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The November issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Friday morning, features the articles: "MF Consolidation Accelerates; Govt Fund Conversions Begin," which looks at Prime to Government fund conversions, consolidation, and Schwab and Fidelity's declaration of "retail" funds; "Prior Speaks on Changes; New Reality at Fidelity," where we summarize recent comments from Fidelity's Nancy Prior and changes to the firm's funds; and "BlackRock Buys BofA MMFs in Biggest Deal of Decade," which recaps the news that BlackRock acquired BofA's $87 billion money fund business. We have also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database query system with Oct. 31, 2015, performance statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet earlier. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our November Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship Tuesday, November 10, and our November Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Monday, November 16.
MFI's lead "Consolidation" article says, "Acquisitions, liquidations, and conversions headlined a busy month in the money market fund space. With now less than a year until MMF reforms take effect, some Prime funds have already begun converting into Government funds. The first batch of these took place this week, and more are slated to convert in December and throughout 2016. To date, over $230 billion in Prime money funds have converted or declared their intent to convert into Government funds, with over $40 billion converting this week and next. On the acquisition front, BlackRock shook the money fund world with its purchase of BofA's cash management business, and a steady stream of minor fund liquidations, conversions and announcements continued."
The piece continues, "In October, two small Prime money market funds announced conversions to Government, and two more firms announced their exits from the money market space. Nationwide will convert its $1.0 billion Nationwide Money Market Fund and its $1.8 billion Nationwide VIT MMF to Government funds on 10/14/16. Also, Pioneer is converting its $280 million Pioneer Cash Reserves from Prime to Government on 11/13/15. Further, William Blair filed to liquidate its $1.4 billion Ready Reserves Fund on Nov. 18, and Delaware filed to convert its $169 million Delaware Cash Reserves to Delaware Ultrashort [Bond] Fund in Jan. 2016."
Our latest MFI "profile," reads, "Fidelity President of Fixed Income Nancy Prior spoke recently about the state of the money market fund industry in a speech at the AFP Annual Conference entitled, "Money Market Funds: The New Reality." She discussed Fidelity's second phase of changes to its money market fund lineup, which were announced October 14, and also talked about the size of the Government securities sector, conservative ultra-short bond funds and the fact that there is no "silver bullet" for corporate cash investors."
It adds, "The big news in the recent announcement, which followed the late January shocker that Fidelity Cash Reserves will "go government," is that Fidelity will convert both its $65.5 billion Fidelity Institutional Money Market Portfolio and its $2.2 billion FIMM Tax Exempt Portfolio into Retail funds. Fidelity will retain just one Prime Institutional fund, the $47.8 billion FIMM Prime Money Market Portfolio."
We quote Prior, "In the end, MMFs survived a very long and difficult regulatory process, and will continue to exist in a form we all recognize. That survival was not a given through a series of ups and downs of a regulatory process that lasted more than five years. One result of the regulation, however, is that the current value proposition of prime MMFs -- stability, liquidity, and a competitive market yield -- has been diminished. In fact, investors will no longer be able to maximize all three with any single MMF product. There will be tradeoffs between the different types of funds, and investors will have to choose which features are most important to them. For many of you here, prime MMFs have traditionally been a great cash investment option. They met your needs by providing all three elements -- stability, liquidity, and a competitive yield."
The "BlackRock Buys BofA" article says, "In one of the largest acquisitions ever in the money market fund space, BlackRock announced that it was taking over management of BofA Global Capital's cash business. BofA Funds is the 14th largest manager of money market fund assets that we track with $48.3 billion -- and according to BlackRock's press release announcing the move, has $87 billion in total cash assets under management. Prior to this transaction, the largest money fund mergers in the past included both BlackRock's merger with Merrill Lynch Investment Management in 2006 and BlackRock's merger with Barclays Global Investors in 2009. (See our Dec. 2, 2009 News, "Merged BlackRock, BGI Form World's 3rd Largest Money Fund Manager.") When the BofA transaction is complete, BlackRock will become the second largest manager of money fund assets with about $370 billion in AUM, jumping ahead of now No. 2-ranked JP Morgan."
