Crane Data and Money Fund Intelligence wishes all of its subscribers and visitors a Happy New Year! We wish you all the best of luck, and higher yields, in 2010.... Below, we continue with our 10 most important stories of 2009 from Crane Data's News archives. We excerpt from the second half of our major stories of the year by date. See yesterday's Crane Data News for the first half of our "Top 10."

Sept. 14, 2009. Road to Consensus Clear After Comments on SEC MMF Reform Proposals. At least 135 letters have now been posted commenting on the SEC's Money Market Reform Proposals. Given the volume of feedback (we'll be reading these for the next several weeks), we would expect any Final Rules on Money Market Fund Reform to appear around year-end, at the earliest. Many of the letters argue for extended implementation periods, as well, so don't expect any action anytime soon. We believe the road to consensus and compromise is now relatively clear, though there are a number of minor issues that the SEC could have a tough time with. Every single letter has lambasted the idea of a floating rate NAV, save for perhaps one or two from fringe (or anonymous) individuals. So we'd be shocked if this strange 'concept' wasn't excluded from the final rules and from any serious future discussions.

Sept. 17, 2009. Treasury Guarantee Ending Friday, But Plenty of Support Remains. Up until the last week or two, it seemed like the expiration of the U.S. Treasury's Temporary Guarantee Program for Money Market Mutual Funds would expire without anyone noticing. Though investors appear to be sanguine, a number of reporters have shown interest in the topic of late.... Crane Data points out that, though the $1.00 NAVs of funds will no longer be guaranteed after Friday, almost every major segment of the money market will continue to enjoy some type of government support into 2010. Taxable money funds hold over half of their assets (54.3%) in Treasuries (14.0%), Government Agency Securities (22.1%), and Repurchase Agreements (18.3%) (almost all of which are now backed by Treasuries or Agencies). Commercial Paper (16.3%) and Asset-backed CP (included in CP) continue to have access to the Federal Reserve's AMLF and continue to be indirectly supported by the CPFF, which both have been extended through Feb. 1, 2010. Also, Certificates of Deposits and Eurodollar CDs (20.1% of money fund assets) continue to have access to a myriad of U.S. and European government guarantee and support programs for substantial portions of their debt.

Nov. 13, 2009. Money Fund Asset Declines Continue, YTD Drop Almost $500 Billion. Money market mutual fund assets declined for the fifth week in a row and the ninth week out of the past 11 according to the latest statistics from the Investment Company Institute. The declines moderated in the week ended Wednesday, November 11, with assets dropping by $3.68 billion to $3.335 trillion, their lowest level since the end of January 2008. Money fund assets have declined by $495 billion, or 12.9%, year-to-date, and have declined by $585.2 billion, or 14.9%, since setting a record high of $3.920 trillion on Jan. 14, 2009.

Nov. 27, 2009. Reserve Primary Fund Debacle Nears Resolution as Court OKs SEC Plan. Investors in the ill-fated Reserve Primary Fund, which 'broke the buck' in September 2008, should soon see their total recovery increase to 99 cents on the dollar after a court okayed the distribution of most of the fund's remaining assets. The SEC released a "Statement of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary L. Schapiro on the Court's Order Adopting the SEC's Proposed Distribution Plan in the Reserve Primary Fund Case" late Wednesday, which says, "We are pleased with the court's order adopting the SEC's distribution plan in the Reserve Primary Fund case."

Nov. 30, 2009. Money Funds Await PWG Report, Rule 2a-7 Changes Pushed Into 2010. Money market mutual funds are bracing for the possible arrival this week of a report from the President's Working Group on Financial Markets, but it appears that the SEC's finalized Money Market Fund Reform Proposals won't be appearing any time soon. The PWG report, which had been originally expected Sept. 15, is expected to comment on the SEC's proposed changes to Rule 2a-7 and on the possibility of a floating NAV and a private liquidity facility. While we've received no word on whether the PWG report is still on schedule [we still expect something soon], we have heard that the SEC is rolling back its timetable on final 2a-7 amendments to the first quarter of 2010. (Comments from the SEC indicate that there may also be a second round of proposals later in 2010.)

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