Approximately 150 money market mutual fund managers, marketers, suppliers, servicers, investors, and regulators descended on Providence, Rhode Island this weekend for the inaugural Crane's Money Fund Symposium at the Renaissance Hotel, which began Sunday afternoon. Speakers, sponsors and attendees will undoubtedly spend much of their time discussing the SEC's Money Market Fund Reform proposals, as well as a host of challenges, including ultra-low interest rates, potential consolidation, and competition from bank and other fixed-income products. But while participants have concerns, money fund managers will also just be happy to be there, still very much alive at $3.6 trillion in assets, following what was no doubt their most traumatic year in history. "Best of Times, Worst of Times" was an understatement for money funds in 2008.

Sunday's kickoff featured "Welcome to Money Fund Symposium" comments from host Peter Crane, then a series of sessions, including: "Washington & Money Market Funds" with Federated Investors' Eugene Maloney; "What's Driving Corporate Investors?" with Treasury Strategies' Tony Carfang; "ICI Market Update & Money Fund Issues" with ICI's Brian Reid and Invesco AIM's Bill Hoppe; and "The Future of Money Funds Discussion" with Fidelity Investments' Michael Morin, Standard & Poor's Peter Rizzo, and Cachematrix's George Hagerman.

Monday's agenda includes: "State of the Money Fund Industry" by Peter Crane; "Money Fund Managers' Current Strategies" with Federated's Debbie Cunningham, SSgA's Jeff St. Peters, and Wells Fargo Advantage Funds's Dave Sylvester; "Talking Treasury & Government Funds" with Western Asset's Kevin Kennedy and UBS's Rob Sabatino; "Municipal Money Market Update" with Neuberger & Berman's Kristian Lind; "Economic Update from SVB Asset Management's Joe Morgan; "Money Market Securities: What's New?" with JPMorgan Securities' Alex Roever and Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Mike Cloherty; "Institutional Investor Perspectives" with Capital Advisors Lance Pan and MWAA's Nancy Edwards; "Offshore & European Money Market Update from IMMFA's Travis Barker; and, "Revamping AAA Money Fund Ratings with Fitch Ratings' Viktoria Baklanova, Moody's Henry Shilling, and Standard & Poor's Joel Friedman.

Tuesday's Symposium sessions include: "Update on SEC's MMF Reform Proposals" featuring the SEC's Bob Plaze and Reed Smith's Stephen Keen; "Accounting Concerns & Mark-to-Market" by PriceWaterhouse Coopers' Tony Evangelista; "Grow or Die: Distribution Strategies by DB Advisors' Kevin Bannerton and Traibar Associates' Mark Steinberg; and "New Developments in Online MM Portals" with Citibank Online Investments' John Carter and Matrix MM Portal's Michael Rice.

Crane Data would like to thank all of our Money Fund Symposium sponsors and exhibitors, including: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Federated Investors, Fidelity Investments, Cachematrix, J.M. Lummis, Wells Fargo Advantage Funds, Standard & Poor's, Capital Advisors Group, Fitch Ratings, Matrix Financial Solutions, Moody's Investors Service, Invesco AIM, Western Asset Management, Bank of Ireland, Bank of New York Mellon, and Citi Online Investments.

Crane's Money Fund Symposium was created as an affordable (registration is $500) new venue for exchanging ideas, networking, and learning about the latest investment strategies, business tactics, and news impacting money funds. To see the agenda click here. Next year's event is `tentatively scheduled for July 25-28, 2010, in Boston. Check back for updates from the conference in coming days, or see you in Providence!

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