We also look at how money fund managers are reducing fee waivers in the sidebar, "Fee Waivers Being Reduced." It says, "As yields creep up and a possible interest rate hike looms, money fund managers are beginning to reduce the amount of fee waivers. In Q3 earnings calls and releases, Federated, Schwab, Northern Trust and T. Rowe Price all reported lower fee waivers and higher MMF revenue. And, we take our quarterly look at the largest money fund markets in the world in our story, "Global MMF Data Shows: Big Jumps in Ireland and China." It says, "The Investment Company Institute's latest "Worldwide Mutual Fund Assets and Flows" show that global money market mutual fund assets increased in the 2nd Quarter of 2015, rising $31 billion, or 0.7%, to $4.580 trillion. Ireland solidified its spot as the second largest MMF market with a big jump, while China and Luxembourg also gained assets in Q2. Globally, MMF assets increased by $107.5 billion, or 2.2%, over the past year (through 6/30/15)."
Our November MFI XLS, with Oct. 31, 2015, data, shows total assets increasing $56.5 billion in October after declining by $9.4 billion in September, rising $7.2 billion in August, and jumping $52.4 billion in July. YTD, MMF assets are down by just $8.2 billion, or 0.3% (through 10/31/15). Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield and 30-Day Yield remained at 0.02%, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) went up a basis point to 0.05% (7-day).
On a Gross Yield Basis (before expenses were taken out), funds averaged 0.18% (Crane MFA, up one bps) and 0.21% (Crane 100, unchanged). Charged Expenses averaged 0.15% (unchanged) and 0.17% (up one bps) for the two main taxable averages. The average WAMs (weighted average maturities) for the Crane MFA was 36 days (up two days from last month) and for the Crane 100 was 36 days (unchanged). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)
The September issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter features an interview with the new Chair of the Institutional Money Market Funds Association, Reyer Kooy. Kooy, the Head of Institutional Liquidity Management, EMEA and Asia business for Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, replaces Jonathan Curry, who served as IMMFA Chair for the past three years. Kooy comes aboard in a challenging environment for money funds in Europe, as the industry faces negative yields and the likelihood of substantial reforms. But he remains optimistic about the future. We excerpt from our interview below. (Note: Kooy will also give the opening speech at this morning's European Money Fund Symposium, which takes place Thursday and Friday in Dublin, Ireland at the Conrad Hotel.)
MFI: When did you become Chair? Kooy: I was elected to become Chairman of IMMFA in June of this year for a two year term. Previously I was an IMMFA board member and Treasurer of the association for the preceding three years. IMMFA has been around for more than 15 years and is focused on the European CNAV money market fund industry specifically. I've personally been involved with the money fund industry twelve years.
MFI: What has been IMMFA's main focus? Kooy: Regulation has been the main focus of the association over the last two to three years. We focus on making the case for money market funds in general, but also for constant NAV. We are keen to share our knowledge and insights with the decision makers of the European regulatory process. Regulations will be a prime focus going forward as well as the yield environment. These two key items are of crucial importance to our members and therefore to IMMFA.
MFI: Given the potential for regulatory changes, will IMMFA expand its focus? Kooy: For now the focus of the association is on constant net asset value money market funds and, hopefully, carving out a future for constant net asset value money market funds in Europe. That's really the sole focus at this point. As the regulation becomes clear, we can start to speculate about what that means not only for money market funds but also their users, the providers, and IMMFA. But at this point it's too early to say. Currently, European providers of constant NAV money market funds are members of IMMFA as are service providers, which include fund administration companies, rating agencies, and accounting firms. There are about thirty members in total. It's very much a committee based structure. The elected board is the main driving force, along with our full time staff, of the association's activities.
