable money market securities, with data as of Dec. 31, 2016, shows a big jump in Fed repo, with Repo, Treasuries and Agencies holding a record 86.9% of all holdings. Money market securities held by Taxable U.S. money funds overall (tracked by Crane Data) decreased by $34.7 billion to $2.658 trillion last month, after increasing by $106.5 billion in November and $32.0 billion in Oct., but decreasing by $123 billion in Sept. Repo jumped back over Treasuries as the largest portfolio segment, as quarter-end drove a spike in usage of the Fed's RRP "reverse repo" program, followed by Agencies. CDs were in fourth place, followed by Commercial Paper, Other/Time Deposits and VRDNs. Money funds' European-affiliated securities fell to 9.7% of holdings, down from the previous month's 16.4% and the lowest level since the SEC began requiring monthly money fund portfolio disclosures in November 2010. Below, we review our latest Money Fund Portfolio Holdings statistics.

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Below, we reprint the article, "Top Money Funds of 2016; 8th Annual MFI Awards," from the January edition of our Money Fund Intelligence.... In this issue, we recognizes the top‐performing money funds, ranked by total returns, for calendar year 2016, as well as the top ranked funds for the past 5‐year and 10‐year periods. We present the funds below with our annual Money Fund Intelligence Awards. These include the No. 1‐ranked funds based on 1‐year, 5‐year and 10‐year returns, through Dec. 31, 2016, in each of our major fund categories -- Prime Institutional, Government Institutional, Treasury Institutional, Prime Retail, Government Retail, Treasury Retail and Tax‐Exempt. (Note: We've posted the latest versions of our "Funds" and "Portfolio Holdings" data files from the SEC's Form N-MFP data series here. Our normal January Money Fund Portfolio Holdings will also be released later today.)

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Crane Data's latest Money Fund Market Share rankings show modest asset increases for the majority of U.S. money fund complexes in December, as total assets increased by $116.3 billion, or 4.2%. (Note: December's asset totals were inflated by the addition of $110 billion in "internal" money funds to our collections.) Overall assets rose by $159.8 billion, or 6.1%, over the past 3 months. Over the past 12 months through Dec. 31, they've increased by $79.1 billion, or 2.9%. (Both totals were also inflated by our added assets though.) The biggest gainers in December were Vanguard, whose MMFs rose by $55.8 billion, or 27.3%, and Fidelity, whose MMFs rose by $42.9 billion, or 9.3%. (Note: These two complexes were inflated by the addition of the $49.6 billion Vanguard Liquidity Fund, the $2.4B Vanguard Muni Cash Management, the $34.6B Fidelity Cash Central Fund, the $5.6B Fidelity NC Capital Mmgt Govt Port and the $1.8B Fidelity Money Market Central Fund. TIAA-CREF and PFM's totals were also inflated by the addition of new funds to our collections.)

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The January issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent to subscribers Monday morning, features the articles: "Money Fund Highlights of '16; Higher Yields The Story in '17," which reviews the top stories of 2016; "AB's Ed Dombrowski on Growing Govt MMFs," which profiles the Portfolio Manager of the AB Government Money Market Portfolio; and "Top Money Funds of 2016; 8th Annual MFI Awards," which looks at the top-performing money funds of 2016. We have updated our Money Fund Wisdom database query system with Dec. 31, 2016, performance statistics, and also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Monday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our January Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship Wednesday, Dec. 11, and our Dec. Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Tuesday, Jan. 17.

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Money market fund assets were roughly flat for the 5th year in a row in 2016, but they actually fell slightly, ending four straight years of fractional gains. While official monthly numbers aren't in yet, ICI's weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" report shows money fund assets down about $31 billion, or 1.1%, in 2016 (through 12/28), compared to increases of $26 billion in 2015, $14 billion in 2014, $14 billion in 2013, and $10 billion in 2012. (Assets suffered steep declines in 2009, 2010, and 2011, falling $537 billion, $483 billion and $115 billion, respectively, after rising an average of $591 billion the prior 3 years.) In 2017, though, money fund assets declined in the first week of the New Year.

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