MFI: How are members dealing with negative yields? Kooy: Negative yield is a challenge for our clients as well as our members. IMMFA money market funds are highly transparent in their holdings and in their activities, so if the short term euro money markets are negative then money market funds must be too. So clients are accepting that to be invested in highly secure, highly liquid Euro denominated securities comes at a cost. The negative yield in a money market fund may be better than what's on offer in banks in the same liquidity bucket. Even though we have seen some reduction in the assets under management in euro CNAV money market funds, we still see actually quite a strong demand for euro denominated money market funds. Providers have been able to operate in this negative yield environment. Most if not all providers have implemented a share cancellation structure whereby a very small number of shares is cancelled on a daily basis to reflect the negative yield in the fund. We are also seeing a broadening of use of accumulating share classes, which gives the same economic gap impact but just in a different format.
MFI: What is the status of money fund regulations in Europe? Kooy: The regulatory debate in Europe continues. It has been rightly identified as a very important and technical file. The general consensus on the European side of things is still to be reached. The European Commission and the European Parliament have made their recommendations, and now it's time for the Council of Ministers also to review the file. Progress depends also on the presidency. The Latvians didn't look at this file because of resource constraint, and Luxembourg is under some pressure to do so. But it is not clear yet whether the file will progress under their presidency. Whatever the timing, as an industry we are hoping for a healthy transition timeframe to allow the clients, ourselves as providers, but also the whole European money markets to prepare themselves fully for whatever changes may ensue. All the parties need to look at the file and there is then a "tri-logue" process which effectively draws together the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Council of Ministers to agree at final compromise. Until all of the steps are taken, it's unclear what the final outcome will be.
MFI: What's the position on fund ratings? Kooy: The most recent drafts we have seen do not specifically address the point <b:>`_. It seems like the banishment of fund ratings have been withdrawn, so it looks as though there will be a possibility to continue to use ratings. It's important to point out that in general terms, the rating agencies are actually very important to the users of money market funds perhaps more so than the providers of money market funds. A good money market fund house will be in the business of providing independent and primary research to support its investment decision process. It is an additional comfort to the users of money market funds to see the outcome of that process results in the purchasing of highly rated securities, which allow the fund to get an AAA rating.
MFI: Who are the users of IMMFA money market funds? Kooy: The answer actually is anyone who has cash. The nice thing about money market funds and IMMFA-style money market funds is that the user base is extremely broad. Corporates, insurance companies, pension plans, local governments, hedge funds, asset managers, private wealth, and, in some cases, possibly even retail through intermediaries are all making use of money market funds. As far as what they are looking for, capital preservation and liquidity are the key drivers for the users and often yield is a lesser consideration.
MFI: Bank deposits are facing challenges, too, right? Kooy: This is a very important point. If you ask money market fund investors what they worried about today, they will talk about regulation and they will talk about yield. But these issues are not only prevalent in money market funds, because bank regulations are impacting, in some cases, the ability for these banks to take balances from customers and impacting their ability to pay yields. Banks and investors therefore have a keen interest in solutions to help them with their liquidity needs. The European Commission's Capital Markets Union initiative is actually discussing promoting alternative sources of financing to the economy and money market funds should be an important part of the story.
MFI: Are providers facing fee pressures? Kooy: In general I would say that there is still an element of fee waiving taking place in most AAA-rated euro-denominated funds. This has been the case during the ultra-low yield environment which preceded the now negative yield environment. But waiving is less prevalent in the other currency funds to which we alluded, namely Sterling and U.S. dollar, where the rates are a little higher.
MFI: Have U.S. MMF reforms had an influence on European regulations? Kooy: Of course. There's a lot of activity on fund restructuring in the U.S. arena as providers prepare themselves and their clients for the effective date of S.E.C. reforms in October of 2016. However, money market fund reform and European money market fund reform are quite different, mainly because these are very different markets and quite different client bases. I hope and expect the European process will take account of the unique perspectives of the European market. For example retail uses of constant net asset value funds in the U.S. would have been a big consideration in the setting of U.S. rules. In Europe, it should not be as big a factor, so I'd expect this to be taken less into consideration in any final law making in Europe.
MFI: What's your outlook in general for CNAV money market funds? Are you optimistic about the future? Kooy: Yes, I'm fundamentally optimistic. Regulation and low yields are posing some challenges for investors and providers of money market funds alike, but I do believe that there is a strong role for CNAV funds, specifically. I'm hopeful that this will be recognized in the final lawmaking in Europe. But more generally, money market funds have a vital role to play in the capital preservation of liquid balances through diversification and it is important that the services remain accessible to investors, particularly in the context of more broad based banking regulation.
MFI: Has IMMFA had an influence in the regulatory debate? Kooy: We certainly think that we have. We have maintained an extremely consistent story throughout the entire process in terms of feeding the process with information to help with the decision making process. We're also very proud as an association to have been able to get a good consensus around those positions within the membership. I think those two items have allowed us to be very strong in informing the regulatory debate.
Crane Data's latest Money Fund Intelligence Family & Global Rankings, which rank the market share of managers of money market mutual funds in the U.S. and globally, were sent out to shareholders last week. The September edition, with data as of August 31, 2015, shows asset increases for the majority of US money fund complexes in the latest month, as well as over the past 3 months. Assets increased by $7.4 billion overall, or 0.3%, in August; over the last 3 months, assets are up $74.1 billion, or 3.0%. For the past 12 months through August 31, total assets are up $92.2 billion, or 3.0%. Below, we review the latest market share changes and figures. (Note: Crane Data's September Money Fund Intelligence and our latest Money Fund Portfolio Holdings were released last week too.)
The biggest gainers in July were Fidelity, Schwab, BlackRock, SSgA, and Morgan Stanley, rising by $6.8 billion, $4.8B, $2.7B, $2.5B, and $2.5B, respectively. Fidelity, Federated, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, and JP Morgan had the largest increases over the 3 months through August 31, 2015, rising by $18.9 billion, $12.1B, $11.0B, $8.0B, and $7.8B, respectively. (Our domestic U.S. "Family" rankings are available in our MFI XLS product, our global rankings are available in our MFI International product, and the combined "Family & Global Rankings" are available to our Money Fund Wisdom subscribers.)
Our latest domestic U.S. money fund Family Rankings show that Fidelity Investments increased its lead as the largest money fund manager with $417.1 billion, or 16.1% of all assets (up $6.8 billion in August, up $18.9 billion over 3 mos., and up $7.1B over 12 months). Fidelity was followed by JPMorgan with $257.3 billion, or 9.9% market share (up $106M, up $7.8B, and up $18.8B for the past 1-month, 3-months and 12-months, respectively). BlackRock remained the third largest MMF manager with $212.2 billion, or 8.2% of assets (up $2.7B, up $8.0B, and up $23.8B). Federated Investors was fourth with $205.7 billion, or 7.9% of assets (down $602M, up $12.1B, and up $3.3B), and Vanguard ranked fifth with $174.7 billion, or 6.7% (down $668M, up $1.5B, and up $2.7B).
The sixth through tenth largest U.S. managers include: Dreyfus ($167.5B, or 6.5%), Schwab ($160.8B, 6.2%), which moved ahead of Goldman Sachs ($151.6B, or 5.9%), Morgan Stanley ($127.7B, or 4.9%), and Wells Fargo ($108.4B, or 4.2%). The eleventh through twentieth largest U.S. money fund managers (in order) include: Northern ($80.8B, or 3.1%), SSgA ($79.7B, or 3.1%), Invesco ($52.7B, or 2.0%) which moved ahead of BofA ($49.5B, or 1.9%), Western Asset ($43.5B, or 1.7%), First American ($41.8B, or 1.6%), UBS ($37.0B, or 1.4%), Deutsche ($30.4B, or 1.2%), Franklin ($24.7B, or 1.0%), and American Funds ($15.2B, or 0.6%). Crane Data currently tracks 68 U.S. MMF managers, one fewer than last month.
Over the past year through August 31, 2015, BlackRock showed the largest asset increase (up $23.8B, or 12.6%), followed by Morgan Stanley (up $21.5B, or 20.3%), JP Morgan (up $18.8B, or 7.9%), Goldman Sachs (up $18.3B, or 13.7%), and Dreyfus (up $10.5B, or 6.7%). Other asset gainers for the year include: Fidelity (up $7.1B, or 1.7%), First American (up $5.7B, or 15.9%), Northern (up $4.6B, 6.0%), Franklin ($4.0B, 19.4%), and Federated (up $3.3B, or 1.7%). The biggest decliners over 12 months include: Invesco (down $6.7B, or 11.3%), Wells Fargo (down $3.6B, or 3.2%), SSgA (down $3.5B, or 4.2%), RBC (down $3.3B, or 18.0%), Deutsche (down $1.9B, or 5.8%), and BofA (down $1.2B, or 2.5%). (Note that money fund assets are very volatile month to month.)
When European and "offshore" money fund assets -- those domiciled in places like Dublin, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands -- are included, the top 10 managers match the U.S. list, except for Goldman moving up to No. 4 (dropping Vanguard to 7), and Western Asset appearing on the list at No. 10 (displacing Wells Fargo from the Top 10). Looking at the largest Global Money Fund Manager Rankings, the combined market share assets of our MFI XLS (domestic U.S.) and our MFI International ("offshore"), the largest money market fund families are: Fidelity ($424.1 billion), JPMorgan ($382.3 billion), BlackRock ($309.8 billion), Goldman Sachs ($235.6 billion), and Federated ($213.9 billion). Dreyfus/BNY Mellon ($191.5B), Vanguard ($174.7B), Schwab ($160.8B), Morgan Stanley ($146.9B), and Western ($121.8B) round out the top 10. These totals include offshore US Dollar funds, as well as Euro and Pound Sterling (GBP) funds converted into US dollar totals.
Finally, our September 2015 Money Fund Intelligence and MFI XLS show that yields went up for many indexes in August. Our Crane Money Fund Average, which includes all taxable funds covered by Crane Data (currently 840), remained at 0.02% for both the 7-Day Yield and the 30-Day Yield (annualized, net) Average. The Gross 7-Day Yield and 30-Day Yield were 0.16% (unchanged). Our Crane 100 Money Fund Index shows an average 7-Day Yield of 0.04%, same as last month, and a 30-Day Yield of 0.05%, up a basis point from last month. Also, our Crane 100 shows a Gross 7-Day and 30-Day Yield of 0.20% (same as last month). For the 12 month return through 8/31/15, our Crane MF Average returned 0.02% and our Crane 100 returned 0.03%.
Our Prime Institutional MF Index (7-day) yielded 0.06% (up a basis point), while the Crane Govt Inst Index was at 0.02% (unchanged). The Crane Treasury Inst, Treasury Retail, Crane Govt Retail Index, and Prime Retail Indexes all yielded 0.01%. The Crane Tax Exempt MF Index also yielded 0.01%. The Gross 7-Day Yields for these indexes were: Prime Inst 0.24% (same as last month), Govt Inst 0.12% (down from 0.13%), Treasury Inst 0.08% (same), and Tax Exempt 0.11% (down from 0.12%) in August. The Crane 100 MF Index returned on average 0.00% for 1-month, 0.01% for 3-month, 0.02% for YTD, 0.03% for 1-year, 0.03% for 3-years (annualized), 0.04% for 5-year, and 1.39% for 10-years. (Contact us if you'd like to see our latest MFI XLS or Crane Indexes file.)
The September issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Tuesday morning, features the articles: "Bad News Good News for MFs; More Prime Changing to Govt," which discusses a confluence of forces that may be driving MMF assets higher; "New IMMFA Chair Reyer Kooy on European MMFs," where we discuss regulations, negative yields, and all things euro money funds with the new Chair of IMMFA; and "MFI International Review: Negative Yields, Regs Loom," an annual look at the largest funds and current trends in European money funds. We have also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database query system with August 31, 2015, performance statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet shortly. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our September Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship Thursday, Sept. 10, and our September Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out on Tuesday, Sept. 15. (Note: We also look forward to seeing those of you planning to attend Crane's European Money Fund Symposium, which will take place Sept. 17-18 in Dublin.)
The lead "Bad News Good News” article in MFI says, "It was a pretty good summer for money market mutual funds, all things considered. Assets increased for the 4th month in a row, climbing back to almost $2.7 trillion for the first time since January 2015. With the market turmoil, it even felt a little like the pre-crisis good old days, when bad news for the rest of the world was good news for money funds."
The piece continues, "However, changes ahead of next year's Money Fund Reforms continue, as small and even mid-sized fund companies either announce that their prime funds are "going government" or that they're exiting the space entirely. We review flows and the latest fund reform-related changes below. (See our Link of the Day on the latest liquidations, Forward Funds and Eaton Vance.)"
Our latest "profile," "New IMMFA Chair Reyer Kooy," reads, "This month, we profile the new Chair of the Institutional Money Market Fund Association, Reyer Kooy. Kooy, the Head of Institutional Liquidity Management, EMEA and Asia business for Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, replaces Jonathan Curry who served as IMMFA Chair for the past three years. Kooy comes aboard in a challenging environment for money funds in Europe, as the industry faces negative yields and the likelihood of substantial reforms. But he remains optimistic about the future."
MFI asks, "When did you become Chair?" Kooy responds, "I was elected to become Chairman of IMMFA in June of this year for a two year term. Previously I was an IMMFA board member and Treasurer of the association for the preceding three years. IMMFA has been around for more than 15 years and is focused on the European CNAV money market fund industry specifically. I've personally been involved with the money fund industry twelve years."
We also ask, "What has been IMMFA's main focus?" Kooy says, "Regulation has been the main focus of the association over the last two to three years. We focus on making the case for money market funds in general, but also for constant NAV. We are keen to share our knowledge and insights with the decision makers of the European regulatory process. Regulations will be a prime focus going forward as well as the yield environment. These two key items are of crucial importance to our members and therefore to IMMFA."
The third article, "MFI International Review," says, "The European money market fund industry is in the midst of extreme challenges and major changes as it endures a negative yield environment and braces for a regulatory overhaul. With Crane's 3rd annual European Money Fund Symposium taking place next week (Sept. 17-18) in Dublin, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the latest trends in Europe -- including assets, largest funds and fund managers, WAMs, yields, and others. The two big themes are -- assets are down and yields have gone negative, and continue to drop, in Europe."
It adds, "Total international or "offshore" money market fund assets in US dollar, euro, and sterling stand at USD $686 billion through August 31, according to our Money Fund Intelligence International -- down $69 billion since the end of 2014. The bulk of that total, $372 billion, is in USD denominated funds, while L147 billion is in Sterling, and E76 billion is in Euros. Year-to-date through 8/31, USD MMFs are down $12B, Sterling MMFs are down $5B, and Euro MMFs are down E15B. In the second quarter, assets dropped sharply among Euro funds. Sterling funds fell 10.3% in Q2, while USD funds were relatively stable."
We also write in MFI's "News" briefs about "Yet More Money Fund Liquidations," saying, "Forward Funds (US Govt MMF) and Eaton Vance are the latest managers to give up on the money fund space. (See today's Link of the Day for details.) Municipal fund liquidations also continue with Dreyfus Basic Muni MMF liquidating and Western Asset Institutional AMT Free Municipal MMF merging into Western Asset Inst Tax Free Reserves. (Dreyfus Basic NY Muni MMF and Dreyfus NY AMT-Free Muni MMF will also liquidate 10/28/15.)
Our September MFI XLS, with August 31, 2015, data, shows total assets rising by $7.2 billion in August, after rising $52.4 billion in July and $15.5 billion in June. YTD, MMF assets are down by $55.2 billion, or 2.1% (through 8/31/15). Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield and 30-Day Yield remained at 0.02%, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) remained at 0.04% (7-day). On a Gross Yield Basis (before expenses were taken out), funds averaged 0.16% (Crane MFA, same as last month) and 0.20% (Crane 100, unchanged from last month). Charged Expenses averaged 0.14% and 0.16% (unchanged) for the two main taxable averages. The average WAMs (weighted average maturities) for the Crane MFA and the Crane 100 were 33 and 36 days, respectively, both down 3 days from last month. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)